Album Recording – Day 10

Well it’s actually 2 days after and I’m still coming down from the high of a combination of such a great and productive time away in such a beautiful, chilled location and a hectic climax to the whole session.

I make a bit of a habit of setting my sights impossibly high and trying my hardest to reach them. As a result the last two days were a bit of a marathon – no more relaxing mornings to soak up the atmosphere and be inspired before starting work at 11am but straight up and onto my squeaky drum stool to press my aching fingers against the guitar strings while I still had some nerve endings in them!

Day 9 – conscious of the fact that I wanted to get all the acoustic guitar done in the live space with the same mic set-ups I got stuck in early and got 3 songs finished by lunch time. I saved Vapour Trails for after lunch which ended up taking over 3 hours (the song, not lunch). I pushed on and I knew that my newest song (which doesn’t have a definite title yet but I’ll call it “Best Friend” for now) which has a really tender vibe to it would work late at night and so I saved that til last that day to try and capture a special feeling. It ended up being a 2.30am finish but I had guitar for 7 more songs in the bag after about 14 hours of playing.

Day 10 – last day in the studio and I had to be packed and out the door by 5pm. Woke at 8am after not enough sleep and was back behind the guitar by 9, fingers still hurting from the day before with 3 songs to go before Hugh was due to arrive to lay down some more drums. Somehow I managed to finish the last take just as Hugh turned up, though this was more like 2pm and I’d actually got an extra song done out of 4 ‘nice-to-have’ tracks that I wanted to get down if I had time.

Desperately mic’d up the drum kit again while Hugh learned the song he’d never heard before (Louder than Words). I was playing the song myself on drums earlier in the week when I thought “this should be played in Hugh’s style” and no one can do that better than Hugh so after a few run throughs and some discussion we spent an hour getting some good takes down and then covered a couple of things like the intro and ending again. 4pm and we were literally just doing a final re-take of the slow down bit at the end so Hugh could match the timing of the guitar chords when the computer hangs. I’m a bit of a geek so tried all I knew to avoid killing the program but ultimately that’s all I could do and we lost the whole track!

I know the audio files are on the hard drive but it would be such a pain to go through each one and try and put it in the song arrangement in the right location that we had no option but to start again.

Quicker this time as Hugh had got to know the song but we were finally done by 4.40pm 20 mins to pack up, clean the place and say goodbye.

Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin

As you might imagine, it took over 2 hours but in the rush I left my jacket (and phone) behind and didn’t realise until I’d got back to Edinburgh.

Having had 10 days of no caffeine and no alcohol, a steak and a bottle of wine was in order so that’s how it all ended. What an amazing 10 days of music – I can’t wait to get moving on the rest of it but unfortunately my busy calendar means grabbing half days here and there.

I got so much done, but clearly not all the recording done for 16 songs. The idea was to choose the best 10 from those. From the 10 days away I’ve got all the drums, all the guitar and 75% of the percussion done for 13 songs. Now I’ve got an awful lot of editing to do before I can get moving on the bass, vocals and other bits and pieces.

If you’ve read this far(!) you may be up for Acoustic Edinburgh tonight where I’m playing the warm-up slot at 9pm in Medina. Rags and Feathers are headlining plus sets from Marty Philip, Rob Sproul-Cran and Chris Green so it should be a great night – FREE ENTRY!

Hope to see you there!

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