We have chosen Blueberry Hill Studios in Leeds for band rehearsals, as its local and very well equipped. As soon as you start to amplify instruments and use microphones a whole new set of considerations begin to emerge! One of the main lessons in writing and arranging new song material is to ensure that everyone is literally on the same page, so we all have SCD folders with the current lyrics for each of the thirteen songs already written along with the music tab!
This was our second visit to Blueberry hill and the second time we got to try out the Schertler Unico amplifiers which we use for both ukuleles. We also have decided on a range of different microphones and I have become acutely aware that in a live setting the choice microphones used makes a massive difference to the overall sound. Mostly we settled for Sure and Neumann mics which are industry standards. In The Small Change Diaries we all sing lead and chorus parts, so playing in this studio setting is a great opportunity to work on the overall vocal sound. I have a whole new appreciation for any working band as I now have begun to appreciate just how much time it takes to develop a really good band performance, especially when creating and playing original material!
In each live session we will usually focus on five or six key songs in a three hour period having already worked up some of the material in home settings. I am constantly amazed at how songs develop over a period of time and almost end up having a life of their own after a period of time. As we become more familiar with the material the arrangements become more locked down and this is of course essential for any future album recording. It’s also a great opportunity to work on the overall sound and ensure we get the right balance between instruments. During this session we worked on “The Airport Codeine Blues”, “There’s only one of you” “Cold Mountain” ”Miles Ahead” and “Rona” all of which are starting to take shape. We’ll be back in a few weeks looking at some more songs including a new ballad “The Heart wants what the heart wants”