Linkin Park, Macy Gray and Korn are just a few of the bands/artists that I don’t sound anything like. I’m not really a fan of any of them. However, I do concede that ‘I Try’ is one of my guilty pleasure records.
So, when Multi-Platinum Producer Jeff Blue (the guy responsible for all of the above) got in touch, you’d be right to assume that my immediate reaction wasn’t exactly “brilliant, just the man for the job”. You see, I’m not interested in fame and fortune . . .
However, I figured these types of calls don’t happen every day and it’s probably worth finding out what he was after. . .
My “amazing voice” and “knack for a catchy melody” were the immediate feedback when we spoke the next day – I say next day, but it was more a mix of AM and PM due to the time difference between LA/Yorkshire.
During the call, he went on to explain how he was in the process of scouting for a few major labels and wanted to fly me out to the States to collaborate and create something good together.
Now, although it didn’t seem like the perfect fit musically, I’m very much of the opinion that you regret the things you DON’T do, so a session was arranged for later that month and before I knew it, I was hitting the tarmac at LAX.
So, strip searched at the airport, a $120 cab ride to the hotel, crap tea, weak beer, blistering heat, constant requests to “say something in your cool accent”, beserk drivers and sausages with maple syrup really put LA on the back foot in my opinion. Which leads us in to the recording…
From the very start of the session, I knew something didn’t taste quite right.
Sure, the studio was awesome, the gear was second to none, I had a bag full of songs ready to go and even more “nearly finished” ideas to attack, but everything moved along very fast and I immediately realised that this wasn’t going to be an experience quite like I’d imagined.
The drums were programmed, things were very formulaic and we seemed to pull my songs apart only to put them back together with an alarming lack of integrity behind any of the decisions.
I’m happy to deconstruct my songs and (it’s something that I do regularly when in the process of writing) however, this was different.
It felt very “production line” and dare I say it . . . manufactured. I came away from the session with 3 tracks that couldn’t be further from “my sound” if I tried. The songs felt thin and flimsy – they were very “pop” and if I’m totally honest, I really wasn’t happy with the results at all.
So, a total loss then? Well, not entirely.
I’d say a very big lesson was learned, which is the only real positive to come out of the experience. I decided to use it as a benchmark for all future recording/writing sessions and a reminder that I will always be focused on making music that I love.
It’s a huge cliche, but music has to be honest and credible. That’s why the latest album was recorded with a producer that I genuinely trust and admire for his work – real drums, real hard work, real musical decisions and real good tracks.
I’ll admit that the weather in Northern Britain doesn’t come close to the sun-drenched sidewalks of LA, but it’s a bit of me is that, it’s good for the soul – a little bit of rain never hurt anyone.
And so, here is my cast iron guarantee folks – EJ Mann music contains no artificial colours, preservatives, fake drums, bad tea or dishonesty and is absolutely one of your 5 a day.
Now I can’t say fairer than that can I?
EJ Mann x
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