This is really interesting to me. Can someone add the interview with Paul Epworth that talks about creating the song with Adele?
And a huge thank you to someone who can get the date the two wrote the song beyond a doubt. I know wiki page on 21 says that both Take It All and Rolling in The Deep were recorded in April 2009. Wiki's right only about half the time, if that. Any way, I've read conflicting accounts. A lot of them.
From Demo To Platinum Hit
Paul Epworth co‑wrote and produced ‘Rolling In The Deep’
‘Rolling In The Deep’ was co‑written and produced by Paul Epworth, and began with an idea of Adele’s in which she envisaged “the verses and bridge as one long mantra”. Epworth adds: “She said to me, ‘I’ve got this riff that just won’t go away,’ so I grabbed an acoustic guitar and found some simple Tom Waits‑like chugged chords underneath, both for the verse and the chorus changes. The whole thing happened in under five minutes.”
Adele and Epworth were working in the latter’s London studio — he’s since relocated to Beethoven Street Studios in central London and renamed it Wolf Tone — where he recorded their basic ideas in Logic. “I wanted Adele to put her vocal parts down immediately, just to prevent her having to sing over and over again while I worked out my parts. I’m quite indecisive when starting a track about the arrangement I’m going for, as I need to feel the track out first. In order to make sure she had something to sing to, I put down some low piano chords in the key, added a click and recorded Adele singing the whole riff she had in one take. I counted her in — you can still hear this mumbled count-in at the top of the master. I left that in because I felt that it gave the song a stamp of authenticity. Later on we spent a bit of time structuring the arrangement of parts for her vocals. We worked out the bridge section, which came together quite quickly, and then Adele said ‘I think I’ve got something for the chorus.’
“I recorded all Adele’s vocals with my Rode Classic 2, going through my UA 6176 mic pre, and never went back to them. The vocals in the final version are all from the demo. She was really going through something and you can hear it in her voice. I think I also used quite a bit of Logic overdrive on her voice, too, to add harmonics. I then recorded the acoustic guitar chords, following which we set about working on a beat. We toyed with a skiffle tempo in double time, a break, but in the end it just made sense to make the track thump. The staccato element was always there. The acoustic and electric guitars were absolutely exhausting to play, because the part has to be played so evenly with right and left hands muting. You can barely hear the electric guitar that I added, but it helps give the track a seething tension that it otherwise would have missed Also, I was aware that the intention was for Rick [Rubin] to re‑record and produce the song, so we knew it was better for the arrangement to be stripped‑down and heavy.”
With the demo in hand, Adele went over to Malibu to re‑record the track with Rubin at the helm (footage of these sessions can be found on YouTube), but everyone involved appeared to have a serious case of demoitis. Epworth: “Rick’s version was awesome, but there was a rawness in her original vocal performance and in the stripped‑down nature of the demo that was impossible to replicate. And in my experience as a producer a good demo is often hard to beat, particularly if people have lived with it for a while.”
And so Epworth was asked to upgrade his demo, something he decided to do at Eastcote Studios in London. “The final master was pretty much the demo with a few embellishments. I had played everything live on the demo: drums, bass, acoustic, electric and piano. I like to use a bit of live kit on a demo, because it makes a big difference, if that’s how it’s intended to sound. On this song, we used a ’60s marching band bass drum up against the front head of my 1972 Super Classic kick to get a tight attack and a big boom. A lot of the stomp of the kick drum was actually Adele stamping on a wooden step in my studio. We tracked it up so it sounded really heavy. Blended with the kick, it had a real blues sound. At Eastcote, drummer Leo Taylor added more life to the demo drum recordings. The issue was trying to get an ambient sound without it being splashy. The ceiling is low in Eastcote, and we wanted a live take of the drums, so there was some juggling. Also, when you get a 26‑inch kick tuned low like that, you have to tailor the decay with mutes, a little bit of tape and a blanket, while being careful not to kill the impact or tone.
“The piano was replayed and embellished by Neil Cowley, and I replayed all the acoustic and electric guitars as I felt they should have been played. The main reason for recording at Eastcote was that I wanted to try and emulate Tchad Blake’s binaural head sound from those Tom Waits records from the late ’80s and early ’90s. We recorded into Pro Tools at Eastcote and used a binaural head but with a couple of Schoeps [mics] either side — we couldn’t get our hands on a Neumann — and we placed stuff around the room to get the stereo width. Mark Rankin [the engineer on the Eastcote sessions] close‑miked everything too, and we blended the close mics and head mics to get the desired depth. For recording the acoustic guitars, we used the [Telefunken] Elam 250 as a close mic, three feet from the front of my 1964 Martin to get the body and presence, and we used a head with Telefunken Elam 260s positioned horizontally at the listening position. The electric was a 1957 Les Paul played through a Mesa Boogie combo, and recorded with a Royer mic.
“As I said, the demo had been very close, but we managed to add a rich, organic quality with the live performances at Eastcote. Mark and I then pre‑mixed the song in the box, which mainly involved lots of shaping stuff to get the dynamics right. Tom then really nailed it in his final mix by refining the sound we had into something more focused. He got the ODB ‘Brooklyn Zoo’ piano sound we were after, and blended Adele’s stomp with the live kit, et al. It was a tricky track to balance. Because there’s so much space and so few elements in the song, it can easily slip. I had a hunch that the track would be really successful, but I never thought I’d have a US number one single! Just gotta make the next thing even better now!”