First day in the studio with sessioneer Rajan today. This time we will be getting together to play as a band with John in the drum room, Paul playing bass, me playing guide electric guitar, and Rajan a scratch vocal and acoustic in the vocal booth. The last two projects haven’t been recorded like this because Space Summit and Valley of Salt both had such well-arranged demos that Jason could play drums to them and we could add bass and other instruments later. With Space Summit and Valley of Salt Jed and Brian and I did a lot of pre-production in the arrangement department, whereas with Rajan the demos needed arranging with the band in the studio. It works both ways, in the end, it’s the result that’s important.
So we get together in the control room, the four of us, and break down the parts and discuss the arrangement and dynamics running through the song with John either banging his legs or using chopsticks which we have in a tall glass on the coffee table. This way we get an idea of the number of verses, how long the intro should be, and how the song ends before going into the live room to try out the theory proper. We then work on areas of the song before attempting a take. Next, we go back into the control room and listen to what we’ve done to see if we can iron out the issues that need attention in the dynamics, the arrangement, and the approach to the playing style, sticks or brushes, pick or fingers on the bass, clean or dirty on the guitar. All we have to do is get it right.
Today we managed three backing tracks, which was our goal for the day. Paul is not available today for bass as he is playing a gig with a Bowie tribute band in Oklahoma City (as you do) so we wanted to make sure we had three songs to work on with bass and drums done. Having said that, on Saturday John will come in and edit drums on the last song we recorded, tidy them up, change some parts on the computer, you can manipulate a drum track with great precision on a computer these days without losing the essence of the performance.
The band was getting tired as a long day came to a close, but we have made an excellent start and tomorrow we will look at what to do next, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, violin, lead vocals, whatever makes sense to move forward on the track. At this point we get to develop the song, enhance the original idea, find guitar parts, get good guitar tones, replace synth lines with real strings, breathe life into a track that as a demo was an early representation of the song, the song itself doesn’t change much, but it comes alive when you have musicians adding their skills, and engineers getting the sounds in collaboration with the players. As producer and in this case electric guitarist I inject thoughts and ideas into the process and with these excellent musicians and a great songwriter and singer as Rajan is, we will surely have a happy ending.
Music today has been Billy Kinsley from The Merseybeats and Liverpool Express’ band Rockin’ Horse – Yes It Is (1971), formed with Jimmy Campbell. They made just one album and I was telling Paul about it today. He loves music like this but didn’t know this album, he’ll be happy when he hears it. Check out the song, Don’t You Ever Think I Cry.