Katie Melua - Belfast (Penguins & Cats)/ Billie Myers Kiss - The Rain

Hi All,

A couple of new covers to share.
Been fun exploring various covers over the past year - not something we’ve done much of previously.

The first is Justin’s former band mate Katie Melua. Not sure if Justin ever played the song when touring with her.
Katja is a big fan, so to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album it came from:

Katie Melua - Belfast (Penguins And Cats) [Cover by The Comfortably Strange] (youtube.com)

The second is a 90s classic by Billie Myers. can’t believe it’s over 25 years old. Where has all that time gone?

Katja sounding wicked on both.
Billie Myers - Kiss The Rain [Cover by The Comfortably Strange] (youtube.com)

Happy Xmas to those who celebrate it.

Katja & Digger


Both songs new to me Dig (they’re post 79 :rofl:)

Wicked, she’s on fire man. Not had the gooses for ages and she always delivers.
Top notch production, playing be that you or midi, all sounded really good. Was thinking about checking the originals and thought NAH, only be disappointed.

Good to see you drop in - seasonal good wishes to you both.


They were both really great Stephen. Katja is sounding awesome, as always.

25 years, wow, that has flown by. It is still such a great song.

So sweet! Loved both of them, also your cover of Wicked Game that auto-played after.
Katja has a gorgeous voice!
love the name The Comfortably Strange too :smiley:

Seasons Greetings :christmas_tree: :sunflower:

Not one but two early Christmas pressies from Steven & Katja :smiley: :smiley:
As usual, top notch productions with ethereal vocals by Katja on both.
I know it’s just a matter of my taste, but I’m hoping 2024 will bring less ‘comfortable’ and more ‘strange’ gifts from you weirdos :wink:

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Hey Diggs,
Took in both offerings. Very nicely done, clean and refreshing. Katya, was on top of it and sounding good. I don’t know if it was my bionic ears or what but in spots her vox seemed to drop out below the instruments. If that is a correct assessment, perhaps some spot leveling on her vox would help?

Otherwise, great mixes and productions. The penguins and cats was a bit mellow for my normal fair. So Kiss the rain won out for me.

Are you using Reaper these days? Can you share on the average of these 2 song approximately how many plugs you got going?

All the best to you two and have a great 24, after some holiday cheer!

Hi All,

Thanks for checking out. Belfast is definitely on the lighter side of things for me too.

Katja plays piano/keys on both - pretty sure she uses an Akai MPK midi keyboard, then sends me the midi files and I just load in using a piano vst. Plenty out there. Sometimes I find blending 2 different piano types gives a nice sound - perhaps not the most natural piano sound, but something in keeping with the mood.

Lbro - yes, using Reaper, though I tend to use 3rd party plugins - a few from Waves, and some other freeware stuff.
Guitars/bass I use Waves Gtr plug in - sometimes on bass don’t even bother with that - just straight DI through my interface. Then on each track I’d have a compressor and EQ. (The same ones.)
Same for the piano/keys.
Usually end up with 3 or 4 guitar parts - so across guitars/bass keys i’d say 15-20 plugins.

Drums - old faithful Addictive drums - which must be about 15 years old now - but does what I want it to do. I sometimes layer the kick drum up with a synth drum sound just to fatten it up. Again EQ and compression. so maybe 4 or 5 plugs here - including the vsts.

Vocals take up the most:
I usually have a few delays - same delay but set a different times on separate tracks - each with an Eq and compressor, de-esser.
Then a doubler track.
Reverb - same plugin, but several different settings.

Then on the buss tracks I tend to have another set of Eq/compression/saturation, and just started using a stereo widener on the vocal.
Been experimenting with the vocals a lot lately as I find them such a challenge - especially when the guitars are dirtied up.

So in total on the mix I reckon a good 60-70 plugs in. Probably overkill, but I just like tinkering.

Then I do a “master” (very loose term :)), which has about 10 plugs - limiting, Eq, etc.

Catch you all next year.


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The mind boggles :open_mouth:
Volume levels, panning and some reverb if I’m feeling adventurous…
2024 will be a long and winding road :laughing:

Thanks Digger

As always appreciate you spending time to map out your work flow.
Just picked up Waves Vocal Silk and Vocal Harmony in the recent sales ($30 ea) which I am looking forward to playing around with. The latter sounds promising for choral or multi voice mixes.

Can’t wait to hear what the two of you have in mind for next year. Always a pleasure.

Hi Stephen,
I listened carefully to both covers (I was more hooked on the second one), then the original Kiss The Rain, then your cover of the Rain again.
What do I want to say here? They are quite different, and that’s great!
Excellent instrumental and vocals. A remarkably well-rounded project.
Thank you for the detailed description of how you make mixes (everything is much easier for me because I use live instruments for recording :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:)
All the best to you and Katja in the new year :musical_keyboard: :musical_score: :star_struck:

Thanks for the great rundown and synopsis on Reaper, plugs and all your doing on the mix front Digger. Now I don’t feel so bad when I add up the plugs I got and my computer is melting from all of them! Gosh, you bring up some techniques I had forgotten about. So it was a great refresher to have you pump some new life into that.

But I have to ask a thing about your music. Is it depressed or compressed? LOL - Just pulling your leg as all your mixes are sounding great to me!

Take good care, have a happy NY and a great 24.