The EP is done, but I am still itching to record the band Live at our monthly gig at the Cafe Jazz, Cardiff. With some close Mic’ing we can be rid of any audience noise. We can put everything into a laptop with Logic or ProTools so we’ll be able to Mix & Master that down to a tidy recording of most of the bands current repertoire.
After a conversation about such things with my sound engineer mate Jason Norman, I invite him down to our August gig to record us Live. He shows up with an assistant, close mic’ing everything, and we’re good to go. We play our sets. The gig is captured, and I make arrangements to meet up with him later in the week to mix everything down.
Unfortunately, due to a catastrophic hard drive failure, the recording is lost. Yet, Jason has an even better idea. He says, Why not come down to our studio? We can set the band up in one of our rooms, and just do what you did at the Cafe Jazz. It’ll be the same, with no audience, better Mics, and an all around better sound.
So we set a date for a Saturday in September.
The band arrived at the JunkYard Studios located in an inconspicuous industrial estate in Newport, South Wales around 1pm in the afternoon. By 3pm the band is setup, the mics are setup, and the lines are checked. Our studio engineers, Jason Norman and Jamie Young, were ready and so were we. We start with On The Sunny Side Of The Street. After that take, we have a quick listen in the control room to check the sound. Then one more time through Sunnyside.
From there, between 3:30pm and 5:30pm, we cut 2 takes of each track that appears on the CD. What is there is how we played it Live. The band did step in to overdub some ‘Bop’s on ‘The Best Man’, and I overdubbed the vocal for SunnySide of the Street as the first take vocal was slightly distorted because I was louder than the gain on the desk could handle. Other than that, it is as we played it over those 2 and a half hours.
We all sat in the control room for an hour picking the takes were going to use. Then Ashley (bass) and Greg (drums) went home while Gareth (piano) and I headed to a curry house while the studio engineers processed the audio ready for mixing and mastering.
At 9pm we were back and ‘round midnight, everything was mixed. Between midnight and 2am various listening masters were made and cut to CD. Gareth and I made a few visits to his car to listen to these. Once we found an audio blueprint and balance we were happy, it was applied to the chosen takes and the master was bounced.
At 3 AM, just 14 long hours after arriving, we walked out of the JunkYard with our 1st full length recording.
donnie joe’s American Swing : Live From The JunkYard (still available on our bandcamp page)
I patched together some artwork, and another mate Stephen Preston handled printing the discs and making the CD Wallets.