Recording the album – day 2

On day two Rob and I arrived at the studio for 9 am, Rob now had his producer hat on, he has an amazing ear for musical detail.  Rob heard errors in the recording that nobody else could. 

I had arranged for Tim (Keys) to come in and lay his tracks, Steve was due in after Tim and Amy Jane (viola) was popping in to lay her tracks while Steve was taking a break. 

Tim had been at the first rehearsal and was confident that he could lay his parts in a couple of hours, but because the songs had evolved so much since the first rehearsal it took much longer than anticipated.  If time and money are driving factors make sure your musicians are at all, or as many rehearsals as possible.  Another option would be to get someone to fill in for them and then bring them up to speed.

On day two we began to fall behind but by the end of the day all the keys, electric and viola parts were down and we were back on track.  Everybody was working really hard. 

steve-at-the-controlsSteve at one point recorded himself, which I thought was amazing.  He was in the control room with the rest of us playing the guitar while the amp was in the live room (this is a standard set up in recording studios).  steve-in-the-control-roomIt must have been quite pressurising for him with us all watching him, he’s a cool cucumber.

When Amy Jane popped in we listened to the scratch tracks that we had come up with at  our one on one meeting, Then she recorded her parts.  She normally plays in concert halls with lots of other musicians so the recording process felt a bit alien to her, she adapted well.  

It was really important to reassure all the musicians as they recorded and gave of themselves, because its such a nerve racking thing to do, the whole process can leave you feeling really insecure.  We ended day two with Steve coming up with some inspired stuff on the electric.

Recording the album 4 – Studio

I thought it would be really good for us to rehearse in the space that we would be recording the album in.  It meant we were familiar with our surroundings, that all the gear was set up and that we could just get on with recording when we returned on Monday.

I’d booked the studio for and afternoon to evening slot, on the Saturday before our recording week.  We all arrived around lunch time and had lunch and a chat before setting up.  Rachel had discovered a cafe around the corner that did hot chicken, bacon and cheese sandwiches which were a hit with the band as was Rach, when she wasn’t around everyone was asking where she was!  

Once we were set up we ran the songs.  I’d made some lyrical changes to some of the songs as a result of meetings that I had had with Mike Burn (Family Worship) and Chris and Jennie Orange (ICF).  I didn’t realise how important the lyrical changes were to the the rest of the band but the changes did affect the way the band were playing, so that was a lesson learnt.

It was great to hear everyone’s musical ideas coming together.  Robs bass line for “I Will Not Fear” gave us the groove for that song.  Hen’s drumming on ‘Wait for the Lord” made it edgy, Ben came up with the rhythm guitar part for “Wait for the Lord” at the studio rehearsal, when he started to play it we all looked at him and said ‘make a note!’

I was right into muso language by this point which was kind of cool,  I felt like I’d found my sea legs.

We had a lot of fun at this rehearsal.  I could see everyone’s appreciation for eachothers ideas, creativity and skills.   We had gelled together as a team which was so important to me.

Recording the Album 3 – rehearsals

At the first rehearsal everyone got to know each other. Some of the band members already knew each other.

I had asked my friend Rachel to come along to all the rehearsals and to the studio because I wanted someone around who would look after the needs of the band in terms of us being fed and watered; Rachel has a flair for food, what can I say. Her taking this role on meant that I was able to concentrate on the music. Also I was glad of her female company, men and women just don’t think alike and although all the band are wonderful men I did feel out numbered.

I had sent out mp3’s to the band before the first rehearsal, taking on Rob Medley’s advice about letting the band live with the songs for a while. We took a little time at the beginning of the session to listen to the songs live. Then we began throwing our ideas about, everybody contributed the the session.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go with a couple of songs so they took shape quite quickly. “Wherever You Lead Me” came together really well; it took off in the rehearsal, I think that was because everybody could relate to the song and it’s ‘all out serve to God’ message The other songs needed more work.

We played through all the songs at the first rehearsal. The foundation had been laid.