Studio report 4: New guitar parts and the end game approaches

This weekend I took delivery of the last parts for the new album. Gareth Cole (who for reasons best known to himself, now wants to be known as ‘G-Wrath’. Whatever, Gazza) has done a blinding job with the lead guitar work on my new song ‘Drop Dead’. So good in fact that I’ve put a version of the whole song in the bandcamp subscribers only post.

Click here for instructions on how to hear it!

My brief was that he should listen to a few Bowie songs, especially some of the lead work on Heathen. Of course, G-Wrath mostly ignored this but nevertheless turned out  a lead part that fits the song perfectly.

What I like about this sort of collaboration is that it turns up parts I would never play. With my lead guitar parts I have always deliberately tried not to sound like a rock guitar player. My approach is that what I can do well is pick the notes you’re not expecting. So I’ll do that. Gareth here is turning out the kind of legato rock ballad playing that I just can’t naturally do. And it works really well.

In other news – I’ve mostly been mixing. I’ve learned a lot about how to do this over the last year. My Rubble and Dust/Run double ‘A-side’ single was an attempt to mix something a bit more rocky, whereas Spirit Box was a real learning curve in terms of recording and mixing my own vocals.

With Rubble and Dust I wasn’t entirely happy with the mixing of the vocals. I think I also fell into the very easy trap of piling too many layers on top of each other. Not that it’s a bad recording. It’s not. Have a listen here.

But those are all lessons for album 6 and it is sounding really rather good.


Reminder! My next gig is a the first proper full band Tom Slatter gig. It will be good!

28th March in London.

Tickets can be purchased here!


Studio Report 3 – In A Church? With My Reputation?

I spent the last two Friday evenings at St Paul’s Church in Goodmayes with the Barley Singers. We rehearsed and recorded an arrangement of my song ‘Cutting Up All Of Our Dreams’.

The Barley singers are my mum’s choir that she started a few years ago since retiring. They’ve put on a few concerts and my mum has written several songs for them.

I’ve had Cutting Up All Of My Dreams for a few years now, but hadn’t found the right arrangement for it. No matter what I tried, nothing seemed to work. So I sent my mum the vocal part that I would be singing, and asked for to arrange her choir around that, figuring that if I couldn’t work out how the song should go, maybe she could.

She did! It sounds great. Bandcamp subscribers can hear a rough version over on the bandcamp subscribers page.

It won’t sound absolutely perfect – we didn’t have the time or resources for that. But it does sound good, and honest, and like some people singing a song and enjoying doing so.

In other news

David Elephant, maniacal boss of my record label Bad Elephant Music has now given me a deadline to get the final mixes to him by early March. With David, the word ‘deadline’ must be taken very literally so I will do my best to meet this demand. Or else Mickey Knuckles will be sent round to remind me of my contractual obligations. Again.

But it’s okay, because I think this will work. The tracking is all done, bar vocals on one song, the mixes are mostly coming together, the demon voices have nearly been transferred from my head and onto the digital tape. The new album slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.

Be afraid. Run. Hide in the hills.