Rock Trio From East Sussex, England
Well, after weeks of planning and preparation we went in to the amazing Lightship95 for a recording session. A completely different approach than our previous sessions, mainly driven by the song. It has been on the ‘list’ for quite some time, in various guises – I even recorded an acoustic version the other year. It captured the basic format of the song, but wasn’t what I originally envisioned for it. Following our session at Abbey Wood earlier this year it seemed like the right track to put together properly, but would require a different approach than the usual full band set-up.
It was quite an adventure getting here in the first place, between studio availability, shift patterns, annual leave etc, so arriving at the car park (early) on recording day felt like arriving on a mountain peak – all that work had come to this. And what a view. This place is unbelievable – moored on the Thames directly opposite the O2- it was a fine day and really felt like we were setting off on some kind of voyage.
I knew I wanted something different for this track, so we started by recording a basic guide – pretty much the format we had arrived at from the session at Abbey Wood, and then began the process of adding layers. After a couple of hours it became apparent that this track was going to be a whole lot more atmospheric than our usual material, but Sean had tuned up his kit for a live session. The engineer suggesting replacing the tom sound with something more ‘full’. The solution – tear down the Tama kit, and assemble another one from what was available in the studio. They actually have 2 full kits available and a pile of parts, so we had the pick of 3 kits to go at. It made a huge difference to the feel of the track.
The guitar layers went pretty much the same way, too – I had a great selection of vintage amps, effects and a very competent engineer on hand to set things up. I only had to describe the type of sound or tone I was after and he could muster it up from the kit available. Evening soon came around and I was still adding in ‘pieces’. At some point, you have to make the harsh decision to STOP and make sense of it all. We had plenty of material to compile the song, but there was still a few sounds going round my head I wanted to put on it. Fortunately there was a small slot available the following day to complete the mixing – and given the logistical nightmare of having to return – possibly December earliest, I took it.
Mixing this track felt more like being a conductor than a musician – with all the recordings available to play with. The real challenge was being able to NOT include something – it could easily have become an entire wall of everything. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with the mix, having assembled it from so many parts, and it really does represent the song I ‘heard’ originally. Will this change how we put our material together, now? Quite possibly . It’s quite a journey.