Monthly Archives: April 2015

Arranging a Pedal Steel Player

After originally receiving interest from my intended pedal steel player Lynn Blakeston, I was unfortunately unable to get any contact from him. This was dissapointing as he had originally seemed keen and I was very much looking forward to pedal steel as I am captivated by the instrument. However I made sure I addressed the issue early with my project tutor Bryan Rudd and he was able to recommend another Pedal Steel Player who he put me in contact with.

This man was Dave Holley. We exchanged emails, songs, pricing etc and agreed to record on the Friday 1st May.

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I was delighted to secure a pedal steel player and I can’t wait to see and record Dave in person!

Accordion Recording: Darran Walster

I was extremely excited to record Darran Walster on the 26th April as I really felt the accordion would provide an extra dimension to my songs. Darran brought his son along who was able to take some great pictures for us. I had arrived at the studio early to set up the microphones and after reading up on the accordion I discovered that the sound is produced from the bellows so I set up two AKG 414’s to capture this sound in stereo. The session ran in very much the same way as the violin session did and this time, everything was in key! Before we started I managed to get Darran to sign my musician waiver form.


After setting up I put on a pair of headphones and monitored the sound from each microphone moving them around appropriately to get the best sound whilst ensuring they both remained a similar distance away from the instrument to reduce phase. After doing so I checked the phase invert button on the desk and there were no such issues.


We began with Mason-Dixon Line and I started by showing Darran the track as it sounded so far. He had already played and rehearsed with the demo version but this helped refresh his memory.


After a few run throughs in the control room I described specific parts I liked and subtle chord changes that would be nice. We were ready to record.


Darran did a great job of Mason-Dixon Line and I was extremely pleased with how the recording went. The accordion shall only really be used as another texture for the song so we had it covered in just a few takes.


We then moved on to the more difficult Wind In Our Sails.


We spent a lot of time running through the chord changes, specifically in the breakdown as this was the most challenging area.


To Darrans credit he was able to pick up on the changes very quickly and I was extremely impressed as some of the chords were extremely complicated. So much so I had to research the exact names of them before the session!


After these run throughs we were able to record a few great takes which provided more than enough music for me to edit and mould into the track. As stated on a previous post the track would include inflexions of many different instruments so to have the freedom to automate the accordion in and out of the mix was great.


I set the chords up for Darran to easily read as he was playing.


It was a really enjoyable productive session and I was pleased Darran could be a part of it. I think I also managed to teach his son a few things about the studio so I really enjoyed the fact I could pass on my knowledge as well as learning at the same time.

Here is the recording sheet for this session:


Purchasing CD Making Equipment

I wanted to give my work a professional touch and replicate the process as true to the ‘real’ world as possible, treating the project as if I was actually releasing the cds on the hand in date in true ‘bedroom producer’ fashion. This involved purchasing blank cds, blank cd cases. Cd labels and cd case inserts. To achieve this final product I made sure my designer followed the process correctly by ensuring that the final design would fit nicely into the cd cases and stating the specific dimensions needed. Fortunately I had planned ahead and asked my illustrator for a high resolution image so it could be resized appropriately.

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I purchased basic cd making equipment from amazon and plan to print them off at a friends house as the library don’t let you change their paper!

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I would have liked to have made a supplementary booklet for the insert with song lyrics and pictures of the production process, along with a long list of contributors with acknowledgements and thanks. However this was something I couldn’t make myself and I decided my time was better focused on the songs themselves. By making the cds myself I was cutting costs and could therefore afford to use and pay more session musicians to work on my tracks which will enhance my EP in terms of creativity and credibility.

Vocal Recording: Mason-Dixon Line and Wind In Our Sails

I recorded the vocals for both of these songs on 21st April. I followed the same protocol that I had practiced in my previous sessions. I used the Neumann U87 to record and used the same comping techniques I had applied earlier. I set up the microphone with the reflexion filter, pop shield and ‘cordoned’ off the vocal recording area to create an environment equivalent to a vocal booth.

Here are some pictures from the session.



Here is the session sheet for this recording:


Finding an Illustrator

Following on from my first contact with my designer I realised I would have to scout out my own artwork to fulfil my role as artist and repertoire. I started by researching on photosharing and design websites such as tumblr and redbubble but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I then remembered an endearing illustration from an artist that had been featured on the main page about a year or two ago and had been stuck in my mind ever since. I typed the keywords into the redbubble search engine and low and behold I found the design.

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Even though it was originally designed for a t-shirt I knew I desperately wanted it for my artwork and I took the perspective of if you don’t ask you don’t get, and it couldn’t hurt to attempt to approach the illustrator. I searched her name in google and found her design website, I found the design I was looking for and managed to obtain her contact information.

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I sent an email informing her of my plans for the project and how I really loved the artwork and desperately wanted to use it. She replied and said I would be able to use it! I was extremely pleased and overjoyed by the fact I had managed to secure my first choice artwork for the project. Here is a copy of the email exchange:

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Following this I recontacted my designer to inform her of my plans. Please see the following post for an account of this process.



Corrigan. (2015). Sophie Corrigan Illustration and Craft. Available: Last accessed 18th April 2015.

RedBubble. (2015). Bear and Fox. Available: Last accessed 18th April 2015.