Monthly Archives: October 2009
I asked Paul to go through, in a little bit of detail, what equipment was being used to record the drums. I thought it would be nice to document for my future reminiscing of recording this album.
There was a lot of cheese and banana eating and general procrastination this day. We did manage to record drums for 3 songs eventually, contrary to the impression that this video may give.
This is a little clip that I put the evening after being in the studio. It marks an official start to recording drums for the album.
The process behind the album has already been under way for a couple of months now, demo-ing, chopping and changing, and making guide tracks for this moment. I’ve got all the material I need for the album sorted, although there are still lots of lyrics to be finished off. This didn’t hinder making a start on drums though.
So, I took my hard drive with all the pre-production demos on it to Sleeper Studios where I played drums along to the guide tracks. Once the drums are done I’ll record all the other instruments over the top of the old guides.
I’ve had two days in the studio so far and completed 4 songs for drums which is not too bad. It always takes me longer than I think it will, but it’s all good. I will be heading back there soon to finish the other songs that need drums. I’ve since been at home choosing the best takes and doing a preliminary mix, and I’m really happy! I can’t wait to finish the album and show you all. I love it. Excited to see how people react. For now though, it is all slightly on hold until I work out how to pay next months rent in 15 days, so I’ll be piecing this album together as I go… somehow!!
Oh yeah, I was recording to 2 inch tape, it sounds awesome and it got me excited, so I had to mention it! You know… I’m usually just recording in my bedroom, not through £100,000’s worth of equipment!
I have some more video footage to come for the second day of the drum session, which I’ll edit together next.
I borrowed a Ukulele from a friend who lives up the road in Tooting (I should really give it back now, but I like this first attempt at writing a song on the Uke so much, that I want to record it properly and put it on the album (Huge props to Mark Thomas for letting me borrow it!). I’ve started incorporating Uke into my other songs now too as an extra layer/colour to my tracks. I dig the sound of it along side what I already do, it nicely adds a little Hawaiian sunshine.
I thought about putting up a demo of this new song ‘Change Of Tune’ on myspace, but decided it would be good to make a little video of it instead… This is 5 or so months ago, and I didn’t really tell anyone about it until now, it was a weird time for me… I’m back now, and I think this song encompasses that in a way.
Strawberry Blonde EP was my first release… and with the run up to putting out the debut album, I’ve decided to make it available for free! Share it with anyone you want (email it round if you like, or you can use the twitter / facebook / myspace share links at the bottom of this post to point people here).
I recorded this 4 track EP in 2007 at the previous house in South London that I lived. My house mate Olle and I combined our accumulated recording equipment. I sold some of my stuff to buy microphones and other bits (but mostly used my credit card to make it happen), and he provided the computer with Pro Tools, and the drum kit. We had one neighbour who complained a couple of times about the ‘noise’ being made, and eventually got a couple of letters from the council, soz. That didn’t halt the recording though, I mean, how else is a musician supposed to afford to record these days, if not at home right?!
I wanted to limit myself to using just drums, bass and guitar. I remember specifically trying to write and produce these songs in such a way that I could represent them at gigs as close to the recordings as possible, performed as a three piece. It was a kind of creative challenge that forced me to make the songs work without much instrumentation. I ended up breaking the rules slightly, particularly on Strawberry Blonde of course, when I chose to use piano as the principle instrument. A bit of an experiment for me musically, having never really written songs on piano before. It was an exception to the rule also because it was the only thing I didn’t record at home. I took my laptop and a few microphones up to a piano which was in a beautiful sounding chapel at my Dad’s work because… well that’s where I wrote the song a year earlier, and there was something oddly nice about recording it on that same piano, like I’ve documented that experience a little better or something?
I had lots of time to get the songs just how I wanted them and also, to learn how to record/mix in the process (the mastering engineer at Abbey Road gave his seal of approval which was very reassuring!). Not having anyone else involved in the recording process however, did mean that I went over my deadlines all the time, so I just ignored them in the end, but does that really matter? If anything, it made me more proud of the finished product because of the time and energy that went into it (at one point I accidentally deleted all the finished drum takes and had to do them all again… whoops!). Forget deadlines though, what recording at home meant, was that I was able to track the drums to Strawberry Blonde in the nude. I would set up the track to ‘loop record’ (so I could do several takes back to back, no pun intended) with a 16 bar count in, and I’d run into the ‘live’ room, lock the door behind me, strip down, pick up my sticks and put my headphones on, all in time for the first bar!
Huge thanks to Matt Ellis, who designed the EP artwork, to Andrew Whitton, who took such great photos on Primrose Hill, and to Olle for lending me his gear, without which this EP could not have happened!
Welcome to my new site! I wanted it to be a blog, so it is. All updates, new tunes, gigs, videos, photos and whatever else you can think of will just show up as a post. Helps me keep organised, which if you saw the cables and pants on my floor, then you’d appreciate the significance. I feel organised. This is a much better way for me to share what I’m doing with you, otherwise it’s just me in my bedroom singing to no-one. Gigs section to come soon… when I decide to stop being a recluse and finish my album.
I am in the middle of making my first album, and thus I have decided to give away my Strawberry Blonde EP entirely for free on here to kick start the website and get people thirsty for some album action. Visit the Free Downloads page if you haven’t already got the EP, to download any of the songs for free! There is also a little blog entry attached, with behind the scenes info about the making of the EP.
More info on the progress of the album to come soon!
Thanks for visiting.