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Album Number 2

I’ve remembered why I was supposed to be starting a blog. All this talk of trees and dogs and parks is all very well, but my original aim was to chart the progress of recording Album Number 2. Several people have been kind enough to inquire about the progress of Album Number 2, ever since I mentioned its being on the cards. So when it started to look like happening, I set up a blog on Facebook, and wrote my first (and only) post.

I thought it would be a great way of documenting the trials and tribulations of building a studio in a damp, cold cellar in the middle of Somerset, commuting back and forth with a budget of zero, and working 15 hour days in the studio trying to get as much done as possible before racing back to London to earn some real money. Well, what I discovered quite quickly was, the above trials and tribulations are actually quite trialling and tribulating. To the point where the last thing I felt like doing was blogging about it.

I am not talking incidentally about drudgery or choredom, but good old-fashioned concentrated creative slog. A satisfying and all-consuming fatigue naturally ensues. A fatigue that responds very well to rich home-made cooking and an assortment of berry-infused spirits, all of which were provided lovingly by our in-house chef extraordinaire, Janet W.

Another factor in this story is laziness and the inevitable passing of time that makes things that seemed exciting last week into pulpy old news. The building process was epic and we all learned a lot about sawing, drilling, and fixing our inevitable mistakes from the legendary Colin W.

Colin is a master of trouble-shooting. A not uncommon experience would be for us to spend the best part of a day building an entire structure, only to discover that we had made a fatal error and would need to dismantle the whole thing and start again. In such situations, I found myself seething with impatient anxiety, but Colin’s attitude was always one of curiosity about how to move forward.

The final weekend of building saw the whole band gathered together screwing and sticking and sweeping and eventually setting up to record. It was a wonderful example of team-building. Burying the ego in pursuit of the common goal of getting things done so we could record the bloody album. It was also a lot of fun.

However once it was complete (ish) I no longer felt the urge to post photos of us all in appalling clothes and sweaty masks, posing with powertools and impressive pieces of plywood. I do now though. Once we started recording, it became even more tricky to document because I was somewhat pre-occupied on the musical front. At this point Colin W once again stepped into the breech. I am now going to sift through the 400 or so pictures and upload the highlights, of which there are many.

Our most triumphant moment on the documentation front was whilst recording “Moths,” late one evening in semi-darkness with candles everywhere for ambience. I have failed so far to mention our impressive two-way video link to the drum booth, built from a couple of security cameras and two very old TVs. The purpose of this was so that Robin could take visual cues from Ben, as he was locked away in the air-tight drum booth. Admittedly the video link was the vehicle of much juvenile hilarity, whilst also fulfilling its purpose admirably.

During the recording of “Moths,” it really came into its own, as one of the TVs had a VHS player, which we were able to record onto. The result was an eerie black and white fuzz, reminiscent of something out of “The Ring,” in which I appeared to be levitating in the vocal booth.

Excitingly the take we recorded at that moment is the take we are going to use on the album, so we have our very own ready-made music video. Well, ready-made apart from the hours of pain-staking editing and production that is.

Since then, there have followed many sessions of overdubs and reworkings and other wonderful processes which would have been well worth documenting, had I at that point had my spangly iPhone 4. Not only did I not have that, I had no real working phone, having thrown a succession of Sony Ericssons at the wall in various fits of pique. (I am not proud of this.)

So it seems in some ways this piece is also becoming something of a disclaimer. Or rather an excuse as to why I didn’t pull my finger out and get on with blogging at the time. To whom I am justifying myself is questionable – as this endeavour was entirely self-motivated. Anyway I’m glad I got it off my chest. Next time I will post some real news.

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