When you go to a recording studio to capture a song for inclusion on an album or maybe a single, there is usually a sense of tension about the place. But you always know in the back of your mind that if you make an error or play a wrong note, you can all stop and start a new take without too much trouble (except perhaps a stern look and a telling off from Dan H!). On Thursday night that safety net was removed as we gathered on the first floor of The Riflemakers analog studio to cut a couple of tracks directly to vinyl, just like they used to do in the first part of the 20th Century. The pressure was on!
Large pictures of ancient looking recording equipment adorn the walls and as I mention I’ve arrived for a Skinny Lister session, a girl who is busily chatting on the phone while shutting up shop for the night shows me through a door and points me up some old looking wooden stairs. The thick smell of paint or some sort of varnish hangs in the air, it felt like I was walking into the past.
Max and Daniel G were getting their tools prepared for the job at hand. The room was small, filled with old fashioned looking recording equipment and microphones, the largest one looked like an old Ribbon mic just like the ones they used to use at the BBC when they still spoke the Queens English and there was only one channel on TV for entertainment.
Making himself busy amongst the tangle of wires and strange looking boxes was Lewis, the chap who makes it all work.
Once we’d all tuned up it was time to work out positions in which to stand and place the three mics in exact locations between the band so as to capture the best sound possible in one take. We practiced while Lewis moved us and the mics back and forth until he was satisfied the sound was right. Then it was time.
After a problem with the machine was ironed out, we cut a take of Trawler Man and then on the B side we knocked out a rollicking version of John Kanaka. Once we’ve digitized the final record we will upload for all to hear. In the mean time enjoy the pics and watch out for a little movie of the session coming soon.