After a brief two-hour stop over in Syderlee, The Lurkers continued the wonderful adventure south to Tathra and Pirate Studios with Dave Sparks. In 2010, guitarist Daniel Champagne suggested that we get in touch with Dave because of his great studio. We booked in for five nights and four days with Dave doing the audio engineering.
The attentive Mr Sparks
Working with Dave was a pleasure. His style is carefully attentive and not too gentle – he’ll always go for one more take it he thinks we can get the best take. Dave’s background is in punk and because of this his recording style gets a genuine sound that we are really happy with.
The way we’ve been recording is pretty straight musically where we set up a room mic plus mics on each of the three instruments and just go for it. Some songs take longer than others – there was a memorably epic 28 takes for one song. Normally one f the first few takes are the best.
After recording the backing music the lead vocalist will go and do their take.
After the main vocals are done, then the harmonies and any instruments to put over the top like mandolin or solos.
Occasionally, there are some sound effects to our tracks. The little touches make all the difference.
We didn’t want to waste Dave’s time so we’d practice after he’d gone off to bed. Our working day was nine till ten or eleven with breaks for lunch and dinner. Still by then end of the four days our ears were pretty worn out from concentration and our egos shattered from hearing our own selves back over and over again. Tempers were frayed by the end of each day because recording takes a specific musician – perfectionistic attention to detail. Not The Lurkers, but we work hard to get there.
As expensive, difficult and unrewarding it can be recording is unavoidable for a small independent artist. You’ve got to have something to take on the road and give people. Also, getting played on the radio is a massive help if you’re playing in towns you’ve never been. Community radio will often play your songs and promote your shows getting punters who might buy your cd.
In the end of the four days we had recorded eleven songs and mixed six. We’re going back in March with Mim Jones to help out on fiddle for a few tracks and to record a couple more. We’re aiming now to have the album out in June/July under the working title ‘Padlock and Chain’. Joel Tarling is doing design and art for the package and you can check out his art here.