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Album Nearing Completion: The Recording Process Part 1

Almost a year after Tom Bell first pushed record in a cold basement studio on Dowling studio, I’m pleased to say that my debut album “Mud” is almost ready to be printed. It’s been a long journey getting here but I’m very pleased with the results. It’s been a big learning process for me. Recording an album from your own pocket means calling in favours from friends, grabbing recording time when it’s possible and generally inching towards a finished product over many months.

We started almost a year ago, in a condemned basement studio in Dunedin’s Dowling street. The core group for the rhythm sections consisted of Bob Scott, better known for his work with the Bats and the Clean, and Rob Falconer, whose epic drumming underpins Operation Rolling Thunder. We were recording in the old television studio where much of New Zealand’s television was once created. Playschool was made here for many years. The weekend we had available to us to record was the last weekend of the studio’s existence – it was due to be deconstructed to form the entrance way to a carpark. All of the cladding had been ripped from the walls, exposing the stonework that formed the structure of Garrison Hall. A trailer full of insulating batts sat in the centre of the room and a cold draught crept in from the street.

Over a single day, we laid down the rhythm tracks in there – with me often teaching Rob and Bob the songs as we recorded them. They did an incredible job and nailed most of the tracks in a few takes or less. I remember finishing the day feeling intensely satisfied – at last my dream of recording an album was underway!

Listening to the mixes of the album now, I am impressed by the muscular precision of the bass and drums, which have really formed a solid foundation for the overdubbing work Tom and I have done since. One of the great privileges of working in Dunedin is to be able to work with artists of the calibre of Bob Scott and Rob Falconer.

Bill

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