I’ve just come back from Manchester after working with a great young band called “White Boy” formerly “Janice Graham Band”.
Instead of going into a Studio and following the traditional way of recording an album, we decided from the beginning that the community center in Wythanshawe, where they rehearse would be far more interesting, due to the acoustics of the room, or rooms.
There are 3 rooms, 1 dance studio (including mirrors), next to it a very large ambient kitchen and to the right of the dance studio is a small Chapel.
This was my second session here. I recorded 4 songs 9 months ago and because we all had such a great time and loved the sound decided to record the rest of the album here. We only had use of the rooms during the day time as every evening the dance studio was used for various events, often quite bizarre. One evening it turned into a boxing club, suddenly we were invaded by a whole bunch of guys who proceeded to beat the shit out of each other! Another night 50 young kids turned up for a dance class. We had set up in the Chapel which was fairly bizarre in itself. Little Kids would be wondering in from next door and looking a little phased to find a whole band plus equipment in the Chapel!
But everyone was incredibly hospitable, the boss of the center even cooked us a fantastic Indian feast one Sunday afternoon. All except one man, the local priest, obviously not too happy that we had taken his space, although he only ever used the Chapel on Sunday mornings, when we had to be out of there. He asked us who was paying for the church’s electricity? I couldn’t believe it, here we were in a community center in the middle of the largest council estate in Europe, where the band lived, everyone was trying to help. I felt like asking him Why do you? Another good reason for me to despise religion!
Anyway I digress, back to the recording…
I setup in the Chapel with my laptop (using protools) a motu soundcard with 8 preamps linked to a focusrite with another 8 pre’s, 16 in total and a pair of speakers. Kev the manager of the band had managed to blag all the Microphones/stands/headphones & cables, nothing fancy. But the room sounded so good it didn’t matter, and most important of all the band were at home here, no unnecessary stress.
Another oddity about the recording process that I embraced was the use of an old amp which had a cheap reverb on it. They used it for the PA when they rehearsed. It was part of their sound. I used it for recording the brass, vocals & keyboards, it gave a great distortion to everything.
In all we were in the community center for a couple of weeks, recorded 10 songs and all we had to pay for were the soundcards/pre amps. Of course it helps that the band knew the songs and were ready & Kev is the best blagger!
Now back to my studio to mix it all. The first single “Kiss + Run” will be released on the 16th of February 2015.