Archive For March, 2009

It’s a beautiful baby album!

After a long and complicated labour, all of Farrah are very excited to announce that the record is finally finished. The mixes were done last week only for us to discover strange clicks and pops on every song. We had to go back into the studio and do them all again. This took a mind-numbing 22 hours solid, as we had to copy all our settings over to a faster computer. Ben Wood was at the helm and me and Andrew were responsible for regular caffeine doses and spicy Indian food.

It was all worth it as we put the last mix to bed as a grey dawn broke outside. We go to Abbey Rd to master the album next week which will be fun.

It’s a beautiful day in London today. I feel a weight is lifting.

Jez x

Hurry up….

‘So, why does it take so long’?

I hear this question a lot when we’re making a Farrah record. People often assume that making an album takes a couple of weeks. I don’t know why they think this is. It’s not as if they think making a film takes a couple of weeks. Perhaps it’s just that there are more documentaries about ‘behind the scenes of the latest action blockbuster’ and not that many about making records.

So why does it take so long? Because we dick around. That’s why. Actually that isn’t strictly true but having access to a great recording studio when we want it actually slows down the process somewhat. We can tinker. We can try some things out. Anyway, it’s not just us! The Beatles spent 6 months making Sergeant Pepper. This was using 2 or three studios at the same time. The latest U2 record took over 2 years to make. Boston took 4 years, Def Leppard took three ( I admit they had a problem with a drummer who lost an arm during the recording) and all the bands I’m talking about had a producer or two and some engineers, tea boys, tea ladies, catering, -Oh, and they didn’t have other stuff to do as well. ‘Sorry, Bono, I can’t lay down any guitars this week as I’m stripping the wallpaper in my flat’.

So what’s the most time consuming aspect of it? Well, song selection takes a while. This is where we decide which songs are good enough for the record. This involves a lot of arguing and jaffa cakes. This also involves us writing songs.

Preproduction is where we try out the songs in different structures, grooves, time signatures, keys and dynamics. This usually doesn’t take forever because we all have good ideas and tend to agree on which sounds best. However, if a song has 30 chords, then there’s a lot to forget- oops, I mean remember.

The recording. This takes a while. The drums and bass go down pretty quickly but the other instruments can take a long time. This is because we try different sounds and textures and sometimes get friends to play things as well. Some songs are easy and may only have 10 tracks of stuff, but one song on this record has 96 tracks of audio and is 6 minutes long (it’s the closing track) so even if everything is played right first time that’s 96×6, which is many hours of recording.

We’re a band that likes backing vocals and working out those takes a while. I take forever tweaking lyrics and redoing lead vocals (the luxury of having a studio again…) and remember that we’re engineering and producing it ourselves.

Mixing takes a couple of weeks and you’ll be pleased to know that this is where we are now!

So, we started the song selection last July, started pre-production in August and recording in September. We’ve been working on the record on and off ever since. Just over 8 months. Not so long really. Not if you want to make something that is your best record. Which this is. By far.