Don’t you love finding out little secrets about your favourite songs and albums?
You know, the cool “ooh I never knew that” facts. Things like The Beach Boys didn’t play the music on their iconic albums (it was “The Wrecking Crew” by the way) and Johnny Greenwood hated “Creep” so much, he tried to destroy it with that distorted guitar only to discover it became the best part of the song.
Yeah, me too. The process and “making of” music is fascinating. So, for those of you who wanted a sneaky peak behind the scenes during the recording of This Is Nowhere, here you go…
I’m no stranger to recording studios, love em! However, it can be a really tough decision deciding where to cut your record and more importantly who should take control of the desk.
I’d heard a band called NGOD through a close friend and loved the vibe of their track “Blue”.
After a little research, I found out they recorded with Producer David Watts in The Chairworks studio in Castleford. Double whammy! Record an album and get some Yorkshire air in my lungs at the same time – result.
Over the next few months David and I discussed my songs – things he liked, parts he didn’t, but on the whole, he rated the group of songs that would eventually become “This Is Nowhere”. We narrowed down from a huge list of possible album tracks and decided on 10 that cut the mustard.
Ultimately, we got along, that’s huge when working in the studio.
We seemed to like the same bands and agree on the same sounds and I was very happy to let David make production changes as he pleased because he understood what I wanted this album to sound like.
I have a tendency to work late when it comes to music and David grafts like a madman, I mean who decides to crack on with another track at 10:30pm after a full day of recording?!
With this ethic, between us and his brilliant engineer Louis, the whole things was tracked in 5 days. Unbelievable!
I can assure you, I played everything on my album except the drums. Let me explain . . .
I do play the dustbins, but when you’re paying for studio time, it’s a good idea to be quick and efficient, not only to save time and money, but it keeps the producer happy and that means your record sounds great!
So, the guy playing the drums is my friend Jake, who is both a great drummer and very quick. Put him in a studio with David and things seem to go swimmingly.
His drumming seemed to shape the whole session. Playing along to some scratchy demos and an even sketchier guide vocal, Jake managed to track all the drums parts in one and a half days.
As I recall 9 out of 10 of the songs were nailed on the first take. The precedent was set – long days and late nights and we’re starting to put the album together.
Guitars and bass done, then loads of bits of piano, organ and percussion all played with my “just bash the keys” technique.
Everything looking good for vocals. Well, that was until I was hit by the most violent loss of voice I’ve ever experienced. Would you believe it – vocal tracking day and no vocals.
The whole session had to be powered by honey and lemon drinks, steamed head baths and lots of rest in between takes. I was in a position I’ve never experienced before – I was worried and had to work very hard in the booth to get the vocal down on the record.
All this and yet I love the sound that we captured – I’m sure it’s only better for the “rasp” from the cold/ripped vocal chords.
I heard John Lennon had the same problem when recording “Twist & Shout” with the Beatles. So, if its good enough for him, its good enough for me!
If you wanna hear how that “rasp” sounds on the record, you might consider checking out “This Is Nowhere” by clicking here.
EJ Mann x