Day 1: Making I Used To Be Sad & Then I Forgot

… and we’re in. First guitars for 9 out of 10 tracks are down already & sounding lovely. This is an acoustic guitar album, so this is an important foundation. I’ve heard some delicious warm wood tones coming from the monitors. Andy is a demon with a mouse, knows exactly where to place impenetrable metal objects & hang them all together with wires. It’s an archaic & esoteric skill, compressing, limiting, reverb, delay, EQ & channels & stuff. Thankfully, Andy just makes all that stuff happen so you can get on with playing.

Josienne is a sharp pointy stick with lovely soft edges; as the producer, she’s there to keep focus, get the result we discussed, keep the musical considerations of the songs front & centre, make decisions on direction, offer arrangement & technique support, throw in ideas if I’m fucking up, do it for me if I can’t, explain what I can’t to Andy, get it to sound right, be the energy in the room. It’s a role I wasn’t always sure I understood, but it all made sense to me like an earthquake during the tornado of the ‘In All Weather’ sessions.

I won’t forget her directing Dave Hamblett’s drums in the chorus of ‘If I Didn’t Mind’ from a shambolic & clever but complicated tangle into a strange & powerful pulsing drive with a flaw in the heart of the engine. There were a million other examples. It was a beautiful experience and she’s already taken a song of mine, entitled ‘Leaves’, which is so complicated, I can’t even play it properly it turns out, and has already made it sound like a beautiful epic.

Here’s a few snaps that JC took from the control room today.

Tomorrow, we start vocals. Think about that for a second. I’m gonna sing, in a studio, with Josienne Clarke in the next room, listening to every flaw.

Think of me…

Shooting The Ashen

I spent a day with Andi in London a few weeks back. We met on Twitter, ah, bless the modern world, and he threw me a little cash to do some press shots & artwork for his new record.

I used my Canon 60d with a 50mm f1.2 L, an 18-135mm & my trusty AE-1 35mm with Kodak Portra 400. Andi was really clear about what he wanted ahead of the shoot and comfortable around the camera and with himself on the day. He genuinely appreciated & understood my work, which was lovely to find. This combination made everything easy, a purely artistic endeavour & my favourite kind of shoot. I put him in lots of different situations, including a handful of pretty uncomfortable ones, in tube stations, in front of crowds, standing in puddles of piss in dripping underpasses, and he always delivered. He gave me a real sense of his art in every situation, expressing himself in a clear and honest way. I had considered his brief, examples and music when planning locations, but the truth was that we could’ve done this shoot on his front lawn and got the same results, because the important elements of these photos came straight from him & his demeanour, his thousand stories, his meticulous, considered approach, his sense of humour and his awesome jacket. He’s had a full on life, he knows how to tell it and you can see it written into his face

It was a pleasure to work with an artist of his calibre and I hope this won’t be the last time our paths cross – visit his bandcamp to check out his music.