Last time I went to the Purple Turtle to see a show, I was not working as a musician and was there as a deeply jealous but zealous fan of Indigo Down.
This time I got to go as a musician surrounded by friends, sharing the evening with an awesome band which was a pretty epic experience.
We started loading in at 5, I was the first Künst there, but hotly followed by Scarlette who plays bass and Danni turned up not too long after.
Jam, our awesome but alarm clock blighted guitarist wasn’t to turn up till about 7 minutes before stage time, but amazingly she got in, rigged, dressed and made up to hit the stage with the rest of us 9pm sharp.
I’d been looking forward to this show for a while, for the self aggrandising reasons that the Purple Turtle has a stage, a front of house system and musican foldback and a decent lighting rig. We got a backstage room which actually fit all 4 of in it every so briefly and there’s a toilet backstage. And there are secret passages and air conditioning trunking, and store rooms and it’s like being a kid exploring a secret space which is actually just the other side of a hedge from a main road but it might as well be another country to your mind. It’s great. I love it.
We punched out 9 songs if memory serves correctly, and the girls who didn’t get to sit down did a great job of using the whole stage volume and taking time to wander over and chat to the poor drummer hemmed in by an array of metal work. I screwed up my fingers with slightly over vigerous smashing of stuff, which is something I need to sort out, we’re doing a lot of shows now and I should be playing more technically than I am doing. Ah well, it’s nice to have things to work on.
We’re chewing through the video footage and should have some online very soon.
We have been making a mini-ep, a couple of mystery tracks which will be being forced into as many ears as we can reach in just a week or two’s time. For my part in the process, read on:
I loaded the drums into the studio at about 6pm on Friday night. A fun game considering that the basement location involves slinging heavy stuff through a street level doorway and lowering them to the basement floor. Mission accomplished with no injuries thanks to the planning and physical strength of the most amazing studio type professional I’ve met in recent years, Felix.
If you’re of the inclination to watch a mildly amusing video of “how to make a drumkit” then click on this:
After a chat about microphones and recording strategy we called it a night and I went home to rest.
In the morning I loaded up some cameras and headed for the studio in time to meet Scarlette and be ready to go for our 11am start. Of course my usual internal mantra of “if you can’t be ontime, be early” got me there for 10:30. I simply had no idea what Saturday traffic would be like, but I got through camden with no hassles. I used the half hour to scribble down song structure incase the inevitable blank brain occurred half way through a take. Turns out you can get lost in your song notes at exactly the same time has having a blank brain anyway so I blew a take or two. Never mind, it’s been a long time since I was in a studio at all, so I couldn’t expect my chops to be free flowing and hassle free really.
Now, my kit. It’s a Gretsch Renown Maple. I stole it from a man on ebay about 2 years ago and for various reasons it’s never seen the light of day, being used for nothing more than a couple of practises in the former drum room at work and storing in a pile in my flat. It needed some love, it’s an amazing kit, it’s a first issue american import and it’s lush. I dropped it in with the the lovely boys at bell percussion who sorted it out a treat with new drumheads all over, astonishingly sound recommendations for heads that would suit the sounds we wanted and a stunning tune. I picked them up on Friday morning and snagged a few emergency supplies which turned out invaluable, specifically the wicked moongel damping pads which got us a great controlled snare sound. Similarly the bassdrum was close to perfection and just took a small towel rolled and nudged against the batter head to get a nice round in your face BLAM out of it.
We opted to rock my own AKG 440 and 450 microphones on toms, and the studio’s sm57a on both sides of the snare, some condensers scattered around cymbals and what I believe was an AKG d12e on the kick. It sounded great out of the gates (not that anything was gated) and should sound WAY killer in the mix down when there’s some eq and compression on them.
I still seem to have the knack of click burying, at least for a few seconds at a time. It’s nice to see and I think I earned the high five I got for click skills. I’m proud of that. Maybe my energy or vibe suffered as a result of click gaming, but time will have to tell on that.
Once the guide tracks were down, we chucked in a few takes of drums and bass and then got on with vocals. Danni’s voice is heart melting and ground shaking. Till now I’ve always been deep in concentration on drum parts and bass lockin and unable to really listen to her go, but she’s amazing, and can double a vocal line like no-one else I’ve worked with. BV’s went in without too much hassle, bass parts went together and the drive seemed to start to come into everything.
Jam stole the show from under everything with some slick riffing and searing leads.
A quick tear down, tidy up and scampering out of the studio, into the cool camden night.
We’re back in for mixing on Thursday and hopefully might have something to show for ourselves shortly afterwards. Wait on, music fans…