Hi, to those who don't know me I'm Phil I'm the guitarist of Sunbirds and to those who do - yes it's that idiot...
I thought I'd have a go at a Blog. I've always enjoyed writing, but until now kept my thoughts to myself in a diary. I've spent many years getting to this point in my life and I've decided I'd like to share the journey from here. Hopefully it's going to be interesting as well as informative; and if anything I write is of benefit to anyone then all the better.
I thought I'd kick off writing about the making of Cool To Be Kind, ok, not the most inspired choice of subject I know, but I need to start with what I know.
I'm going to add to this over the coming weeks as I go through each part of the process, from having the finished songs in my head to the release of the album. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful! Cheers.
Phil, Nov 2020
Eights Days A Week - The making of Cool To Be Kind
#1 "(JUST LIKE) STARTING OVER" - THE DEMO
First things first - the songs. This might sound a bit obvious, but having put your heart and soul into something that you've poured hours over and are going to throw out to the world to judge, it's nice to feel like youre not going to be wasting youre time and that people are going to 'get it'.
Music, as we know, is purely subjective (or is that 'objective' I never knew..) one man’s Pantera is another man's Rick Astley (and you can quote me on that!). In order to ply your wares it's good to have some low-budget samples to share, in the same way an Axminster sales rep would ferry around a chunky book of carpet tiles in the boot of his car - I'm talking about a demo.
For those who don't know, 'demo' is one of those words or phrases that only musician’s tend to use in a certain context, like 'gig' or 'bottom end'. In this case, it refers to a low-cost recording strictly only for use with other industry people as a demonstration. Even the Beatles used them. Historically, there has always been some debate as to how far to take the quality of a demo in terms of how close it should be to the final finished release. Some will say 'throw the kitchen sink at it, you only get one chance to make a first impression" others will say "a good song is a good song and it'll show through no matter how basic the recording is". There's no rule and I'm generally a bit caught between the two, on this occasion I decided to go with the latter more in the name of expense and convenience than any artistic intent.
In 1990 I moved from South London to Upminster in Essex. Once home to Lord Upminster himself Mr Ian Dury. Upminster has a great little rehearsal and recording studio called The Farm which is owned and run by all round top geezer Ray Marquis. Ray is not only legendary round these parts for his ever-present cheery acerbic wit, knob twiddling abilities and as the player of one of the best blues shuffles you'll hear, but also because he does all this while registered blind.
Being the seasoned pro’s that we are (read: old gits) we decided that we should be able to get what we needed in 24hrs and so during the cold mid-winter spent a day down on the Farm...
Studio bants with Ray and Hamster
Within 48 hours we were happy with what we had - twelve mp3 files we could then use to, hopefully, build up enough interest into making an album. You can hear (and download) one of the tracks from this session below...:)
NEXT WEEK... “COME TOGETHER” – THE BAND.