It has been an intense week, or more accurately an intense couple of months, but I have finally released my debut EP. That’s right! There is officially music out there that I wrote for you to listen to. This project has been a long time coming and I’m so happy to finally share it with the world, so I thought I’d share a little of what went into the creation of this EP with you as well.
So, flash back to about five months ago, when I had finally managed to land myself a part time job that could fund time in a recording studio, photography, mastering and all those other costly things that go into taking the ideas in my head and putting them on the internet. Once I had sorted out the admin of finding a studio and arranging a date to begin recording, I got on with deciding on what tracks to include and creating demos. I already had two tracks prepared, Wasting My Time and Stage Lights, but I still needed three more tracks and I had so many songs that I love to choose from. So, I did what any sensible person would do, I talked it over with my mum.
Stage Lights was always going to be the opening track. When I wrote that song, I knew that its release was going to be an important moment for me, cause this song was essentially about me. I also always knew that I wanted Wasting My Time would play out the EP because I love a happy ending and I love that song; it is one of the songs that I am proudest of having written. So, the question was, what should go between them. Somewhere South of Paradise, felt like quite a natural choice for a few reasons. One was that I always had this idea of how I wanted it to sound but I had never been able to realise that vision on my own. The other reason was that this is one of the first songs I ever wrote, when I was only 15 years old, and since writing it so much has changed and I felt like it needed to be on my first release.
The last two tracks came together, because you can’t have one without the other. They were both songs that I had tried to have recorded before and the result was not just disappointing; it actually left me in tears. I didn’t even want to put it up on SoundCloud, cause I didn’t really want people to hear it. But I’d paid for it, so I put them up and vowed that one day I would re-record them. And just like that I was desperately putting together demos for Wear Me Out and Tragic Hero.
Then came the recording itself. I was pretty confident that things would go well with Imogen and James at Esche Haus Audio, because I actually knew James in school and they seemed to really love the songs. So, we began by using the demos as a guide track, which saved a lot of time, and James laid down the drums to three of the tracks. That was when I started to let myself get really excited about this EP. James is a really brilliant drummer. He decided to use the rim of the snare in Wasting My Time in a way that just sounds so playful and energetic, and I never would have thought of that. He could hear a galloping rhythm in Tragic Hero that I couldn’t really hear at first but then, once he was done with the main kit, he added some extra drums to emphasise it and it really added something to the verses that I didn’t know was missing. Side note, he got a bit obsessed with the whole horse thing and has decided that, if I ever make a music video for this song, I have to be riding a horse… or at least a big dog. Not sure the budget will stretch that far.
Once the drums were down, I had the challenge of playing in time, which is a big challenge for any solo artist. It took a couple of days to get all of the acoustic guitar parts done and we finished the first with the brilliant Matt Jones recording the perfect guitar solo for Somewhere South of Paradise. Originally, we’d allocated three days for the recording, but with all the harmony parts I wanted to add it became pretty obvious by the end of recording all the bass parts on the second day that we were gonna need one more day for vocals. That was when disaster struck, on the day that we were supposed to finish the vocals, I got one of those colds that makes you lose your voice. So, naturally I couldn’t sing.
After some mild headless chicken style panicking and a lot of messaging and rearranging, we finally got in to finish the vocals and work on what I wanted for the midi parts on Stage Lights. Now, I could only leave it in James’s hands to finish the mix while I did the not so fun part, the admin, arranging a launch day, a launch gig, sorting posters, hunting down who I would send it to when it was finished.
In the end, I probably did everything a little too quickly, too short notice. I didn’t give myself enough time for uploading to the various online stores. And it turns out you’re supposed to e emailing all kinds of radio people and blogs about a month before you release. But, honestly, I was impatient. I wanted to have something out there, that people could listen to. So here it is, my little EP. And I am proud of it. I enjoyed every second of recording this EP and I could not have found anyone better to do it with than amazing people at Esche Haus Audio. They were genuinely passionate about realising my vision. Now I just have to become better known so that more people will hear the next one.