Recording Diary | 2nd Album – “Parlour Tricks” (2012 – )

» January 25th, 2013 |  Getting organised.  Always writing.

So – the writing & production of the second album, and follow-up to “21st Century Redemption Songs” has been ongoing since some time before the last one was finished.  In terms of songs, there are some which I had started writing during the last album, but expected them to end up on this record in terms of style and timescale.  I really want to make this album something special and although I’m very proud of the first one, I want to feel that I’ve beaten it.

I’m using the guitar picks belonging to Tom Petty (left) & Scott Thurston that I got from the gig in Lucca during the summer.  Trying to get Tom’s onto every track on this album, in case it might impart some Heartbreakers magic.  Also I might use a DL-8 delay & loop pedal I picked up, and definitely the Gibson Midtown guitar which is new. “21st..” was mostly Fenders guitars with my Telecaster & Stratocaster on nearly all the songs.

» February 3rd, 2013 |  Writing while finding the money… still the hardest part.

The hardest part about the first album was definitely in moving things along at a fast enough pace to keep momentum, while finding the money to keep going.  That’s something that I never see mentioned by people making albums.  Major & large indie label artists complain about having to follow up artistically & write new material, well… how about finding time to do that while continuing to grind out the money required to produce it?  It’s standard now for independents to have Kickstarter campaigns where people contribute in the funding of a release in exchange for rewards.  We’re steering away from that at the minute.  There’s something about knowing an album occurred out of hard work & sacrifice which is reassuring, so I hope people will value that and buy it when it comes out instead.

» March 25th, 2013 |  A new song has made the grade.

Sometimes it takes leaving a place to start writing about it, especially where you were born and grew up.  I had never written very directly about Northern Ireland before, and neither have many other people for decades it seems like.  So, to correct that balance I’ve written something for the second album.  It goes with another song which are both set between 1992 – 1994, although that one is more concerned with domestics than what was happening in the country. The style of writing is an evolution on the first album, and a lot of the songs have more of a common thread on this album, but hold a meaning of their own as individual songs.  Being cast in 1992, and based on something that happened on a specific day in my life at that age allows all of the politics to be stripped away, and for the song to focus on simply the relationship between violence and religion as experienced by the kid in the middle of it.

Some of the early instrumental tracks should make the record I think, it’s sounding good and just needs a bit of splicing around and extra overdubs.  There were already a lot of what I consider to be strong songs ready for this album, but this one is a welcome recent development.  There should be a vinyl release for this album too, which is unrelated but it’s something I found out last night!  I wanted one for “21st Century…” but it didn’t happen at the time.

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