2009

forward to 2010

31/dec/09

Well we're at the end of the year when everything grinds to a halt... except for the fact that Dave finally got hold of a tenor guitar.

If you want to hear about this guitar click here. This is currently inspiring all sorts of tunes for young Dave, but as usual... no bloody words!

Oh and of course we have to wish you all a happy new year and we hope we'll see you at a gig near you soon!


18/dec/09

Getting very involved with Boo's new song: 'Where The River Runs Deep', for which we recorded some basic parts, some rough vocals and some harmonies. These were all recorded and re-recorded several times to work out the structure and sounds that we wanted to hear in the song. It is quite novel for us to start recording a tune before it has been gigged and without having a definite idea of how it should sound.

At the moment we have just jettisoned a banjo part and right now it is a guitar only song and may feature Dave using a plectrum for a change...


11/dec/09

This week we recorded a favourite on gigs called 'There Are Days' and I think we've done it justice. Difficult as it depends a lot on atmosphere, which is in short supply without an audience.


Boo has written a new song called 'Where The River Runs Deep', which we are knocking into shape and which hopefully we'll record before we have a chance to knock it out of shape again!


4/dec/09

Reworked the first verse of 'Ill Be With You' to make it into an intro. This track has caused us more trouble than any of the others but we feel it has now achieved a rightful place on the forthcoming album (don't hold your breath!)

I'll Be With You
new intro


27/nov/09

Did a lot of work on 'Making Those Eyes' this week, with the track reaching the end of phase one. Phase one is where we get it as good as we can and it ends up on a CD with the other tracks to see how it affects the running order/ vibe of the current crop... phase two is where we make changes to it after getting over the shock that it doesn't sound half bad.

Phase two was started on 'I'll Be With You' with a drastic reworking of the arrangement, re-recording part of the vocal and the main guitar as well as adding an idea of Boo's which was to record an electric guitar through a noise gate triggered by a hi hat.

Making Those Eyes


22/nov/09

Working on overdubs for 'Some Day' today and as it's got a Spanish feel to it, the percussion may have gone a little over the top with this newly acquired guiro, which seems a bit of a silly instrument unless you're a Latino.

It will probably be erased but the rest will stay. On the mp3 is the song without the main guitar or vocals, just so you can hear the percussion track which at the moment consists of cajon, castanets, shaker and block... oh, and guiro - not to mention the Halle orchestra.

Some Day
percussion track


10/nov/09

Started recording yet another tune yesterday called 'Making Those Eyes'. It's not a new song but it has transformed easily to fit into our current live set and seems to go down well. It also provides a good contrast to the rest of our material, so we thought we'd record it.

Someone once called Boo a 'bad bass playing bitch' (a compliment) and she slipped into that role once again to put down the bass part today.


6/nov/09

We were working on overdubs for 'Stuff' today. Here is an mp3 of all the various bits and bobs that have gone to make up the recording.

Not all these bits are present all the way through the song, but by the end of the track everything we've added is there, and this is a recording of the various parts being unmuted one by one at chorus three.

Bits of Stuff


29/oct/09

Dave recording solo today trying to get a decent take of 'There Are Days' which is a real favourite at gigs and is long overdue for recording.

It only involves a guitar and a vocal at this stage but it also involves a lot of setting up of vocal and guitar reflexion filters which do seem to help the sound a lot by cutting down some unwanted reflections from the walls.

Don't know yet whether a good take was achieved as it's very hard to tell on the day. We'll be listening tomorrow...


23/oct/09

After remixing a couple of tracks over the last 2 days ('I'll Be With You' & 'Don't'), we started recording 'Stuff' with most of the parts you can hear on the mp3 being rough guides and try outs. As with most of our rough parts, a lot of them end up being used in the finished thing as we did them when we weren't trying too hard!

Stuff
demo


20/oct/09

There's a new song in the pipeline called 'I Will Never Win' which we were doing as extra curriculum to our rehearsal for a gig this week. Someone expressed surprise recently that we rehearse for every gig and thought that people just sound better if they are talented... er no, unless you call effort a talent!

Anyway the new song is beginning to come together and could be either of us singing it although at the moment the favourite is Boo. It's a drop D folk song with weird timing and a George Harrison bit of arpeggiating in the middle. Recording to follow...


13/oct/09

We put some finishing touches to 'Glass Half Empty' today. We decided to add a string quartet to this tune and we are very grateful to the local Rathcoole Quartet for helping us out. An unusual song which is classical in flavour and played on a Spanish guitar. Some tiny details were argued over at length today and a monitor mix is now done for our sixth new album track.

Glass Half Empty
monitor mix


6/oct/09

Here is an mp3 of what we have been working on a lot lately: 'I'll Be With You', which sounds radically different to the first version we did back in May. We've got a nice groove going, with cajon and shaker providing the rhythm, some cool guitar sounds... plus loads of backing vocals (have a listen to the middle 8).

We're now fairly happy with this one and are now moving on to 'Glass Half Full', which we recorded a while ago which also sounds pretty good.

I'll Be With You
version 2


15/sept/09

We were working in our new silent environment today (see below). It has got even quieter since any outboard gear making the slightest noise has been banished to a sound-proofed cupboard. However, with our current obsession for eliminating noise, it was a bit daunting to find that we haven't cracked it yet...

We were doing backing vocals on 'I'll Be With You' which was going really well until we soloed the singing tracks and found the driving rain on the window coming through loud and clear! We had to wait for breaks in the weather to be able to continue, but Dave's got plans for building a veranda.


10/sept/09

Work continued on the recording of 'I'll Be With You'... re-doing the cajon part and patching up some of the singing. We're enjoying a new revamped computer free environment to record in now, as a hole has been hacked in the wall at Doghouse Studios (south) which takes the leads out to the machine and keeps the offending noisy computer out of the room. The silence is deafening and it is a bit unnerving to be able to hear yourself think - but what joy!

'Stuff' continues to be rehearsed for the next gig (Covent Garden on the 25th) and is coming together well although it's a hard one and we're going to have to keep plugging away at it for a while yet. Lots of words to remember...


4/sept/09

Lay-offs and illness have kept us out of action for a little while, but have also given us the benefit of some writing time and today we were working on the last lyrics and arrangement for a new tune called 'Stuff'.

The idea has been around for a while, but needed lots of work on the words and particularly the guitar part. We got as far as recording it on minidisc this afternoon to see what it sounds like. You can hear it if you click the mp3...

Stuff
minidisc tryout


18/aug/09

We have been working on the guitar part for 'Glass' and trying out different vocal approaches for the song. We've left it now for a while until we've gigged it with the new arrangement so it's solid when we come to record it.

Today we started a basic recording using a click for 'I'll Be With You', which we abandoned a couple of months ago - not because of any fault of the song, but because our live method wasn't sounding too good.


11/aug/09

Minds have been changed, sounds have been sought, and parts have been recorded to the satisfaction of the most nit-picking. 'Some Day' is now in the can, but not as we knew it three days ago.

Next up is 'Glass Half Empty', which we are working on turning into a song rather than an instrumental with words!


8/aug/09

'Don't' (see below) is now finished and roughly mixed, as is 'London Town' and 'Xmas Carol'. These are now the start of a new album which we are now getting on with in earnest. Other songs ('Serenades & Masquerades', 'Glass Half Full', 'I'll Be With You' and 'There Are Days') are in a state of flux.

Today we were working on a tune called 'Some Day', which is a Spanish sounding song played on Spanish guitar and cajon as the basic track.

There was much bickering about how to treat this song, but eventually we ended up with something which sounded groovy. This is not to say that minds cannot be changed yet again, but there was real hope at the time! Let you know tomorrow...


31/july/09

Boo takes a break today in recording a cajon part for 'Don't'. We started recording this about a year ago but then abandoned it as we couldn't agree on the approach. It's a song with some beautiful changes and I can't believe we've overlooked it for so long!

The track used to feature computerized drums which was the main bone of contention. These have been replaced by real cajon, cabasa and shaker which now make up the basic rhythm track. The main guitar part has also been re-recorded and some vocals patched up and some harmonies added... oh and it's now got a new ending

A fresh approach and a song somewhere near completion for a change!

'Don't'
monitor mix


28/july/09

A lot has been happening... mainly gigs and holidays. Had a great time at a gig near Bolton (left) at the weekend meeting up with some very old friends - and Boo extended her percussionist abilities (happily through headphones!)

We'll be going up north again early next year, so maybe we'll build something up gig-wise then.




On the left is Dave on a summer(?!!) holiday high in the Pyrenees. Luckily his pairoknees were covered that day.

We now have a space when we'll start doing some recording again. A few people were asking about how we were getting on with our recordings, maybe because they read the item below and then... nothing for ages.

Fear not - we're back!


3/jun/09

We are rethinking one or two of the last tunes we have done, as they're not coming out quite right! You need a variation of techniques when you start a recording and we haven't yet found the right approach for 'I'll Be With You'. We also decided to re-do 'Glass Half Empty' as the guitar used on gigs (a steel strung 6 string) sounds infinitely better than the nylon strung Spanish guitar we used on the recording.

You would never know about all this angst if you didn't read this! Hopefully the finished product will sound effortless and natural...


12/may/09

We listened to the songs from the 5th May (see below) and decided we could probably improve on both of them... but not today!

Today we decided to record a different one: 'Ill Be With You', which we want to do like the other new recordings - as live as possible. This one involved Boo singing the lead vocal and playing the cajon at the same time. Dave played 6 string and sang harmony. All this in one go, no overdubs or cheating (well not much!)

Here's a rough mix of what we did today. See what you think...

I'll Be With You
monitor mix


5/may/09

After a gig at Hitchin FC on Sunday (right), we recorded a couple of basic tracks today. The first was 'There Are Days' which is a very sad song sung by Dave and second was a jazz ballad called 'Serenades & Masquerades' also sung by Dave.

The songs are being recorded as live as possible with the aid of our new reflexion filters (see 7th April).. we're now using the instrument version as well as the vocal one. Instrumentation today was Dave on 6 string acoustic guitar and vocal, Boo on electric bass and harmony vocal.

We'll leave the takes to percolate and have another listen with fresh ears later in the week.


10/apr/09

Here we are working on our flamenco as Boo learns how to play the castanets for 'Some Day'.

No bank holiday for us as we work steadily on our recordings and find we have a usable 'Glass Half Full' from a couple of days ago. We add a bass to it today.


7/apr/09

We had a go at using some new toys today, which mean that we can do live recording (i.e. both of us recording at once in the studio) with better results.

Here you can see Dave using a new Neumann TLM 103 mic for his backing vocal and although we've always used a Neumann U87 for the lead vocal, here Boo is using it with a new SE Electronics Reflexion Filter. This gizmo helps isolate the vocal from the room ambience and hence makes the vocal sound a little more distinct - a kind of clip on vocal booth.

We were starting work on a new recording of 'Glass Half Full', which was made up on a Spanish guitar, which funnily enough still sounded the best after trying out all the other guitars in the room!


2/april/09

Today we rehearsed for only our second gig in 2009 this evening... loads of new stuff and new arrangements which are a consequence of not having many gigs. Well what else are we supposed to do?

The process has been more necessary than usual as Dave has been on holiday meeting new friends (see pic) and doing no playing at all... although he has been listening to recordings we've been working on and musing what to do.

So we've been hardening up sea-softened fingers and steely no-nonsense attitudes to be able to cope with the rigours of Orpington Folk Club later on tonight.


5/mar/09

We worked on backing vocals and other parts for 'London Town' today. The version originally played solo by Dave and then added to was deemed the best (see below).

This is continuing in our quest to keep things simple. Not much has been added beyond what we do live... just one or two sounds that we think improve it but hopefully won't alienate the purists. What do you think? Have a listen.. oh and sorry about the shirt.


London Town - monitor mix


21/feb/09

'Some Day' got its castanets... but only a sample I'm afraid (couldn't figure out how to work the handle castanets I've got)

Left is Boo adding a bass to a version of 'London Town' which Dave recorded the previous evening. This was after all day recording live takes together.

We now have 2 very different versions of 'London Town' - but which is better?...we'll listen another day.


19/feb/09

'Some Day' sounded pretty good today, so after one or two little fixes to the basic track we ploughed on and worked on the bass part and added harmonies plus a shaker. We're tempted by castanets for the first time ever (fairly obvious why if you have a listen) but that will probably be it now in an effort to keep things as much like a live performance as possible.

Some Day
some serious recording for a change


17/feb/09

In the absence of gigs at the moment we decided to make a start on some serious recording in the form of 'Some Day', which has a kind of Latin feel. We are trying to adopt a new approach and are experimenting playing as much as possible 'live'. Today that meant Dave on Spanish guitar (it sounds right for this song) and vocal and Boo on cajon on the first pass. Boo then added a bass part. If this all sounds OK on another day, we'll overdub some harmonies then see where that gets us.


27/jan/09

We were dragging out some old songs today, going back to the Reactors days and beyond... anyone remember 'Making Those Eyes'? It could be making a reappearance at a folk gig.

We even went back to the old green 'Album' and there is an outside chance that 'I Have Been Amazed' might get the D&B treatment. It all depends on whether Dave can still play like that!

Making Those Eyes
minidisc rehearsal


22/jan/09

We did our first gig of the year at Twickenham last Sunday (right) which we had to rehearse for quite a bit as we featured three of the old 12 string songs rejigged for the 6 string as well as a new song 'Some Day'. So if you saw us at the Ram about 6 weeks earlier you'd have got an almost completely different set.

Also Boo had to drag her mind back from her holiday in the Bahamas... to Twickenham, which took some doing!

Today we were working on some other new tunes. All we need now is somewhere to play 'em! We have a bit of a dearth of gigs at the moment with folk clubs already booking into next year. Give us a gig someone!

back to 2008