Female Backing Vocals: Indrija Kustov

On the 5th May Indrija Kustov came to the studios at Lincoln and recorded backing vocals for me. We worked on the songs Quicksand and Mason Dixon Line. I had set up the Neumann U87 in the dead room as its aptitude for high frequency sounds has been show throughout this project and would be perfect for a female vocal. I had sent Indrija the songs previously so she knew what she was working with but at the start of the session I explained exactly what I wanted. For both songs it would mainly involve harmonies in the choruses, singing an octave above my vocal line to compliment it. We went through each line of the track individually and I wrote down the lyrics for her so she had a reference point. Together we created a novel way to remind her of which parts to ding in what style. When a word wanted an upward inflexion we would right an up arrow above the word and vice versa for a downward inflexion. If a particular word needed to stay consistent on the note we would draw a straight line. This is shown in the lyrics sheet I wrote down for Mason-Dixon Line.

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Before we started recording Indrija happily signed my musician waiver and release form as well.

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The session was really enjoyable, especially as Indrija was extremely confident and outgoing and brought new ideas to the table. We were able to arrange creatively together which was a really exciting process. This is shown in the ‘call and response’ ending to Mason-Dixon LineGoing into the session it was never my intention to record this part in such away but after bouncing ideas off each other we came up with it and it really makes the song stand out and bring the track to a nice conclusion. Please see the picture below to see her in action. I must also note, I did offer her a stand to put the lyric sheet on but she refused! The sheet wasn’t making any extraneous noise so as a producer I was just happy that my session musician was comfortable.

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It also helped that she was a wonderful singer and it made me wish I had written more female vocal lines! I really enjoyed the session and learnt a lot from it. Here is the session sheet –

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