I’m definitely living my dream. Because it includes beaches and music making. And that’s exactly what happened this holiday season.
I spent a glorious five days at the beach writing and arranging band and string parts (this above pic is my view from my writing space), and surfing, followed by a week in the studio recording EP number 4 – intermixed with a bout of food poisoning Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve.
The previous EP recordings were filled with bundles of nerves, but I was strangely calm and ready for this experience. Most likely because I was working with my favourite producer in the world, 5-time ARIA-winning Paul McKercher (Josh Pyke, Pete Murray, Eskimo Joe, and the list goes on) and my choice of musicians: drummer, Tony Dean (from Emma & the Hungry Truth) and bassist, Nathan Moore (who plays with every band and artist under the sun) and my dear friends and ‘Hungry Truth’ gals Emma Dean and Laura Driver on strings. It was decided earlier that we’d record five songs, but pre-production going so well meant that we were able to record 7 songs, which of course excited me to no end. Set in the serene bushland, complete with critters wild enough to over-excite this little city slicker’s nerves, we visited Airlock Studios in the Samford Valley, north of Brisbane, Australia.
Here is the only portrait of all the dedicated and talented team who helped record this EP – please note I did not play or attempt to play the bagpipes on this recording. That little addition was a momentary lapse of judgement from Tony and/or Nathan.
Some of my favourite memories of recording this EP include:
- The incredibly rich and delicious massive slab of the world’s best vegan brownies generously donated to the team at the studio by Coco Bean Down Under
- The whistle choir comprising of the 6’4” man and the 5’4” lady on the one mic. Doing that without laughing was quite the challenge.
- Experimenting with the ‘full’ use of a piano by plucking the piano strings of the upright honky-tonk piano as pseudo-dulcimer sounds.
- Having live strings played on the EP by a team of stunning string babes – Emma Dean and Laura Driver. Emma Dean had literally come straight from playing Woodford Folk Festival with Kate Miller-Heidke, and had only a few hours to track the violin parts with me. A brutal ‘sun’ storm (yes there was a storm on one side of the studio and a sunny sky on the other) stopped the disco strings parts being recorded as the rain was too loud. We got there in the end.
All of these moments were candidly captured on video and feature on my Facebook page. So if you want to check out this exclusive footage pop over to my Facebook music page and you can watch them there.
There was a very special and emotional performance of my solo track “Song for the Hidden Man” during the recording. We did 3 takes of this track and the last one was the keeper. I was quite emotional at the end which made for a winning performance. We kept and used the whole of that last take, except the last piano note when I hit the popper (the circular mesh thing over the mic used to stop the consonants ‘popping’) with my cans (headphones) which was totally audible in the recording – ahahaha.
Thank you to the warm, encouraging and inspiring people who made this EP recording happen. Paul McKercher, Tony Dean, Nathan Moore, Laura Driver, Emma Dean, Konstantin Kersting. And thank you to the songwriting angels and mermaids who deliver these songs to me via the wind or the waves.
Thank you to my darling Mum for cooking us all dinners, and to Frances Turner from Coco Bean for the amazing slab of vegan brownies donated to the hungry troops.
And finally, I’m so appreciative of the many generous fans and friends who donated to my EP recording fund. Your financial support helped make this project possible. Thank you.
I can’t wait to share more with you all.