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OH what an evening of ACTION and EFFICIENCY it was last night! I left work a bit early to catch the 15.25 to Derby... and it all went PERFECTLY. HOORAH! I must say The Nation did not APPEAR to be underwater, at least not from my window, but maybe that's just because I didn't go far enough NORTH. Anyway, I got to Derby in good time, got myself some TEA on the way, and headed off to SNUG RECORDING STUDIOS, stopping on the way ONLY to pick up the RIDER for our band practice later on.

Once in the studio Mr R Newman and I made short work of the last batch of vocals, on My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once, Do More, Eat Less and Do The Indie Kid. I must say i REALLY enjoyed myself. The FACT that I was relatively smartly dressed (proper shoes and trousers, SHIRT) meant I felt a bit like FRANK SINATRA, and this was only ENHANCED by Robbie's production of The Singer Song-Writer Stool for me to sit on and, CRUCIALLY, a proper MUSIC STAND to lean the words on. Next time I'm hanging my jacket over my shoulder and wearing a HAT!

ALSO really good was the fact that Robbie was LISTENING and sending me back in to RE-DO bits that didn't sound quite right. This was EXTREMELY helpful, and I think we got pretty good VERSIONS of all the songs, in NEAT time. Time was SO neat, in fact, that I nipped in to do GUIDE tracks for It Only Works Because You're Here. I wanted to do some kind of version of this to a click track, so that Tom could use it to base his STRING arrangements on, and I spent a fairly MISERABLE few attempts try to play along to a CLICK. It was HORRIBLE! However, things soon improved when we did it to a DRUM BEAT instead, and soon that ALSO was done.

I got me a CD and said my goodbyes just as a) Plans & Apologies came in to start their evening's practice and b) Mr Frankie Machine arrived to courier me to OUR practice, stopping on the way at The Brunswick for a traditional DELICIOUS pint.

We got to The Music Shed to find everyone else arrived, and after a brief CHAT we set to what turned out to be (in my opinion) one of our best practices EVER! We started with Leicester's Trying To Tell Me Something, which INITIALLY looked like being CONTENTIOUS. This was the one that was being JAMMED while I was on the train at our last practice, and was a bit of an EPIC. When I played MY version of it to everyone, including STOPPING chorus, it suddenly sounded a bit QUICK and CHIRPY. "But what about the loud bit?" pleaded Tim.

However, once we got GOING all worries were ended - we DID do it in the former, EPIC style, and the lyrics suddenly sounded DIFFERENT, in a DEAD GOOD way. "How will this work when we get to the chorus?" i wondered... and it worked WELL. With all the LOUDNESS and INSTRUMENTAL sections it sounded very MUCH like a JAM, which made the sudden STRICT stops sound ... ooh, POWERFUL! We got to the end quite SURPRISED by the NEW SOUND we'd made by simply COMBINING other sounds we already did.

NEXT we ploughed into All The Good Men, the OTHER jam from last time which I'd been beavering away at to get finished in time. This ALSO sounded really good, we got back into the FLOW of it pretty easily, and with a few minor adjustments it was pretty SORTED. At this point, HIGH ON ROCK, we took the RISKY STEP of trying our new cover version, "Theme From Sparta FC", which we're learning for International Fall Day next week. We'd ALL done our revision, including Tom's RIFF and Emma's GREEK, and BY GOLLY it didn't half sound good! Who'd've thought Tim's drumming would fit so easily into a Fall song?

Frankie can't play that gig, so he sat OUT of the first few goes, but we DRAGGED him in for the final run through, and it was HAPPINESS all round. At this point there was a break for SERIOUS DISCUSSION (i.e. taking the piss, in HIGH JOLLITY) before continuing with an EXTENSIVE session on Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid. We'd already done quite a bit of work on this one last time, moving bits of it around and doing DYNAMICS and that, and this time we did MUCH MUCH MORE. It was like being in a Band Off The telly or something, we stopped to DISCUSS sections, tried out new things, worked on HARMONIES, and ran over SECTIONS to make them MORE GOOD. After about half an hour's WORK we had a TERRIFIC version of it - "It's the new Easily Impressed!" remarked Tim, and he may be right. It was really good!

Finally we had some run throughs of One Of The Walls Of My House Fell In which got SLIGHTLY more JAZZ and was the beneficiary of some SOLO "do do do do" singing from Emma. It sounded ACE. We finished the evening with a run through of ALL the songs we'd worked on and then, realising it was only 10.40pm, decided to get PACKED up and hit the pub. HOORAH!

On our arrival the HIGH PRODUCTIVITY continued even further! NORMALLY when we get to the pub there's CHAT and we don't really discuss much, and certainly don't DECIDE things. "We'll sort it out on the email" is the USUAL catchphrase, but NOT TONIGHT. It was amazing - we all sat down, had GRATE ideas, discussed them and THEN even AGREED some things! What WAS going on?

To SUMMARISE the main points of the meeting, we agreed that there wasn't really any point putting out an EP later this year, as we might as well carry on and put ALL the songs we've done on an album, as we nearly had ENOUGH now. We'd aim to get it all finished off by the end of the year, and then go on tour (IN A VAN!) again in the Easter.

Tim then pointed out that as I had SO many songs spare that we'd not got round to using, we could REPLACE the EP with a SOLO album! Everyone seemed quite happy with this idea, not least, i suspect, because it'll enable me to USE UP songs that I really like without continuing to FOIST them on the band!

Slightly STUNNED by how productive and, to be honest, EXCELLENT we'd all been we staggered out into the night, with me retiring to Machine Mansions for the evening.

It took me AGES to get to sleep - i was all EXCITED!

posted 29/6/2007 by MJ Hibbett

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