Day 5, another wicked day in the studio.
Producer extraordinaire, Sean Carey and I started with a 10 minute long warm and fuzzy. I sat in the recording booth tuning my geetar, he sat in the cockpit, and through the headphone/mic we transferred our warm and fuzzy feelings to kick us off for the day. I feel like I’ve known the guy for 10 years. He gets me, he gets my music, he gets where I wanna go with it, he gets the journey I wanna take the audience on, and he takes the song there….
Today we worked on three incredibly different tracks – a soothing acoustic number (Winter Sun), an intense fast paced resonator tune (The Finish Line), and a smokin’ hot dirty electric guitar riff (Pockets). I’m startin’ to sound like Cold Chisel. Far out. Sean has some seriously smokin’ amps that make my guitar playing so filled with attitude. Hahah. It’s all about finding the right SOUND of guitar. The guitars that require sweetness, I use my Maton. But for the guitar with attitude… we’re mixing up a bit. I wanted to use my brass resonator in The Finish Line… but after trying it out with the drums behind it, it just doesn’t work. The distinct sound of the brass resonator was to… tinny or trebly or something… and it clashed with the bright rockin’ drum sound. So I used the wooden resonator. Hit the nail on the head. For Pockets I used a rockin’ amp and a 40 year old tele. Mmmmm mmm! We found the sound for that one. Sean came up with some WICKED bass licks to go with the riff. He’s on fire.
Think we had a bit too much fun in the studio. Photographer Kat Hawke, and my singer-songwriter friend Travis came to “hang out” in the studio. And the 4 of us had a creative party. Gosh. It feels like such a privilege. I walked out of the studios to get a cuppa tea, bare foot and smiling, and I saw the office workers in the building, sitting at desks, talking on phones, looking bored and frustrated… and I just think it’s SUCH a privilege for me, us, to be in that studio, bringing these creative pieces to life. Life couldn’t get any better. This has been one of my favourite weeks of my life. Ever.
I thought we’d get all the guitar and bass parts laid down today, but we still have three more to go. The bass parts were EPIC today and took a lot longer to nut out. Even the simplest of bass parts can be tricky to work out on top of my bizarre chord voicings and alternate tunings. Some of my chords seem to “imply” the chord…. Without spelling it out for the bass properly, so we had big discussions about what bass note would work… it seemed like the ones we expected to work just clashed…
Is diversity a problem?
It’s going to be a crazy diverse album. There are atmospheric mellow songs, dirty hard rockin’ blues, country, folk pop…. And everything in between. I love to keep diversity in an album. From a young age I learned that all your songs can’t sound the same. In my teen years, I was into pretty dark depressing and intense music, with a big influence by Silverchair. I was nagged to write “Happy songs”, then to write “Upbeat songs”. Certainly in my cover gigs, people want a great variety. All my life I’ve tried to take on board people’s criticisms, to learn and grow from them all. But the thing is, you can’t please everyone. While some people like rock and upbeat lively tunes, others get off on atmospheric sweet soulful music. Some love country, others can’t stand it. I believe in creating diversity; it mixes things up, keeps things interesting for me and the audience, it keeps me exploring and learning, and hopefully opens people’s minds to different types of music. But I wonder whether too much diversity can be a bad thing. Will it be a shock for some to hear electric guitar, when I’ve only played acoustic solo for years? Will it be a shock people to hear blues and country, when I was folk/pop? I think society/marketing/consumerism needs to label and pigeon hole musical genres in order to define and digest them. Kasey Chambers is country. But if ya listen to her albums, there’s also rock, blues, rockabilly, folk, pop, and more. Will my album be TOO diverse?
I always ached to please everyone, to give them the upbeat happy songs they were looking for, to give them this cover, to give them that cover. But at the end of the day, that ache to please everyone else has just left me feeling lost and disheartened…. When I realised you can’t please everyone. I have had SUCH a ball through the experience of creating this album – we’re only half way. As I said before, I feel like it’s been the best week of my life. My heart and soul are on fire. My mind is racing with excitement and creativity. My song babies voices are growing bigger and brighter. I can wonder what will become of the final product. I have SO much faith in it. SO much. I’m just SO pumped. And then I have that niggling thought “What if my mother doesn’t like this song…. What if it’s too diverse…. What if it doesn’t blend together as an album because it’s so diverse?” And then I realised what I should have realised a long time ago. We will never please everyone. The only person that needs to be proud of this album is me… The only thing that matters is that I am true to me, that I put out an album that I am proud of, and that represents what I do. Already it’s exceeded everything I could have ever imagined. I’m so proud. And we’re half way. This project is becoming the most meaningful, successful moment in all of my music career. It’s not about playing to masses, being rich and famous, being in the charts, winning awards, or being recognised by record labels. To create an album that I am proud of, that represents the music within my soul, is all that I want. Right now my heart is on fire, and I am so pleased with this creation. I can’t wait to share it with you.
One week to go. I’m amped.Hopefully grab some of Kat’s photos to show you soon. Can’t wait for the next sesh!