So every couple of years, I record an album. Recording an album is a lot different to playing a live show. When you play live, you’re creating a song in that infinitely accessible but infinitely illusive space called, ‘the present.’ But when you record a song, you’re trying to make it for a future date, in fact ALL future dates – so that it can stand up to repeat listenings and scrutiny.
For example, having owned the album ‘Parachutes’ by Coldplay for the best part of ten years, I recently noticed someone cough in the background of one of the tracks. I listened again, I got a mate to listen – its definitely there. And it always will be!
So once every couple of years, I am reminded of two eternal truths,’ recording is hard’ and ‘I’m not perfect’. It’s a remarkably humbling time as you play a song thinking you nailed it, only to have to do it again and again because. quite simply, you haven’t!
We’re four days in, and its becoming clear we’re not going to be finished by the end of next week. This was a bit hard to come to grips with, but we’ve ‘recalibrated’ our expectations (we’ve moved the goalposts!) so we know what we have to get done, and what we can come back and do later.
Tomorrow we head to West Auckland to track drums (where the view may not be quite so distracting), and on Sunday we start work at St Columba Church in Botany, starting with Sophie on the cello.
One of the sustaining features of the week has been coming to terms with the incredible support of so many people through the Social Backing campaign (check it out here – we’re at 135%!). It’s been a nice foil to some of the hard times we’ve had this week.
On top of that, my old friend Tony and I got to go to the Silver Scrolls last night, a celebration of NZ music, and rewarding our top songwriters. It was such an inspiring evening. This is not a throwaway statement. I am quite a difficult person to inspire (as many hollywood movies will testify too) – but Don McGlashan gave a speech last night, stating that when we write music we are to ‘faithfully witness to what it means to be human. We are to colour the world with ambiguity and complexity that stands against the injustice of black and white thinking…’ I could have been in church. I think I was in church! Regardless of where I was, the life giving words of Jesus seemed to reverberate around that hall for me. Then fellow pilgrim, Dave Dobbyn closed the night with ‘Slice of heaven’ which was all rather perfect. I went home with a full and glad heart.
So, while Matt (my producer) and I have had our work cut out for us, there have been some inspiring, encouraging moments. The songs are coming together slowly, but what we’re hearing is good. that makes having to wait and work hard a bit more bearable. And today, I got to spend the whole morning with my son, Sam, and my friend Tony. I can hear him stirring from his afternoon sleep now (Sam, not Tony) – so I’d better go. This post feels like its all over the show, but hopefully you can get the sense that we’re working our butts off, we’re winning some, losing some – but having an incredible time along the way!
Grace and peace to you and yours, Malcs