I suppose recording my music in the early years was literally underground ; recording in the basements of Prague apartment buildings with a few blankets on the walls to damp the sound and no drums after eight so as not to upset the pensioner on the second floor with a bad heart brought some lessons in sonic possibilities. Certainly, I always think of the big advance supposed to arrive from the British label for my early recordings when I get the winter electricity bill and It entertains me.
A song like Loaded Gun took me a year to write as an 18 year old so when I heard the U2 song Cedarwood Road, I was a bit disgruntled given they received millions of dollars from Apple for giving that particular song up for download; but again with the internet it is difficult to exert much control on music and indeed alternatively the internet allows someone like me a loud voice because the mainstream don't want to acknowledge everyone in the club especially if you were a few inches taller than everyone.
If you have just joined the mailing list welcome and I hope you are enjoying the music. I am just dropping a line to talk down to you about many social issues and then try to make you feel guilty about a bird the fannyfecker close to dying out and then to pontificate on the ramifications of Brexit? Okay! Overload !, I am writing to say I am putting a song up for download Starting To Be. Phew!
The night I recorded Flame and the Final Confession Talking Blues, I attempted a version of Starting To Be; but like many songwriters on occasions I wasn't quite certain of the original arrangement so I added some vocal improvisation, a lot of ba ba s and a few extra shalla las but years spent playing for non English audiences thought me the value of looking like you know what you are doing when you don't. That also applied to me as an English teacher early on give them an essay to write so you can figure what to do. The finished version of this song is 4 minutes whereas I believe the version we recorded in Prague in 2014 with Chris Dunkley Clarke and Rene Starhon was closer to 3.
This was recorded using a similar microphone a Neumann and set up to what I used for my first basement recordings in the Czech Republic in 02 and the more I focused on what worked in previous recording sessions, the better results I got as the years went on as a recording artist.
Normally it helps to have someone else positioning mics when recording; but I remember this night just sitting down and dragging everything in place myself and trying not to move because the more you move, the more the sound changes especially if you are singing. For the new songs I would use two mics for a guitar sound, one positioned a few inches off the soundhole and one a few inches off the 12th fret which means I get two wav files; a left hand image and a right hand image of the sound and a separate wav of my vocal track from the vocal mic. These days you can download Reaper software online and start editing wav files immediately and become a bedroom producer.
I suppose having to study music formally meant I had to learn how to use all the computer software, but I also looked back to the past of popular music to try and create 6 or 7 classic songs and i used something like slapback delay on some of the new vocals an effect which a lot of the music from the sixties did.
The music I wrote during those years often came from the world around me, my friend Clare was driving one day and asked me “have I gone into the wrong lane?”I replied yeah and she replied “I have lived my life in the wrong lane,” hopefully Clare's lawyers won't be in touch looking for the publishing royalties from Life in the wrong lane.
Feel free to drop me a line and I hope you are enjoying the new music wherever you are in the world.