Yet again me and Will arrive at the studio at 10am. Yes, Will has his trusty cafetière with him, and yet again we’re heavily armed with guitars. This will be our second session without Dempsey and Joel. Joel has recorded his drums so he doesn’t need to attend for a while. We will need him in later sessions to record some accordion and piano. Dempsey is away on holiday. So it’s a great opportunity for me and Will to work on the more acoustic type numbers on the album. I’m pleased because when it’s just us two we tend to work really well together. I’ve mentioned it before about how Will has such a calm considered aura around him and we tend to just discuss and work ideas out in a relatively stress free manner. When Dempsey is in the vicinity I instantly feel anxious. It’s a little bit like sibling rivalry. We have this incredible ability to wind each other up. So I always feel much calmer when he’s out of the way. Our plan for today is to record the meat and bones of the four acoustic based tracks so we can get them across the Atlantic for Wills friend to record some trumpets for us.
We start the day in the same vein as the previous session. Grant starts work on editing some of Joel’s drums on a track called ‘Lake of Fire’. Will had previously recorded some guide demo guitar for this track. The lick he is playing will likely end up being played on the mandolin but for now it’s a distorted guitar sound. I joke with him that it reminds me of 80’s hair metallers Skidrow. Will and Grant both initially appear astonished but then hear what I hear and burst out laughing. Wills astonishments turns to borderline embarrassment. Grant capitalises on this and starts singing over the top of the riff in an 80’s cock rock manner. We all fall about laughing. I uploaded a clip to Instagram. We’ve only been in the room 15 minutes. Great start to the day. Such high spirits.
We settle down as Grant works on the track. I nip to the shop for some breakfast and Will is reading ‘Man in the High Castle’ by Phillip Dick. When I return I quietly start writing. I’m looking at writing some extensive liner notes for this album. Telling some extra stories to go with the songs. Today I’m writing about an old work friend called Mick McCool. I’ve written a song about him and I keep getting lost in some wonderful memories.
Grant is pleased to have finished the drums on ‘Lake of Fire’ we think that’s them out of the way now. Let’s get onto the good stuff. Mi Corazon Part 1 is the first song on the table today. I start by recording the bass guitar. It’s a complexed little riff. Me and Will spend a fair while discussing one of the notes in the sequence. We can’t decide wether the bass should play a G# or an A. Both work but convey different moods. The G# would create a cool minor dischord. While the A is the natural option. We agree that I will play the A. Will then claims the G# as part of his solo. After recording the bass Will busts out his Gretsch to lay down some long striking chords. It’s haunting. It’s then my turn to record the acoustic rhythm and some lead guitar. It’s rare that I get to do the licks.
We break for lunch and I take a walk up to Tesco to grab a sandwich, some cashew nuts, and sunflower seeds. After lunch we start work on ‘The End of the World’ now this is the most complexed Yallas song we’ve ever worked on. Once again the Gretsch is out. Grant is happy with my piano playing. We might get Joel to play it later though but for now it works. I record the bass and some acoustic guitar. We scratch our heads and discuss how we’re going to tackle this song. Me and Will want to throw everything at it. Guitars, Drums, Trumpets, Violins, Operatic vocals, layers of atmosphere, we even want to record the sound of the amp just humming. Everything is being considered. We want to record the sound at the end of the world. Grant keeps having to pull me back when I play this song. I keep losing myself in it and get too aggressive towards the end. Eventually I manage to record a take whilst keeping my cool. Will records some beautiful guitar parts. We’ve genuinely never written anything like this. The epic last song.
We finish the session by backing up all the files. We prepare the files we need to send to Chicago. I’m pleased with today. Another hugely productive day. We’re set up and raring to go now. Up next is the punk songs. The next session is a spell of 5 consecutive days the first of which is Dempsey’s day. Followed by me and Will. First though I’m going to head to Amsterdam to finish up the lyrics. I think they’re done but it would be nice if I could improve them further.