Steve and I met Billy at Robinwood Studios in Todmorden. Steve had forgotten his bag so it was Billy and I left to set up. I say we, but Billy did all of the setting up, I just tuned up and got ready with my bass. It was nice to have a chat with Billy, we talked about music and film and other projects we are immersed in. It is great to be around such creative people, who have active projects. I get really enthused when I hear how somebody else is getting on. It forms a sort of band of brothers/sisters type thing, all pitching in, all collaborating, all positive.
In the winter the studio is freezing. At one point Steve shouted “It’s warmer outside Billy” which made me chuckle. I was ok, in the live room I was surrounded by a wall of radiators which kept me warm. But in the control room, where Steve and Billy were, the cold made you feel like you were on an expedition to Antarctica.
So we got the sound levels right, Steve and Billy put the backing tracks on and away I went. One rehearsal and one take seemed to be the pattern. Growing in confidence I was on a roll nailing all these complex parts. The work I had put in had really been beneficial here. Steve and Billy seemed to be really impressed with my professional attitude.
We finished the parts for today on “Throwing The Switch” and Steve asked me to lay some bass on a song he recently been mixing called “Into It”, I was happy to. I heard the song a few times during the week as Steve had uploaded a rough mix onto his soundcloud page. I didn’t know the notes so I worked it out in a few minutes and we recorded the parts he wanted.
This didn’t go as well. Steve wanted this slap bass part to be recorded. He wanted me to go with the flow and improvise some licks. In University and Music College I was a very instinctive player. I loved Jazz and improvisation and loved to come up with lines on the fly. In my more recent music projects my parts have been written out for me to sit with the rest of the composition. It is so unusual to realise that my approach to the instrument has changed. I haven’t improvised for so long that it felt a bit alien to me.
It took a lot of guidance from Billy and Steve to get me through this and I did something they were really happy with in about 6 or 7 takes. I was so disappointed with myself. I had a bit of lull in confidence. I have always set myself high standards on my instrument, being professional, learning my parts, being technically sound. But this annoyed me, it wasn’t up to my very high standards. Maybe I am being to hard on myself, because Steve and Billy thought the part sat well in the track. We’ll just have to see if it makes the final edit on the album.