10 things I Never Knew Until I Made an Album

April 12, 2009

1. There are people who live in studios. They are friendly and generally uncomplaining sorts, if a little pale. They can do magical things like play around with big pictures of waves, and change the way stuff sounds. Their name is "engineer". They are sometimes a bit strange and look like this:  

 

2. There are also other smaller people who live in studios known as 'assistants'.   These people fetch folks (namely hungry singers)  cheese sandwiches, Korean takeaways, beer and Green and Black's chocolate on request at any time of the day, no matter how ungodly.  I like them. They also smoke roll ups and will share if you ask nicely.

3. Just one solitary moment during recording or mixing of thinking "I ought to check this out because I am not sure it sounds right' means you should do this.  Else, after a 12 hour day you will go home and listen to the tracks for a further 4 hours crying into a glass of wine and cursing your stupid damn self. And then you wake up and do it all over again.


4. Working with family can, in fact, be a pleasure as well as an experience of extreme musico-telepathy. It is also fun when you live with said member of family, because they are always there to talk to when you are crying into your wine. Here is said member: 

 

 

5. Accordions are always cool. Recorders are surprisingly cool. French horns rock. String quartets rule. 6. Mixing will actually make you insane. How insane can be calculated like so:The square root of your mental stability in the first place + how closely related you are to Brian Wilson × the total units of wine consumed over the mixing period ÷ the number of friends willing to listen to you monologue for hours about compression and EQ levels. Mine's about a 14. I think I got off lightly. Me before recording happy and care-free/ Me post recording, just a touch of derangement.

 

7. Recording in two cities is an excellent idea. I'm not sure why. It just is. *

 

8. All studios, no matter which city, will have the following in their fridge: 

An unfinished and flat bottle of cheap prosecco 
Left over chicken bhuna
A unopened carton of Tropicana
Some salad in a plastic bag that came with the bhuna. 
A jar of lime pickle that will still exist when cockroaches have taken over the planet. 


9. Any session, no matter how badly wrong it is going, can be resolved with the following:
i). Good coffee (or even better, excellent coffee, like this one from previously mentioned Climpsons)
ii). Conversation with dear friend on 24 hour call, especially one who has access to a large supply of chocolate **

 

iii). If all else fails, run, like I did, for the hills until problem is resolved. Hills:

 

 10. It will make you sadder than you ever thought, and happier than you ever thought.  Maybe a bit like having kids. 

 

*especially when the cities are London and New York and they are both full of amazing people/musicians. This statement might not apply if said cities were Slough and Saginaw. Not that I know anything about Saginaw, it just sounds a bit dodgy.

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