Recording in London (Part 4)

I’ve been working in schools for years, and I generally wake up not long after the sun, even when I’m on vacation. It’s not just from habit, though… there’s surely something genetic about it. My dad, who’s an early-riser, loves to reccount how when I was a child he’d often open his eyes in the morning and find my face staring at him from about six inches away, with my eyes wide open, just waiting for some company. The early morning cartoons would only keep me entertained for so long.
Brian and I live on nearly opposite schedules. He’s a true night-owl, more from insomnia, he says, than any preference for the dark hours. A pattern was established pretty early on in my stay, and we worked with it over the next eight days or so. We’d stay up all night, usually until about sunrise (I was adjusting to his schedule, obviously). I’d eventually throw in the towel, and Brian would stay up for a few hours by himself, drinking wine and playing the mandolin, skyping with his girlfriend in Argentina, or taking care of business stuff on the computer.
I’d try to sleep as late as I could, usually wake up before noon, then lay in bed listening to The Odyssey on my Creative Zen and praying I would crash out for a few more hours. Regardless of whether I did or not, there would be some serious time to kill before Brian was up and ready to start recording. I’d usually head into the neigborhood to buy some groceries, sometimes cook something up and sometimes grab myself a curry lunch special on Brick Lane, which was right around the corner from his place. Then I’d just play guitar in the living room and wait. It was a wonderfully comfortable and spacious room, a bit surreal with a hundred-year-old piano and a dried-up Christmas tree that Brian and Thea had decided to keep into the spring for some reason.

It worked out well, ’cause I liked having a few hours of practice before recording. My hands were so warmed up by the time I sat in front of the microphones that I could usually bang out my guitar parts in just a few takes, sometimes just one or two. It saved us a lot of frustration… there’s nothing more disheartening than doing twenty takes in a row and not being able to land one that’s perfect, totally buzz and error-free. It makes you feel incompetent. Nowadays, it’s easy to edit out any errors, but I’m a purist; I like knowing that the song is as real and unsynthetic as possible.
Anyway, Brian would get up in the afternoon, deal with chores and business stuff for a few hours, then we’d shut ourselves into the studio somewhere between 5-8pm. We’d work until we lost the inspiration, usually between 2-4am. Then we’d go upstairs, crack some wine, and Brian would cook while I played him songs that didn’t make my final cut for the sessions. Brian is no amateur in the kitchen, btw; he’s a serious culinary artist, no joke. Two of the standouts during my stay were braised duck burritos & crawfish soup with coconut milk and mango. We’d eat, drink and talk till I couldn’t hack it anymore, then I’d leave him sitting there to occupy his sleepless dawn however he could.

In total during my stay we recorded thirteen of my tunes. It took one day to do the microphone trials for my voice, as I wrote earlier on, one day to do the microphone trials for my guitar, and about three to actually record all my guitar parts. I was in London for ten days, so the rest of the time was for vocals and for bringing in other musicians.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 21st, 2010 at and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply or Comment

CommentLuv badge

  • « Older Entries
  • Newer Entries »
  • Link up :