Suddenly there is a benefit to working in Northampton ! The Fierce And The Dead have been in the recording studio since Friday, and the recording studio just happens to be Far Heath Recording Studios in Guilsborough, and Guilsborough just happens to be about 8 miles from where I work, and I just happened to spend my lunch hour with them so that I could report back to you lucky people.
I had spoken with Matt Stevens at Celebr8.2 inbetween his solo acoustic set and his set with Andy Tillison of The Tangent (and I will be publishing a blog review of both sets very soon, so look out for that), and he had told me that they were struggling to get a phone signal in the studio so I should just turn up and knock on the door. He assured me that the postcode would be good enough for my satnav, which was reassuring because the rest of the address is basically ‘Guilsborough’. As it turned out he was right, I just did not know it. It was an easy drive from my office and I had an idea of where I would end up, but when the satnav announced that I had arrived as I reached the end of a driveway I was not convinced because there was no sign for the recording studio, so I drove on to the next junction. I had not seen anything else which looked like a recording studio so I turned around and came back to go down the driveway, passing a shed and a greenhouse while I became more and more convinced that I was driving down to someone’s house.
I got to the bottom of the driveway and although I saw an Apple laptop through a window I was still not convinced, and was about to drive away when I saw a copy of Mixing Magazine on a window sill. I had decided that was enough of a sign to prompt me to get out and knock on a door to make enquiries when suddenly someone I thought I recognised appeared at a door (it turned out to be Stuart Marshall), and as I was explaining to him that I was trying to find…and looking on my phone to find the name of the recording studio…Steven Cleaton appeared at the door and I recognised him from being with Matt at Celebr8.2 and said “you !” – so I was at the right place. What a relief.
Introductions were made and they invited me in with the promise of a cup of tea, and told me they were really enjoying the studio, which is equipped with top class (and expensive) equipment and they mentioned that the drum sound is amazing. I know nothing about recording an album but this would appear to be a very important aspect as it was the one thing they each made a point of saying to me. They were there on a residential basis, had been getting to bed before midnight (and Stuart was actually going to be taking home ten cans of the beer he had brought with him), had finished all the drum recording, had laid down all the bass parts yesterday, were doing the guitar parts today, and really had made excellent progress, having recorded 9 tracks over the weekend.
When I arrived Matt was in the console part of the complex recording some of his guitar parts, with Kevin Feazey at the console,
and it sounded very interesting even from out in the entrance hall and kitchen area. At one point Steven thought it sounded like Matt was using a graphite guitar they had been lent for these sessions. I went through to see the operational part of the studio once Matt had finished and Kev told me that he, Stuart and Steve had used this studio in the 1990s when they were in another band, but it had clearly been upgraded and refurbished since then. There was the console room and then a live room where they had the amps set up, and where they had set up the drums for recording. Kev said that the location also made a big difference, being out in the countryside and having a relaxed air to it, making it an inspiring working environment.
This was all good to hear from a Bad Elephant Music point of view, because we do want to keep the talent happy !
And then I was lucky enough to be allowed to listen to the recording of I Like It, I’m Into It, and I have to say it sounds brilliant. If you already have If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe or On VHS then you will love it, and if you do not already own them then this will be a great introduction to TFATD for you. Matt and Steve talked about how laying down the guitar parts was a matter one of them recording while the other took the opportunity to enjoy a Pot Noodle, in a guitar Pot Noodle guitar Pot Noodle relay, so while Matt went to make himself a Pot Noodle, and just as I was leaving, Steve continued with the recording of his guitar parts for Fact. Oh, that sounds really good as well.
My thanks to all of The Fierce And The Dead for letting me get in the way !