Capturing The Live Sound
I had obviously done something right with ‘Absent Friends’ as Neil asked me back to record ‘Victory For The Comic Muse’ again at RAK.
This time it was all so very different as he wanted me to indulge his desire to achieve the tracking all ‘live’ and to tape. We had a day’s setup in RAK 1 and I remember thinking that it was going to be quite a tricky gig. Lots of spill to make ‘work’ together as the band, strings and brass were all going to play in the same room. Nerves were exacerbated by turning round on the first day of recording to find Nigel Godrich (again) and members of Travis on the couch - in my mind, smiling and thinking to themselves: “This will be interesting!”
Initially we were going to do it without headphones, but eventually we settled on headphones for all. We recorded the main takes to tape and moved on to Pro Tools for any further overdubs. Neil ended up overdubbing his lead vocals as he developed a cold early into the sessions. Recording to tape is always a joy, and to do it in those circumstances was tricky but I think that translates well to the record. It does sound ‘live’ because in essence it is. It has a definite sonic charm even if (as always!) in retrospect I would have done some things differently. But we stuck to our guns (mainly) and after Neil recovered from his cold we recorded his vocals in RAK 4. Over the next couple of weeks, I mixed the album at Strongroom Studios. ‘Snowball In Negative’, ‘A Lady Of A Certain Age’ and ‘Mother Dear’ are my favourites from that record.
Guy Massey, November 2020.
Photo: Tom Sheehan.