September 2016 Studio Diary Day 3

Last day in our block of three at Greenmount Studios. Prior to the session, all i’d expected to get out of it was two new songs and to finish off Arc. But bar some vocals, we’d got three whole songs down, which is pretty damn cool considering none of the songs were really written.

So the morning was spent getting the vocals down on Arc. First of all, we cut about two minutes off the start of the song. Originally I’d thought it would have this long section making use of my drum machine, in a similar vein to Rocket Take Your Turn but on the long reflection since we tracked this back in February, I surmised this made it too long, and I didn’t have enough words to fill the space. Plus, with thoughts of a vinyl album at some point, time is money people.

As soon as that was cut, it felt better. I was set to write a new piano based intro, but four hits of a drum machine kick drum and we are good.

Given that the whole verse is based around a G chord over and over again, it isn’t the most melodic of verses, but the flow and style followed that of what had been attempted in Becoming Dust. Flat and monotonous and following the track of recent songs by letting the music carry the emotion, and I be a cold conduit of meaning, in the middle.

It took a while. Lee wanted me to be more robotic and weirdly this made me slip into a much more Wakefield accent, probably because I was getting closer to speaking. Speaking in tune is quite hard.


The second half, which was properly written at least 18 months prior and has a proper tune was achieved much quicker. This section was written as a duet. In yet another nod to Arab Strap, I could imagine a female Scottish vocal working there, ala their Mad For Sadness live album. Though given my heritage, an earthy Wakefield tone may be as alluring to outsiders as Scottish is to me.

We had a chat about potential candidates. I don’t know how you know who is good for this kind of thing. Do they have to match my voice? Do only certain voices work together?

With a final chorus section slotted in, we have a finished track (bar mixing, but we do that as we go) with me singing both the parts. Which would be fine, I doubt anyone would ever think it should be a duet. But before the next sessions in October, it’s something to look into.

With that in the bag, we had Fish & Chips for lunch, then felt full and useless. With half a day left, we didn’t want to start something new, nor did mixing for the sake of it seem worthwhile. I felt I needed time away from the songs for a while to see what was required. So we went to the pub.

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