Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Down for the Count Recording Session - October 2010

This December we went to The Limehouse Studios in East London to record our new album and demo CD.  Recording a demo is probably the most important investment for a function band, but it’s also definitely the most exciting one – there’s a certain thrill in sitting down and listening to what you ACTUALLY sound like!

The work actually started months before the session, as we had to choose and then rehearse the best songs to record, bearing in mind that we wouldn’t have much time on the day for each song.  We were aiming to record ten songs in a single day – a hugely ambitious task, and one that we only managed because of the hours of preparation beforehand!

We chose The Limehouse for several reasons, but the main one was the incredible instruments they offered – a beautiful grand piano, a ‘best that money can buy’ drum kit, and a vintage Rhodes electric piano – which explains the smile on Amelia’s face!  (Plus they had free tea and coffee, which always helps).  We had a wonderful time there, and would recommend highly recommend it.

The first part of the day was spent setting up the rhythm section – piano, bass, drums and keyboards.  (Usually this is also the part of the day where Steve teases Rich for taking so long to tune his drums, today being no exception).

After we had recorded the rhythm section, it was time for the horn section to have their turn.  Stan, our usual trumpeter, had been taken ill in the week leading up to the recording session and he sensibly decided that belting out high notes all afternoon would not do him any good!  Luckily, we have an army of deputy players ready to step to the fore and were very grateful to Max for filling in for us at extremely short notice.

Recording the horn section was particularly hard work (for them) because Mike, having recorded his piano tracks, was now in the control room listening intently – and shouting abuse down the headphones with every wrong note!  However, there must have been a few nice things said as well because everyone is smiling here…

After the horns had their go, it was time for the final bit of recording – adding the vocals.  Katie had been singing ‘guide vocals’ in the control room all day to help us know where we were in each song – and finally it was her time to get in the studio and record them for real.

Finally, 11 hours after we had arrived at the studio, we had 10 tracks recorded!  All that was left was the tedious part – mixing, mastering, and burning the CD.  However, to do this bit you have to be awake and alert and after so long everything you listen to starts to sound the same and everyone.  So instead we headed home, to celebrate a successful day’s work in the traditional musician's way – beer and a curry.

The next weekend, it was back to the studio to ‘finish off’ the recording.  Even though we did hardly any sneaky ‘edits’ or ‘fixes’, there was still a lot of technical work to do to turn our recordings into tracks for the CD. 

But finally, we were there.  After many hours of hard work, fuelled by hundreds of cups of coffee, we were there!  We had 10 fantastic new tracks and a brand new album - "Say No More", which you can buy here!

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