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Blog: Making Some Hits

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After the bizarre altercation on St Pancras platform earlier, my journey to Derby did not get much smoother. A train ahead of us had a "braking problem" which meant it got stuck at Market Harborough and we got stuck behind it. There had also been a line-side fire overnight, near Wellingborough, which not only LOOKED like the apocalypse but also SMELT like it when we went past. The staff on the train were GRATE, with regular announcements keeping us up to date, even if it was just to say "We don't know when we'll be moving, but we're trying to find out." It's EXACTLY the right thing to do - if you TELL people what's going on they don't PANIC, and everything is MUCH less stressful.

What with one thing and another we ended up getting into Derby precisely 60 minutes late, which at least was good news for my Delay Repay Claim, but did mean I missed my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE bit of any band-based activity i.e. setting up the drums. Ask anybody in a band, they will tell you that that is the BEST BIT, especially when it goes on for HOURS. I hopped in a taxi, but by the time I reached Snug Studio Tim had nearly finished hitting things repeatedly. EPIC SADFACE!

For LO! I was up there for a recording session with The Validators, or in this case 80% of The Validators as Emma was not in attendance - there was unlikely to be time for ANY vocals we thought (correctly), but still I was surprised that she didn't come just to hear the rest of us doing puns about bands we saw thirty years ago and, occasionally, making a racket.

The PLAN was to record drums and bass for a bunch of new tracks, which we're planning to release as EPs later in the year. Tom had brought his LAPTOP and logged the PLAN, which we discussed with Mr R Newman, studio WHIZZ and all-round CHUM. With that done, and instruments sorted out, we set to WORK!

On previous occasions I have stood in the control room with Robbie and sometimes Tom, while Tim and Frankie occupy the studio, so that my vocals and AXEWORK don't leak into their tracks, but this time I was offered the chance to go in the VOCAL BOOTH instead. This worked REALLY well because it enabled me to LOOK at The Rhythm Section and give them CUES. The only downside was that it was Quite Warm in there, especially once we got going. Tom, meanwhile, remained in the room with the air conditioner and no drums.

We had prioritised three songs - "People Are All Right", "You're A Tory Now" and "I Don't Have To Worry About That" - which we had learned up at our recent practice, and we got through them all in EXCELLENT time, having a few bashes at each and then returning to the control room where Robbie spent some time FIXING them. I'm not sure what he was doing - we are METRONOMIC in our timekeeping and FLAWLESS in our professional competence - but he seemed to spend quite a while doing it!

With those in the bag, bass and drum-wise, we had a go at "I'm Doing The Ironing", which we'd rehearsed with the others, but had never gotten quite right. We spent about half an hour going through it, TIGHTENING UP various aspects so that, when we finally got round to a proper take, it sounded DEAD GOOD. We then did three MORE takes, until it sounded BLOODY GRATE - in previous years the final issued version of a track has often been the only time we ever managed to play it right to the end, but this time we had a go at making them a bit better too!

While Robbie did some more inexplicable "fixes" to our clearly perfect musicianship we went back into the main room to have a go at something else. When last we'd met Tim had pointed out that, in our early days, we had OFTEN just learnt a song in the studio, without worrying about ever having to play it live, and that if we wanted to have some B-SIDES for the aforementioned EPs it surely wouldn't hurt to try it that way again. Thus we had a very brief go at "Facebook Manifesto", discovered it wasn't actually very good, and then did an ACE version of "An Office Ballad". It was FAB - VERY different to how I've been doing it live, and even MORE GRATE!

By now we only had half an hour left, and two songs remaining on the "possibles" list. Tim revealed he didn't really like "Cheer Up Love" much, so we didn't do that one, and I wanted to save "It's Hard To Be Hopeful" for when I/we had a bit more time. Thus, without any other options, we went back in and DONE A JAM! I'm not sure whether it was any good or not, but we did at least have a go!

All that remained was to get packed up, thank Robbie, and then head off. Frankie walked back with me towards the station, which gave us a chance to have a delicious PINT on the way before I got my train- this one went FINE, and also featured TV's Liz Kendall in my carriage!

It was a DELIGHTFUL way to spend the day, and hopefully laid the foundations for some MASSIVE BANGERS in future. The only slight sadness to these occasions usually is me going away wishing I got to see The Validators more often, but there was no need in this case, as I would be seeing them the very next day!

posted 9/7/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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