Friday, August 11, 2017

Studio Day

Unbelievable: 11.54 a.m. and I normally get up at six-thirty!
Yesterday afternoon was spent at Dave Morgan and Ruth Tidmarsh's studio, recording a new song, Saturday Night With The London Set. It will be the first one for the next album, which I am hoping at the moment to do with a guest guitarist on each track.
Yesterday's guest (who introduced me to Dave and Ruth in the first place) was Vic Godard. We had already played a version of the song at the Asbo Derek album launch in Brighton a few weeks ago so it wasn't new territory.
It was written after a night out at a Monochrome Set gig at The Lexington. It's funny embarking into a community of people who lived through London punk, having done all that stuff somewhere completely different; and the 25-year sabbatical I'd had from making music when I was a Mum and Wife and a Lecturer and music making was something other people did and talked about, but not me.
But everywhere you go, people bond because of shared histories. If you move around a lot you slip into and slip out of other people's worlds, sometimes becoming immersed and sometimes just watching from the sidelines. I think it's often the combination of being there and somehow not being there at the same time that makes people write songs: you are somehow trying to link yourself to other people and be part of their narrative, while at the same time living your own life story. I don't know.
This is probably all blethers.
I was writing about the recording session.
We recorded guitar and drums first with a guide vocal, no click track which is unusual for me.  Fuelled by coffee, we got the track down in time for Vic who arrived fresh from his round, in his postman's uniform. Dave and Ruth have a Firebird (that's a make of guitar) and it sounds absolutely lush; some of Vic's parts sounded like Eddie Rabbit and some sounded like (believe it or not) Carlos Santana (or maybe that's because of listening to a CD of Caravanserai on Wednesday). There were some lovely things going on between the ride cymbal and the hi-hats and between the different guitar parts, whose sounds came to the forefront in different parts of the track (mine was Brazilian-sounding arpeggios and Vic played around and over that). Then I put a rudimentary bass line down which was challenging.
After all that it was difficult to get a great lead vocal, but I did a harmony that may or may not materialise. A coffee'n'sound migraine started to announce it's presence and we did a rough mix, and the rest of the day was Vic's to mix his album.
Last night's listening, all I could hear was wrong things. That is completely normal for listening on the recording day, when you have called into play a sort of micro-listening so you can hear the way instruments rub up against and interconnect with each other sonically.
I've just listened this morning, and that's why I'm writing this instead of just burying it in the week's other doings. It sounds amazing! Dave's drums sound great, the guitars sound fabulous and I even like the vocals. There is a pile of songs that didn't get on the The Sea and I was going to record those ones as a new album, but I think after this that I'll work on some new ideas instead.
In 2005 I made a bid for freedom , by starting to write songs again. I am so bloody glad that I did. It's like exploring outer space, except it can all be done in the comfort of your own brain. Sort of (wrote the person who has travelled 3000 miles, and counting, to play gigs on her own this summer).

Alas, ordinary tasks like 'washing the kitchen floor' and 'cleaning the windows' and 'starting to work on next year's student module guides' will be taking up the rest of today, but at least yesterday was 100% creative.

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