GentleFolk have been going for 10 months or so now & it’s been really good fun. We are starting to get very comfortable with our repertoire & we have a good run of shows coming up over the next few months. So recording beckons. One of my jobs in music is producing so I have been mulling how to approach recording a GentleFolk record for almost as long as the band has been playing together. Being a folk outfit, it’s always been the plan to record the record live, it’s been more about what aspect of the performance I want to feel the most.
One of things I really like about GentleFolk is the warmth of the chemistry of the performance: we are a friendly bunch & I want that to come across. I want there to an intimacy, a sense of closeness, which to an extent is the ambience of the room which we record in. I also want there to be a real sense of relaxed free confidence in the performance, so I need a place where I have recorded before & am really familiar with. As I am singing & playing & well as producing I need an engineer to do the recording & work the desk.
I have booked a place called Sugar Cane Studios in Wandsworth. It used to be called Raezor. I’ve used it a lot so I am very relaxed there. It has a great desk. It’s an SSL E series, made by Solid State Logic in the 80s. SSL started off as a company making components for church organs before moving into recording equipment. This particular desk is very friendly & warm. Because we won’t be using tape, I would like to find ways of injecting character onto the signal & this desk & the UREI compressors should help considerably. The recording room is carpet-lined so is nice & dead, it’s also really relaxing. The microphone collection is fit for purpose; I’m pretty conservative in my mic preferences so U87s & 414s will cover the bases supplemented by my KM184s. I don’t want acoustic separation between performers so we need to look at how we position ourselves & the microphones to get the balance. Balance in the room will be key. To a large extent that comes from planning in advance, having a really good bead on the instrumentations of each tune so we can adjust where we sit accordingly. The engineer is called Even & he is really steady & nice.
The piece we are recording is called “Into The Greenwood” & is performed as a continuous 30 minute song & story cycle (spot the fan of prog.) It may not be possible to record this in the studio as there are instrument changes which need different balances; so we may need to record the songs out of sequence & then join them up afterwards at mastering.
The key thing to the session is that everybody feels great going into it. That involves putting the focus on the fun & the challenge of going into a studio to record music you love. Being well rehearsed is key: in my opinion studios are there to capture the best of you not to effect a rescue! We are going in in March & we are already at the right level so it’s a matter of continuing to enjoy the pieces & honing the little corners until you feel happy.
Good food in the studio is key. Fruit bowl, salad, lovely breads, hummus & stew are on the agenda. There is an excellent pub around the corner.
I think I got it covered.
Now all I have to do is not accidentally write a whole raft of new material before March.
Like the song I wrote last week about the Chime Child.