How I Recorded My Debut Album.
I recorded my Debut Album - 'From A Girl Who Never Sleeps' - not in a lavish studio but in various places, between a flat in England and a house in Ireland. All of it, bar a few drum tracks, 2 bass tracks and the collabs was completely recorded on my own with my 8 track DP-01FX Tascam.
Each song was recorded and laid out track by track on my tascam, With these recordings laid out as completed songs I would send the mixes to the brilliant Gavin Monaghan to finally mix and master.
This song first came together while in London one rainy evening. I first came up with a melody on my Casio keyboard then added a drum pattern with my drum machine. Firstly I Recorded the Drums onto my tascam, then the main melody on keyboard, followed by 3 other keyboard/synth tracks all recorded on individual tracks on my Tascam. I recorded my vocal tracks and realised I wanted to use a megaphone effect on my vocals at the spoken part bits towards the end of the song. I like the way Kathleen Hanna uses this effect in some of her Julie Ruin songs , I was inspired by that. My entire vocals on the album were recorded on an Audio Technica ATM 33A Microphone, attached to a normal mic stand. I used a pair of old tights over a bent iron clothes-hanger as a pop shield for the microphone.... but don't tell anyone!! :)
This song first originated when Timecop1983 sent me one of his tracks. I instantly adrored it and came up with the vocals and lyrics. I worked out where I would put the chorus, verse and middle 8 part, then recorded the vocals. Again using my Tascam I put the Timecop1983 track on channel 1 and of my Tascam. I put my main vocals on Track 2, followed by harmonies/spoken parts on track 3. Every track going onto my Tascam needs to be in a mono wav format, so most tracks have to be changed from stereo to mono before I can begin working on them on my Tascam. I would eventually send the tracks back to Timecop1983 where he would mix and master the song. But for the album version of this song it was again mixed and mastered by Gavin Monaghan.
Neon Nights was one of the last songs to be finshed for the album. It was done in the same way as Timescapes. Sellorekt/LA Dreams sent me over one of his tracks, I felt very inspired to sing over it. I put the track on channel 1 of my Tascam with all my vocal parts on subsequent channels. This track with my vocals was oringally entitled Lipstick Blush by Sellorekt/LA Dreams, but I felt I couldn't really work around that title so I changed it. Ultra inspiring song.
Yellow Lines was written in 2009. But I decided to include this song on the album as I felt it fit the mood of the album. The drums were recorded by a session musician. The drums I put on channel 1 then I recorded my guitar part on my Daisy Rock 'Dark Star' electric guitar. I then used up 3 seperate tracks for synth. I mostly used Synth1 VST on Fl Studio but also used some of the vsti's from the 'Goldbank' collection I found on the internet. At the end of the song, as it climaxes I used the Pro53Lead from the 'Goldbank' collection. I felt it gave it a sunny Miami Vice type feel!!
I then put down my vocal parts. Notice there is no bass guitar on this track, that's because I felt the track didn't need it. My electric guitar part is quite bassy so i think it worked well and didn't need the bass guitar aswell. When recording my vocals I always looked for the room with thr best acoustics....I found the bathroom was a great place for this!
This song was completely recorded on FL Studio bar the vocals. I recorded 4 separate Synth tracks, using: Synth1, Moon Ray, Warmth and Texture. Some of these sounds came straight from my Casio Keyboard, not all were from Fl Studio or the Goldbank collection. The drums I wrote on my drum machine and again the drums always are recorded firstly and on Track 1. It's just a case of connecting my drum machine to my Tascam with my guitar lead. In order to record the Vocals I transported all the synth tracks from my Fl Studio on my laptop to the Tascam - again making sure all the tracks were in mono as opposed to stereo as then my Tascam DP-01FX would not read the tracks. I had just began to start using FL Studio and I was unsure about recording my vocals with Fl Studio, so that is the reason I transported all tracks onto my Tascam. Astrogate like 1983 is one of the few songs I have written using entirely keyboard or Synth and no guitar. The quotes on the song by Joanna Lumley and Anne Sexton were simply recorded by finding the pieces i wanted to use on the internet and holding my microphone up to my laptop and by pressing record on my Tascam. This actually took longer than I thought it would!!!!
Not That Kind
Robert Parker had sent me a track to work on. I instantly loved the track and recorded the vocals straight away. When I first came up with the vocals for this I was very excited, as I felt it had something about it. Again Robert's track went to channel 1 on the Tascam and my vocals went to channels 2 and 3. I sent the completed tracks back to Robert Parker where he mixed and mastered the song! The song was later mastered by Gavin Monaghan.
This song was one of the first to be recorded and the LAST to be put on the album. I also used a lot of bouncing between tracks on this. There are 4 separate vocal parts and 3 guitar parts with 1 piano part. The main guitar went on track 1 followed by vocals on track 2, From there I would add extra guitar parts at places in the song I felt needed that extra texture and build up. I like to add differnt layers to my songs without it sounding too much or too busy. I also added 2 part vocal harmonies in the chorus as I thought it really worked. This is the only acoustic song on the album. The Piano part was the last track to be recorded. It was simply a case of connecting my Casio Keyboard to my final track on my Tascam via a guitar lead. This song was almost not included on the album but at the last moment I included it on the tracklist.
This song was one of the first songs along with 1983 to be recorded. The drums were recorded by a session Drummer and then he sent me this drum track. I put this on channel 1 of my Tascam and built from there. I put down the electric guitars parts first and then my vocals. I was aiming for a Bleached meets Blondie kinda sound with this one!
Timecop1983 again sent me one of his tracks and I recorded the vocals, as always - working out verses and choruses, I recorded the main vocals and then a 2nd vocal part. With these vocals I remember I was stuck for a time in the day to record them. As there had been a lot of noise and interference from the neighbours next door. So I locked myself in the bathroom and recorded them. I was determined to get them done!! The acoustics in the bathroom were great and in the end I was happy with them. I would eventually send the tracks back to Timecop1983 where he would master the song. But for the album the song was again mixed and mastered by Gavin Monaghan.
Where Are You?
The drums for this song were again recorded by a session drummer, who then sent them to me. The bass guitar too was recorded by Robert Parker. With these 2 tracks put onto track 1 and 2 on my tascam I then recorded my 2 electric guitar tracks, 1 synth track and 2 vocal parts. The synth part was a new addition to the song. I felt it really worked. Yes, I also quote Morrissey in the middle 8 part. The quote is taken from the song 'Interesting Drug'.
From A Girl Who Never Sleeps
There are just 4 tracks on this song. 2 Electirc guitar tracks, 2 Vocal tracks and the Virginia Woolf quote bounced onto a vocal track at the beginning of the song. I had written a piano piece for this song oringinally but felt it didn't work so I left it off the final mix. I tried to limit the amount of tracks used on each song to just 8 tracks/channels throughout the entire album.