Flying Solo

The week before last I did two days recording for a Farm Hand album. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted to make a ‘solo’ record. Every aspect of the music being my decision is liberating and and kind of overwhelming. Music is so much about decision making. Is that the take? Is that the tone? Is that the tempo? So many questions to answer. So many mistakes to make.

When I started Farm Hand, I decided to embrace the limitations. Seeing as it is just me, I decided I should only use a keyboard, a drum machine and some assorted pedals. My main aim was to be able to do gigs with just one suitcase. Playing in Islet I am used to having a lot of gear. For the first two years we used two full drums kits onstage next to each other. The bit when we were onstage was lots of fun but having to talk nicely to sound engineers who didn’t understand the point was, wasn’t. Using two drum kits was very enjoyable though - look at Emms & JT bashing the shit out of them at our first ever Islet gig in Clwb Ifor Bach in 2009: 

Anyway, I want the Farm Hand recording process to be relatively quick and don't want to worry about the Universe Of Sounds I could potentially use. Keep it minimal fuss and easy to make decisions. Well, that was out of the window within about 2 hours of starting. I got overexcited and was recording live drums over the drum machines and flicking through the billions of keyboard sound options on MIDI. Ooops.

 I got this drum machine at a car boot for approx. 50p. When I started Farm Hand I decided I would write one song per beat on it (there are 10).  I've done that now so album recording has commenced. 'Cha Cha' is my fav beat. 

I got this drum machine at a car boot for approx. 50p. When I started Farm Hand I decided I would write one song per beat on it (there are 10).  I've done that now so album recording has commenced. 'Cha Cha' is my fav beat. 

Fortunately, I am recording it with a patient and musically talented man from the West Midlands called Rob Jones. Rob uses Ableton Live and is passionate about his preferred DAW. I’ve never recorded with anyone using that software but after watching him speed around on it for two days, I think it is a good one. My brother, JT (who is recording the Islet album we're also working on atm) is equally as passionate about his preferred software: Logic. They don’t really know each other yet so I can’t wait to get them in a room together head to head to discuss functionality, interface design and colour palettes. Oof, imagine the scenes. I will be sure to chip in with stuff about the Monster voice effect on Garageband. For the record, it is unlikely I will start doing DAW reviews on this blog, but it remains an option.

I don’t really like singing into posh vocal mics or anything like that as it feels like those are for people with posh voices and proper songs. Luckily, Rob guessed I'd be like that and bought a selection of more tantalising mics to use. My fav is 'The Chief' as it makes me feel like a trucker. 

 The chief is going to all over the recording as it makes me feel like I'm talking on a CB radio. 

The chief is going to all over the recording as it makes me feel like I'm talking on a CB radio. 

Anyways, it is fun and going well and we're recording again next week. Islet wise, we are now 68% of the way there. Mega excited about that one as well. I will do a blog about it at some point.

I have started a 'Live' page on this website to post when I am making a live appearance, be it a gig, a talk or whatever. Spoiler alert, this is what I have got coming up: 

Farm Hand - 29/4/17 - Machynlleth Comedy Festival 

Islet  - 13/5/17 - Focus Wales, Wrexham

More to come! Thanks for reading.