What do you get when you lock seven musicians up together in a darkened room for 2 weeks while the sun is shining and the birds are singing?
The correct answer is, of course, a finished album. However, don’t count your chickens. Just getting to the studio is the culmination of many months of planning, not to mention endless days cooped up in a rehearsal room dreaming up new songs and then picking them (and each other) to pieces.
It’s pretty impressive that we’ve made it to this point without killing each other. But it could still kick off over the next 2 weeks, especially since we’ll all be living in the same house together …
Fortunately I’m an old hand at this now and I know exactly what to pack for a smooth ride. So here are some tips for posterity:
Tip 1: Keep the rest of the band happy. I find the best way is with lots of home cooked indian food. Turmeric, fresh green chillies, cumin and mustard seeds are essential. To win extra credits, pack food in Tupperware boxes and dish out in the studio at lunchtimes.
Tip 2: Keep feet warm at all times: cold feet=sore throat=no vocals. Pink fluffy slippers especially recommended, make you feel like a real rock star.
Tip 3: Take loads of reading for musical inspiration: vocals come out great if you concoct a little story around the songs and act them out. This time my reading material includes 20 years worth of Ugandan newspaper articles (at least 19 of which are dedicated to the fabled Last King of Scotland, featured below, who has a whole song all to himself on the next album).
Tip 4: Start getting everyone up at least 2 hours before we need to leave! A temple bell struck with a hammer works well. The smell of fried bacon also works a treat.
I also take a picture of the Hindu monkey God Hanuman with me wherever I go. This might not work for everyone, but he keeps me sane.
Its all feeling pretty good so far. But at the same time I have that pre-exam feeling, my insides are a jittery bundle of nerves and expectations. Recording is a weird time – it’s when a song that started off as an ephemeral concept in my head turns into a shiny CD that other people will take possession of.
But i’m getting ahead of myself… I haven’t actually sung anything yet. More tomorrow from the studio proper.