This morning's litany of pains in the ass yet again brought the end game of this recording lark into focus... In fairness, it was mainly the godawful commute into Glasgow city centre at 7.30am that did it. Apparently all approaches to the city had been temporarily converted to car parks, seemingly in conspiracy against me getting into work on time. For me to get to the studio for midday, I needed first to get to work nice and early so as not to draw attention to me doing a bunk at 11.30am... No such luck. Oh, how wonderful it would be to no longer be on this hamster wheel and singing full time... one day!
By the time I made it to the studio, Stuart had already made a start, getting things in order for the day. And we had a really productive one - another 5 guitar tracks done, and with only two left to record, we're just about ready to move onto the first vocal tracks tomorrow. I can't wait - as much as I enjoy playing my Taylor, it's the singing bit I really look forward to, especially as the tracks start to take shape. It's great to feel that we are making progress now, even with regular blackcurrant tea and You Tube breaks - I've got to let my wee sore wrist recover from all this guitar playing, after all!
So it's vocalzones and a cup of lemon and ginger tea for Spina... I don't want to tempt fate, but it seems that I have managed to make it to my first vocals day without contracting some horrible illness. It has become almost an inevitability that, if I have something important coming up, I will come down with a cold at the very least. Cases in point:
Every time, the shows went on and I did the gigs to the best of my ability. But it really does feel sometimes like my body is trying to sabotage me... Luckily, though, the preparation for the album recording appears to have escaped the attentions of the germ-demons so far... Here's hoping it stays that way and I don't wake up tomorrow with Man Flu.
And on that note, time to get some sleep! Night night, I'll be back tomorrow to round up the week so far. Bye for now!
Love, A x
Good evening! Well, there ain't much to tell today unfortunately. It seemed that forces were against us, resulting in us getting a grand total of about two hours work done today.
Couldn't be helped, sadly. After getting boxed in at the office and being more than half an hour late getting to the studio in the first place, we unfortunately had to wrap up early due to some unforeseen family stuff... But, we did get two more guitar tracks recorded and managed to even managed to squeeze in a cup of blackcurrant and blueberry tea. The remainder of the afternoon was spent eating toast and watching Futurama...
So, we'll get back to it tomorrow and kick the rest of these guitar parts in the butt. 'Til then, goodnight!
Well, as often is the case, I was worrying over nothing!
I had a great first day in the studio. There was a lot of planning and talking through how we're going to approach each track. You know, I think Stuart might be onto something with this "ground up" approach. Just taking the time to really think about each song and throwing around ideas of what the instrumentation of each one should be was really fun, and definitely time well spent. I think we now have a solid plan for each track - and I do love a plan! (I've also discovered that I love blackcurrant and blueberry tea. With honey. Who'd have known?)
And, I'm delighted to find that Stuart has arranged for a great drummer to come in to put kit on probably five or six out of the ten tracks. I've heard this chap's work a lot in the past and let's just say I'm very excited to have him involved. That's not until next week, though, so there is other work to be done in the meantime.
I'm having to get used to working with a click track, which is melting my brain a little bit. Anyone who has worked with me in the past will know that I find timing somewhat arbitrary - in other words, I'm all over the place! I like to say that my songs need space to breathe... ;) I'm going to need to reign that in if I am going to get my guitar parts down in any kind of shape for the drummer to work with next week. I reckon my main challenge keeping in time today, to be fair, was the sauna-like conditions of the live room... The heat together with the lovely ambient light courtesy of the "ghost from pac-man" lamp (I need one of those for my house...) was almost enough to send me into a trance as I ran through my guitar parts. Nothing like being in the zone! Stuart's keeping me in line, it'll be all good I'm sure. And I'll remember not to wear a jumper tomorrow...
So, I'm really looking forward to day two. I'd be looking forward to it even more if I didn't have to go into my day job beforehand, but needs must, I guess. It's going to be a loooong day - squeezing in a morning's work in the office before getting to the studio for midday. That's when the real work starts! Tomorrow, guitars and guide vocals. I'll let you know how it goes - bring it on!
Have a lovely night x
In a little over 90 minutes, I will be in the studio beginning work on album number two. In an attempt to make sense of the process, I've decided to keep a blog during the recording. I'll aim to share with you the ups and downs (hopefully mainly ups!) as the next two weeks unfold and hopefully come out at the end with something you will be as excited to hear as I am to have you listen to!
This morning, I have cast my mind back to the day I started recording my first album, Never Coming Home... That was October 2007. Yes, 2007. The album eventually came out in June 2011 - a little under four years in the making, me and the band were in and out of the studio, a morning or an afternoon at a time, just slotting in whenever the more important clients of the studio didn't need to use it. I can't blame the studio for that, they were the ones with the money, and I was lucky to even be there... But it did lead to a lot of frustration and a finished product that, although I love it and am very proud of it, didn't reflect a moment in time like I feel an album should. Nor does it accurately reflect what my music sounds like in real life, up there on stage with a mic and a guitar - generally what audiences tend to respond best to.
So this time, I decided to do it differently - book out two weeks in a studio, and just go in and do it as close to live as I could. Sounds simple. The spanner in the works, however, is that I appear to have haemorrhaged all of my fellow musicians. As I've performed pretty much exclusively solo and acoustic since the album was launched in 2011, the guys and girls that I had shared the experience of the first album with, and all of the shows leading up to and around it, found themselves with other things to do. Well done to them for staying motivated and keeping the music going... There were times when I seriously considered quitting for good, so poor was my experience after releasing the album. I felt like I'd poured absolutely everything into this record and due to restricted funds, wasn't in a position to arm myself with decent PR and so it basically sank. I had such high hopes, and my best efforts and meagre budget weren't enough to keep it afloat. So, my head goes down, my motivation to write and perform take a nosedive, and I neglect my pals to the point where they go and find their music elsewhere... I can't blame them for that.
Following early conversations with Stuart, my producer for album number two (who I am sure you will hear more about over the next few days), has suggested a more developmental approach - don't worry about other musicians in the beginning. Come in, start putting the skeletons of the songs down and then build around them, only adding in what the songs really need. We talked about what people say when they hear me play live for the first time, and tried to understand how we could capture that on record - it's always escaped me until now - and we came to the conclusion that it's my voice that people comment on the most, so let's see if we can bring that out as best we can and not swamp it in production and unnecessary instrumentation. Everything should be around bringing out the vocal, and we can call up and bring in musicians as we need them. He made it sound do simple! But in the few weeks since that conversation, I can't help but feel a sense of reticence that I am going in today to start putting down ten new songs that I am really, really excited about completely on my own. I am sad that my friends aren't here to share this with, but I accept that's down to me. But I am also scared I guess that I'm going to stumble at the first hurdle, that we realise straight away that every single song is going to need a full band, for example, and then where will we be?
I guess I will soon find out!
These things are rarely plain sailing, so I suppose this nervousness is only natural. It really does feel like a jump into the unknown and, for someone who likes to be completely in control, it's uncomfortable for me. But, with Stuart's steady hands steering the ship, here's hoping I don't fall overboard before we've even got started!
So, I'd better go and get ready! I will be back tomorrow with the first day's report - wish me luck!!
Love A xxx