Gradually is the first song taken from my upcoming solo album Fever Dream. Shot on the backstreets of Hackney and Islington, the video is directed by new young Welsh director, John Jeanes.
News — In Full
I've spent ten days at the wonderful RAK Studios in London over the past month laying down the music for my new album - the follow-up to 2013's Hendra. It is a great space to record in. Built by Mickie Most in the mid-seventies, much of the original equipment is still in use, and is looked after by a team of dedicated technicians. The place has a relaxed family vibe. We used one of the old API consoles in Studio 2 (pictured) and the recording room has an instant warm immediate sound, punchy and clean. The room design - soft wood panelling, narrow fluorescent strips, mirrors, curtains - reminds of the great LA studios like Oceanway and Sunset Sound where I worked in 1989.
Working with Bruno Ellingham as engineer, we tried to lay down as much of the album as we could in one go, with the band - me on guitar or piano, Bernard Butler on electric guitar, Rex Horan on double bass and Martin Ditcham on drums - all performing together. The room is compact. Sounds can be isolated up to a point but some inevitably bleeds and leaks onto microphones intended for other purposes, but as the sound of the room - the natural reverberation of the space - is so nice it all acts like a kind of glue.
The room overlooks the street at ground level. With the curtains slightly open you can watch people going by, deliveries, dog-walkers. The effect is oddly relaxing and stopped the atmosphere from getting too hermitic. I sang one lead vocal watching evening rain come down, headlights approaching, no one on the pavements.
Upstairs in the control room, the music comes back through the console with a real immediacy. It feels like a short signal chain from instrument to ears.
Bernard played a lot of the album on his new Gibson ES-295, the guitar made famous by Scotty Moore. I moved between electrics (1959 Gretsch Single Anniversary, 1972 Fender Thinline) and my acoustics (1973 Guild F50, 1993 Guild D4 12-string). I also played my metal 2009 National Reso-phonic. We also used the studio’s own Yamaha grand piano and my Wurlitzer EP200a electric piano. This week Jim Watson dropped by and we sneaked into Studio 3 for an hour and recorded him playing the room’s Hammond organ on a couple of tracks, and last weekend I used my own place (Northern Heights) to programme and lay down some extra atmospheric textural synth stuff using my old Juno 106.
I’ve got a few days off now while Bruno gathers all the recordings together ready for mixing, which will take place at his own studio down in Bristol. We also have a few last overdubs to do in London. Exciting times. The album is set for a spring 2016 release. More soon.
I'm excited to announce I have a bunch of new songs and have been in rehearsal these past couple of weeks with my band. We starting recording the follow-up to Hendra on Monday. Bernard Butler is back on lead guitar. Martin Ditcham is playing drums. And new recruit, Rex Horan (Laura Marling, Neil Cowley Trio) is on bass. I'm hoping to involve others along the way too.
I'm excited to announce my ‘Hendra' follow-up is written. Rehearsals begin in 3 wks. We start recording in mid-September, and I am planning a spring 2016 release. Bernard Butler is back on board, and I've invited ace Australian bassist, Rex Horan (Laura Marling, Neil Cowley Trio) along for the ride. Fired up!
Following the success of 2014's Romany and Tom, I was invited by Audible to read my debut memoir Patient (1996) as an audiobook. It is out now both on Audible's US and UK sites. It was strange revisiting the book. It was a traumatic time but I forgot how much humour I'd injected into the book too. I hope you like it.