Saturday, June 02, 2007

Out of the studio and back to the real world...

Well, that was....great! Three long days of work with the musicians in the studio. They were amazing: creative, hard working, inventive... they rocked! (ok...sometimes they rocked too much) I'm completely wiped. We got thirteen tracks down and now I have a week to work with the music and then in a week I'll go back and do the vocal retakes. Remi Amblard on piano and synth, Theirry Tardieu on percussion, Tommaso Montangani on Bass and Benoit Gil on guitar. And me, the singer, although really the last three days were about getting the musical tracks down...the word for what I was doing 'voix temoin' - the witness voice. I like the term...and to be honest by the last takes on friday afternoon that really, really, really was what I was doing. After three days of organizing, motivating, heading off confrontations, trying to pull out the best ideas and sidetrack the less good, I was on my last legs. I kept thinking 'Just keep singing something and get these beautiful tracks down on tape, and you come back and do it all again after a week of sleep". The Magic of electronic recording!

We did most of the tracks in the first two days and the last day was given over to a lot of retakes and drop-ins at places where the take as a whole was good but one person had screwed up or didn't like their work. Max - the engineer who runs Bopcity- would wind the track back, mute that particular instrument and then the player would just overdub what he'd done before. All the takes happened pretty quickly, there was only one piece that we couldn't get right and had to do about seven takes. I think some of the best ones happened with two or three takes. For the version of version of Heaven we did, we suddenly decided to throw away the arrangement from the rehearsal hall and do something completely different. The new version was put together in fifteen minutes and then we did three takes and I think it's kind of beautiful...

What surprised me was how much like theatre direction it was. I guess that's 'cause I'm producer and singer. All the issues of dealing with personalities, (i.e. -one person works best after about ten cups of coffee and another wants to get straight to work, or somebody else has a great idea they love and somebody thinks that idea is crap and a discussion starts which could well take up half the morning etc etc) and motivating people, scheduling, dealing with problems fell onto my shoulders as well. It was great fun to be part of this process but I'll also be glad to be in the studio alone next week with just the music and my voice.

The final mixes should be done by the 15th of June... I'll put them up on myspace then, meanwhile I might throw a few of the rehearsal takes up there.

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