….they materialised from somewhere deep in that nebulous no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
It’s over two years since I experienced that curious mix of planning, luck, creativity and unbearable stress a.k.a Recording An Album at Home, and I’m about to do it again.
Time was, I’d go in a “real” studio with loads of gear and a massive clock on the wall, hoping we wouldn’t run into extra time. In a way, that got results. With a low budget indie label, there was a vanishingly small chance of redoing anything that wasn’t up to scratch, plus there’s nothing like a deadline to focus your performance.
Recording “Ready for Anything” by Kathy X (Studio X Olstyn, Poland 2004) – had to concentrate VERY hard!
the desk was THIS big… according to our top-notch engineer Martin K
The 13-track Kathy X album took 5 days to record AND produce, and it still sounds good. Fast forward to now. I’m fortunate enough to be LIVING in a well-equipped home studio with my favourite bassist Mr Rob Raw – who also does audio-engineering. Yet it’ll be May earliest before the New Album – with a similar number of tracks – is born. Why the time difference? The songs are no more complex. Five chords will still be the height of sophistication. It’s something like this:
A band is more than its members. As a band, the members of Kathy X squabbled and argued and rarely rehearsed longer than 60 minutes a month, but we pulled the rabbit out of the hat when it came to doing shows and putting down tracks. They all had that “band stamp”. As a solo artist, recording with guest musicians who’ve rarely if ever played those songs live with me, it’s a different deal. Less arguing ….. less chemistry. The onus is more on ME to work the magic, which takes time. Without going into technical details… it’s akin to putting on make-up for hours to finally achieve the natural look.
Logistics. I have up to three projects on the go at any given time, and so does Mr Rob Raw. It takes about two hours for me to get in the right headspace to record a single track, him up to two hours to get the sounds perfect before recording it, and between ten minutes and three hours to actually record it. Multiply that by all the tracks on all the songs, add production and mastering time, divide that by the amount of time we are both at home at the same time, subtract a few hours for not having to travel, add them back on for answering the phone and emptying the washing machine….and you’ll be confused.
Anyway it’s more than five days.
Decisions…. About artwork. About promotion. About pressing of physical copies. About all kinds of stuff that used to be decided by someone else or communally is now up to me, which is both liberating and a pain in the arse.
But it’ll all be worth it…so watch this space!
Studio 88 Special Effects Department
Kathy Freeman Songs: BANDCAMP
More about Kathy Freeman at KATHY-FREEMAN.DE