17 December 2009
Touched down in New York this afternoon as the sun was setting. The past three weeks have been tense. We left New York the day after our last Joes Pub gig and arrived in Berlin the following afternoon. Emery arrived the following day and we started tracking the day after that. I am making my first solo record. It’s called Wreckorder. Why is it called Wreckorder? I think i liked that it sounds like recorder but looks like wreckorder, meaning change the order, wreck the order, which, by virtue of making a record alone (almost alone) and it definitely feels a world away from making a Travis record, the order has been well and truly wrecked. Also I wanted to have a Holiday, a vacation from the band.
I love making demos. I would bring them to the band and we would re-record them and make them sound better/more professional but the thing which made the demo magic would always be lost in the final recordings. We would have demo-itis early on, trying to recapture that “thing”. It took a while to realise our time would be better spent trying to make new moments. I suppose that “thing” is just connected to the first time you do something. There is a certain cool carelessness which comes from not knowing where something is leading you. The usual procedure would be write songs-make demos-take demos to band-make album. Taking Travis out of the flow chart meant the recording process would stop at demo stage. But it would have to sound good too. It has to sound like a record yet have the effervescence of a demo…
So I bought a nice old 10 channel recording desk and some beautiful microphones and began making new demos. Writing for something other than Travis was a great release. There was no baggage. No map. When I had enough cool moments, I asked the producer, Emery Dobyns, to come out to Berlin and we finished them together, adding overdubs and embellishing.
So now I’m back in New York. Emery and I are travelling up to Vermont on Sunday to record vocals with Neko Case. She’s a brilliant singer. I met her in Berlin at her show and asked if she would like to do something. “Sure” she said so I wrote a song for us to sing together.
We also had a visit from Tom Hobden from Noah And The Whale. He played violin on three of the songs. Two in the background and a solo on another.
Bass was tough. How hard could it be? It’s only got 4 strings. But it proved to be my Achilles heel. Dougie is a hard act to follow. So I asked some proper bassmen to help me out. Sam Dixon who plays with Sia and Tony Shanahan who plays with Patti came through with some great lines. I also had help from a guy in Berlin called Bjoern Werra. He played double bass.
One of the biggest coups was getting Paul McCartney to play bass on a song. I’m not sure what non McCartney songs he’s played bass on but I couldn’t think of many. Anyways his bassline is brilliant. Nora and I were sitting and were thinking of a thankyou present and I suggested going vegetarian. Our son is already one so it would mean we would all on the same boat. I met Paul at his show in Berlin and told him what we wanted to do. He was visibly flabbergasted. Three days later the Fed Ex man delivered three Linda McCartney cook books. We LOVE Paul.
Apart from that, it’s just me. Emery helped tie up all the loose ends and made it sound amazing. Nora made cool breakfasts lunches and dinners, tea, cakes and generally took care of us. Clay was patient. Very patient. We cut it on Tuesday.
It’s nearly midnight in NYC. I am tired. I am hungry. Where can a man get veggie lasagne at midnight?
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