Can’t believe how quickly the year’s gone..only 12 months since my last annual review.
As ever, a fruitful year: never a shortage of things to do.
Have released a couple of albums on my music for media imprint : an Ambient one and my favourite one…a Moterik album. Lots of music of mine on there. Signed a co publishing deal to try to kick the company into the stratosphere in 2017
Just finished mixing album 3 for One Cure for Man and lots of mastering for a few artists.
Did a load of production for Hannah Brine for some publishing avenues.
I slipped in a remix for We Three and The Death Rattle
I mixed most of the stuff on this over the last 2 years, but glad it’s all out as an album: Lux by The Daydream Club
I recorded and mixed/mastered another album at Simon Says festival
Favourite plug ins for me this year have been the Soundtoys mini versions : the Little Radiator and the Primal Tap have both been on pretty much every mix I’ve done in 2016: super simple and sound great.
Books? : Read the Mixerman books: all of them highly recommended but ‘The Daily Adventures Of’ is a great place to start.
The Johnny Marr autobiography is a good read: still leaves lots of mystery to the bits you want to know more of (for me, anything behind the Smiths and Electronic) but it’s written is such an open and conversational way you can’t help but love him…and you can’t say that about Moz’s biog a couple of years back
Three gigs in a year is unusual for me these days, but I made them count this year! Massive Attack, John Grant and PJ Harvey: a trio of ace-ness.
Song Of The Year is ‘I Feel The Weight’ by Miike Snow: it’s perfect meld of production and a rock solid ‘song’. Beautiful.
Albums I’ve loved:
Bowie, Beyonce, Iggy Pop, Bon Ivor, Mystery Jets, Shura, Miike Snow, Radiohead, Leonard Cohen, Meilyr Jones
2017 holds more of the same: got a few music for media albums to finish and get out.Am doing some recording and mixing for Kafka Diva in January for their new album, too and things always just crop up out of the blue.
You just keep working, don’t you?’Get yer tackle out and see what bites’ as Paul Calf said
For those of you who work on your own, do bear with it: it’s hard to keep going sometimes when you can’t see the wood for the trees…but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel
Well, another year gone, and, as ever, a busy one full of some really excellent music.
It’s been the year I finally launched the Library Music company I’ve been planning for years. It’s been extraordinarily stressful to get it up and running, and frustrating that I haven’t spent as much time on it as I’d like to, but I’m really pleased with the catalogue I’ve released, with 3 albums nearly ready to go in the first bit of 2015. I’ve learnt so much in doing it: where to put my time and where I really shouldn’t have bothered. Won’t be sure if any music’s been used til the middle of the year, really, due to the way the collection societies and cues work but I have pretty clear plans for the next year or 2: the very definition of a slow burner.
Mixing’s been great this year : as well as the TV stuff, there’s been lots to do : I’ve mixed the next 2 Daydream Club singles ready for 2015: really enjoy being part of their world: super organised, but, importantly, really great songs..these next 2 singles will see them get to the next level, for sure, building off the back of their million streams profile from the last EP I mixed last year. I should really now refer to myself as ‘million streaming producer, mixing and mastering engineer’ … but I won’t 😉
Am half way through mixing an album by One Cure For Man: one man indie rock army with some hefty songs…all self recorded. Some great epic moments on there… enjoying mixing it immensely: I genuinely love DIY people who recognise they can do it themselves, but need a helping hand here and there. James, from the band (or rather the band) is one such example.
Started recording / mixing a new Shortwave Fade EP in feb.. not quite sure that’s finished or not..? Good tunes, though. Stone Roses-esque proportions of in-between-material-ism, although the singer’s just had a baby , so will let them off.
Enjoyed mastering a load of Edgy Production albums: been doing their stuff for over a decade, and have known the people there for ever and ever. Lovely to be involved in such a different project
I mixed a new track by more old friends, Sally and Greg under their new banner The Aurora…I think there’s a web site coming but here’s the track.
Just finished another production for Hannah Magenta under her Mwah foil: uber smooth pop. Here’s one I did a while ago for her.
.. the new one’s a bit more Madge (Madonna, rather than Bishop)
Had a great time at Simon Says festival at DMH in July: I did a pop up studio and gorged on recording some really great artists: recorded quickly, just how I like it (avoids boredom), and mixed back at my studio. As well as the Daydream Club, a few of these artists are doing really well, especially her and him
I’ve done a few remixes this year.. I enjoy doing these loads… blows the cobwebs away and no pressure for them to really do anything!
Highlight for me has been the Momus remix: am a really massive fan. Was bait obsessed with him in the late 80s into the 90s, so to get the ‘I like it, and here’s a video I made for it’ email from him was a real joy.
Anyone who knows me from my late teens will really know what a career high it is.
Anyway, in other remix news, I did this one for Laura Kidd who goes under the She Makes War banner ..I think it was last year I finished it, but it came out last week.. one of my favourite remixes I’ve done
Track of the year for me has to be the Future Islands single ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’.. not that its an amazing song, just that I loved the way the Letterman performance blew me away in a way that rarely happens: ties the song with a moment in time, as this piece in the Guardian points out
Gig of the year was Morrissey at the 02 in November: he was in fine voice, and he brought a little tear to my eye when he did ‘Trouble Loves Me’ , ‘Asleep’ and ‘Meat Is Murder’ (complete with brutal video backdrop that surely converted a few people that night), despite it being a cavernous venue, his voice filled it. After all this time, he really is one of a kind.. and ace tour t shirt 😉
Film of the year : ‘Northern Soul’ : lovely clothes, excellent music and amazing dancing.
So, new year around the corner, continued wishes for healthy family and time to enjoy them, continued musical journeys with nice people
Hope you all had a good year, and here’s to a great 2015
Had a ball this weekend running recording sessions in a tent at Summer Sundae. Ultimately, it was a marketing exercise for the Leicester College Music and Sound department I run…. the idea was to get right into Leicester’s biggest music festival and benefit local artists by recording and promoting them with a free download album.
Lots and lots of technical challenges over the three days, and I’ll blog on those soon.
For now, here’s some piccies of the weekend.
I’ve known Hannah for a long time: I recorded her as a young teenager (her, not me), and produced a couple of tracks for her around 8 years ago, so it was nice to be asked back on board again for sure. Working with nice people makes things a whole lot nicer all round.
Hannah had been sending me demos for a while.. piano and voice: some good songs there. What Hannah needed (needs still) was someone to produce her and put a band together to take it as a gigging proposition. The chicken and egg thing was, Hannah needed to present what she wanted to potential collaborators. So I agreed to chose a couple of tracks and get on board.
What I’ve liked in particular about this project is:
I started programming and arranging them in a tent in Newquay
I recorded vocals at Hannah’s dinner table
I played and recorded and played bass and guitar with no amp, sat on my sofa
In all, a very DIY job, and I’m really pleased with the results. I always keep a tab on time spent, and despite being spread over several months, the two tracks combined took around 40 hours, so a working week, really.
Hannah’s putting an ad together to look for the future collaborator to take this project forwards…. a replacement and permanent me really..if you know of anyone who’d slot in, let me know and I’ll hook you two up.
Finally done. The pair of tracks I recorded, produced, mixed and mastered…. the whole deal, for Hannah Brine..launching under the ‘Mwah’ banner. She’s looking for muso’s to take this on I understand: basically a replacement me for cowriting, production and to take it live. If you like it, find her and mail her.
So, been finishing the mixes for Hannah Brien.. pretty much there. Last tweaks now: little lists to and fro.
Finished Rockwooling the walls in the studio, and started the plasterboarding…… managed to get a piece on the ceiling using a clever method of making some supports and screwing them in. Flipping heck, even cut in half it weighs a ton, though, so I need to nail some more supports in the ceiling beams… will take a while.
Had a couple of hours Rockwooling the studio today…. I could do with some goggles… my eyes really sting tonight from the dust. I’ve got around half the walls done, now.. you really start to get a picture for what it’s going to look like and feel like now the walls are looking more solid.
Started mixing Hannah Brine’s stuff tonight… just organising / colouring , solo-ing stuff to remind myself of what I’d put in .. some of the programming I did in August (in a tent in Newquay!) so it’s been buried. I’ve tweaked some of the pads and drum sounds so far.Bass, too (which now sounds a French as I’d hoped it would. Tres Bon.)
When I re-ordered the tracks I’ve done it like a band, so I don’t lose the focus that Hannah may want to rehearse a band around these versions. So there’s drums, bass, guitar, keys, vox. Should set me up for a good week’s mixing.
Had a couple of hours in the studio today, putting some of the Rockwool slab in. It’s pretty easy, really, just measure, cut with bread knife (don’t tell the wife) and slip snugly into the stud frame: yes it’s itchy if you don’t wear gloves, but compared to normal insulation in a roll, not too bad. I got 5 or 6 square meters done, so, depending on what crops up this week, I’d hope to finish by next weekend.
Redid the bass on one of Hannah Brine’s tracks. I did this ages ago but we shifted the track up a tone.. and it sounded all wobbly. Luckily for me, I could no play all the bassline on one string! Did a few takes, then corrected any issues with Flextime. Bob’s yer uncle. Next week it’s time to mix both tracks.
Spoke to Paul at Seamus Wong today.. he knows I’ve been looking for a desk for a while and one cropped up in SOS readers ads. Its an Allen and Heath Sabre. I love that desk.. Paul used to have one at the Wong, and in the mid/late 90’s when I used to work from there a lot, I got used to it’s sound. Am sorely tempted to buy one.. there’s a few simple mods you can do to the channels and mix bus to make it even nicer… the one he called about is a 28 channel one, but it’s modular, so I could blank the middle channels and pop my Macbook Pro there.. I doubt I’ll ever get another desktop machine, and I can’t think of another desk under a grand where I can do that… hmmm. The down side is I don’t have the money, and I don’t fancy dipping into overdraft land. Also, in terms of the scale, I am still really weighing up whether or not I’m going to end up with a big board or a small summing mixer (and am thinking of a broadcast mixer with limiters perhaps).. I really can’t decide, and am in no rush to. The studio’s only 2 meters wide.. a Sabre or similar will eat 3/4 of that.. it’s hard to imagine how it will sit.
Soundroc plasterboard arrived today. Fuck me it’s heavy. 16 sheets 2.4m x 1.2m (15mm thick) : the pallet got dropped off in the front garden.. and I had to take it down the drive, through the back gate and into the garage one piece at a time on my own. I had no idea how heavy it would be… but was surprised to say the least! 42 Kg per sheet, so over 670 kg in all.
The Rockwool slab arrived, too, tho only 5 of the 12 packs were in stock.. just as well as thats flipping bulky and I’m struggling to store it all! Luckily thats sealed in plastic so I can leave that outside.
I plan to get it packed in this weekend, with plasterboard over the next couple of weeks.
Edited the guitar recordings from last night on Hannah’s tracks… sounding great, and touch wood, bass recording over the weekend.
Last night, I went to Hannah Brine‘s house to record vocals. Set up in her dining room with a Neumann mic and Edirol bus powered interface.. had a ball, really: to have that much instant communication whilst recording, even if I won the lottery, I doubt I’d build a live room again. Got lots of good stuff down.
Tonight, I set up in my kitchen and recorded some electric guitar on the tracks. Not played electric for a loooong time. The guitar (cheap Tele copy) has been in the garage for 5 an a half years without a case….. amazed when I plugged it in it actually worked at all.
I read an interview with Adrian Utley a few months back.. he said people always asked how he got his guitar to sound so ‘vintage’. ‘I never ever change my strings’ . If its good enough for him ………
In no way do I class myself as a guitarist, but using Logic I can cobble together enough takes to sound fine for what I need. I usually use an amp, and I would always use one if the guitar’s suppose to be prominent. My amp’s buried in the loft, so I recorded clean and will rely on amp simulators in Logic… had a quick fiddle with Guitar Amp Pro. I normally use that for crunchy vocals and sticking delays through, or just use it for the spring reverb.. quite a novelty to actually use it for guitars! So far, a rough mix of guitars, but they sound great, and really make the whole track sound more band-like. Should get the acoustic and bass done over the weekend before I start the mix properly.
Today Big G (dad) came round to get the water into the garage/studio.. the job that went wrong on sunday. But today, all went well and we now have running water ready to go. Mr Glazier popped in, too, to measure the door glass so he can replace it with some nice frosted stuff next week. Touch woo, the Soundroc plasterboard and the Rockwool slab should arrive tomorrow and I can get on that job.
Every couple of years I binge on Pet Shop Boys. No, not literally of course. They have a new B Sides album out. Their first one (Alternative) is a lesson in the perfect B Side. This new one is patchy to say the least, but has its moments. In poor blogging style, here’s one not from the new album, but a pretty perfect song featuring our Kylie