Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Location location location.

Hello all,

For reasons I won't go into i've just been travelling around Norway for the last 14 days from the north to the south around the coast. Pretty spectacular in places - massive open spaces and enough snow to last me a lifetime. I managed to clock up quite a few miles and have lived in about seven different hotels, which is always fun (?!?!).

As I didn't want to fall behind I brought with me a little mobile PT LE rig so that I could do some editing and arranging at night for several projects i'm working on - primarily for The Fierce & The Dead album (which is nearing completion btw). Invariably when i'm working on a production I tend to immerse myself in it and during the day find my head turning over ideas that I can try out when I get to my rig. Normally i'm rushing about in good old hectic London town but here i've been driving through mountain ranges and crossing fjords on ferries and I've discovered that the landscape and the pace of life here in Norway is having a profound effect on the music i'm working on. This in turn has made me realise how much the environment in London has affected my work in the past, and how much the location in general can change the direction of a project.

It's something that I think a lot of people talk about but very few explore fully. We all know several different ways to record various instruments but how often do we take into account the location. I'm not suggesting that you should jump on a plane and blow all your money travelling to far off exotic lands to get the right vibe for the shaker track, but I do think that there is a lot to be gained from giving as much thought to the where as you do the how. I understand that a lot of people record utilising the home recording technology available these days out of necessity, budgets are virtually non existant whether signed or not and as much as we'd like to spend three months at Air using grade A equipment and instruments sometimes all we have is a laptop, a no name acoustic guitar and a couple of cheap mics. Now consider this, I'm sure where ever you live you will have several locations nearby that would add, if not sonic character, then at least a different slant to your performance. Churches, halls, basements, factories, attics, sheds, hell - even a field may add something beneficial to your recording, put you in a different headspace and hopefully create a unique piece of work. Permission to work in these places isn't always as difficult to get as you might think.

This applies just as much to mixing, creative editing and arranging as it does to recording. If you can't mix at a purpose built studio and you have enough knowledge about acoustics then don't feel locked into working in the bedroom/living room/garage/alcove under the stairs. Setting up your equipment elsewhere can also give a focus to your project as it breaks you out of habits formed from familiarity. Even a different view from a window can be enough to get your creative mojo on.

I have a group of musician friends who used to hire a cottage in Wales for a week, rig up the rooms and spend all week living together and recording whilst being able to wander off into the wilderness whenever they wanted to. The flip side of that comes from an interview I remember reading with Liam Howlett from The Prodigy. In this article he commented that whilst recording one of their albums he had relocated to the idyllic countryside but discovered that the music they were trying to create was at odds with the environment. They returned to the more socially and visually aggresive city, where the music fed from that surrounding. So you see, it's not just about sitting in a field making daisy chains, it could be that you need to place yourself somewhere more uncomfortable to achieve the neccesary results.

The next time you are embarking on a project I hope that you will now consider some of the more esoteric options available to you rather than just heading for the back bedroom again!

A fjord in Norway, a few days ago.

Till next time,


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Silvery's New Video

Didn't realise that they had put this up till just now. Here is the video for Silvery's new single 'Two Halves Of The Same Boy'. For those who don't know the connection - I recorded and mixed the album. And very lovely it turned out too. This track has been playlisted by 6 Music as well so expect to hear it around. Enjoy the video!

Silvery - 'Two Halves Of The Same Boy'

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Just in case you're interested

Here's a few more pictures from The Fierce & The Dead tracking sessions.




Matt again