The mix has come together and, to my ears, it's beginning to sound pretty special. (Ask me next week and I'll probably hate it again.) And it does make me, yet again, appreciate the luxury we have at The Boatshed Studio of taking our time if we want.
Some of our albums are made very quickly, like the last one, It All Comes Round. Others, particularly the Dylan tribute In The Well took months of tweaking. This is one of those and it's a real pleasure being able to make up your mind on things at your own pace.
At the moment Sonia's just adding a couple of final trumpet parts and we've got a few more backing vocals to go on but, simultaneously, everyone is reviewing their parts to see if there's anything they'd like to replay or add. Particularly this time around we've been doing a final pass over each song to see if a little extra percussion here and there will accentuate the dynamics. It's a luxury you don't normally get in the frantic (and expensive) business of recording.
One little thing struck me recently as emblematic of how things are at The Boatshed.
Nigel and I are both pretty much self-taught at this stuff and operate largely in isolation. This has meant that we've developed a number of somewhat quirky techniques and do some things a little differently from the norm. Which is cool with us. But it also means there are some things that we don't do, or even know about.
A few weeks back I read about a “new” technique that the engineers at Abbey Road developed at the request of the Beatles. It sounded just the thing for a couple of songs on the album. So I figured out a way to replicate the effect digitally (we no longer have the fantastic old analogue gear that they were using back in the day). Then I spend several days trying it out, on the singing, on the harmonica, anywhere I could. And...
...and just before last weekend I finally cut the last remaining trace of it. It only lasted on the harp for a couple of days but I stuck with it in various forms on the vocals for several mixes. And I still think it really should have worked. But, whatever I did, I eventually had to accept that it sounded like complete crap.
And that's the Boatshed in a nutshell. We'll try anything. I find something very funny in the fact that our new pioneering effect this month was 50 years old and didn't work anyway. What the hell. We're not leaving any stones unturned here and everything we discover with Kokomo we can use on production for other bands that come through the studio.
The next song from Bigger Than Brando will be unleashed on the world at the start of May. It's ready now and is sounding great – can't wait!