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This week Hudd Sounds released a new music track called Experienced Eyes. It’s a collaboration between myself and talented singer/songwriter Sarah Ryan, with whom I also perform in NewQuay Times.

As well as vocal performances on Experienced Eyes, Sarah also wrote the the lyrics for the track. When I was playing around with initial ideas for the song on the guitar and bass back in April 2012 I called it Experienced Eyes as a working title. Sarah took this cue, penned the rest of the lyrics, and the title stuck.

Me and Sarah at the studio

Me and Sarah at the studio

Instruments

Drums and strings play a major part in the music composition. I also have a little double-tracked 12-string guitar in there to emphasise some of the transitions. Synth bass plus upright double bass complete the low end section. In addition there are cymbals, a gong, and some scratching effects in there too. The song is based on a Fmaj7 / G6 repetition with ever-changing bass notes for a circular progression. Sarah’s powerful voice was tracked on it’s own except for the end section where we double tracked the vocal for a little harmony on the repeats.

Production

Experienced Eyes is a combination of midi instruments and recorded drum/cymbal loops. Sarah’s voice was recorded via a Neumann TLM-103 and TL Audio valve processor. I used my old favourite Logic Pro workstation and RME interface to record, arrange, mix, and master the track at Dreambase Studios. Adam Audio speakers were used to monitor, but I tend to check the mix in a variety of locations before the final mix – car, laptop, phone, headphones, ghetto-blaster, etc.

Artwork

I took the photo below whilst walking the dog on an industrial estate one afternoon. This became the front cover for Experienced Eyes. The font is Bauhaus Med BT.

Experienced Eyes cover art

Copyright © 2013 Hudd Sounds

Sarah Ryan

I first met Sarah when she was performing in the play Be My Baby at the local ‘theatre in a pub’. A few weeks later I was contacted by Sarah’s father to ask me if I’d like to play drums and write songs for a new band he was setting up with Sarah and and bassist Stu. We all met one evening at a local pub and had a first practice. I was immediately taken with Sarah’s dynamic delivery, coupled with a wide vocal range that made her performances seem almost effortless. From there the aforementioned NewQuay Times was born.

Sarah is a regular performer in the Swindon Young Musicians Jazz Orchestra and is a soprano in the senior choir at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy. She has also had a number of acting roles, both in school and with professional theatre groups.

Release

Experienced Eyes is released via download for now in all the usual stores such as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. We hope to have a video to go with it soon.

Look out for further electronica/dance collaborations in the near future…

All Material Copyright © 2013 Hudd Sounds  E&OE

In my last post I mentioned that NewQuay Times would be recording in the next few weeks. Well ‘the next few weeks’ has more than happened, and over three days in the middle of February we managed to record, mix and master an EP with five songs on it called A Short Walk On A Long Pier. I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved as a band, with everyone stepping up to the plate to contribute to the production as a whole. For the initial two days we locked ourselves away in the studio and laid down the recordings. I’d prepared a drum track a for several songs but it transpired that we really needed to record the band as a whole (sans click track!) to get the feel we needed for most of the songs. Only Baby Blue is recorded to a click track, as the song’s more upbeat nature throughout lends itself to a well timed beat! I still dislike click tracks if I’m honest!

We recorded drums and bass together with Vince (guitar) and Sarah (vocals) providing a guide track from the control room. We initially had problems with nasty vibrations from Stu’s Peavy bass amplifier causing various un-musical noises to be picked up on the microphone. This led me to DI the bass in the end, and to be honest the superb tone available from the Fender is such that it really needs little modification on mix-down, apart from a little compression and EQ, along with some chorus on Moonlight Watcher to add to the ethereality of the song. Vince then added some guitar parts for all the songs. He used his trusty Hofner electric with P90 pickups through an Orange amp for most of the songs, for both clean and dirty parts.

Rainy Sunday is possibly the simplest production on the EP, consisting of drums, bass, guitar and a vocal and the aim was to produce a raw song here that was right there in the speakers with each instrument making itself heard on a similar level with little reverb. Baby Blue again is very simple with some additional guitars provided by Sarah on her Eastwood/Orange combination. Moonlight Watcher again had additional acoustic guitars parts to fill plus an undercurrent synth part throughout. To Want also has two acoustic guitar parts plus this time the Eastwood was paired with a Vox AC30 to double up on the Hofner. The vocals appear at the start of this song so we decided to add an intro in the form of a FM radio tuning effect and a guitar sounding like it’s coming out of the speaker of a transistor radio. Tomorrow is more straight ahead with distorted guitars provided by a double helping of Hofner/Orange and a serving of Eastwood/Vox once again. Sarah’s vocals are effected on this song with some multi echo and lots of feedback at the end, with the aim of recreating an almost chant like repeat of the end vocalisations.

For the final mix my aim was to achieve a good solid sound with lots of presence and detail from each instrument, especially Sarah’s vocals, whilst not falling into a ‘louder-the-better’ trap that plagues so many current chart releases. Hence the overall levels are more akin to something like the Pixies Doolittle album.

Artwork photography was supplied by Vince’s son, who took the cover photo whilst on a visit to the coast. I arranged it with text in a nice rounded typeface called Blippo.

CD case inlay artwork

A Short Walk On A Long Pier is now available to download from iTunes, Amazon, etc.

We’re currently in rehearsals and song writing but do have some gigs coming up and are looking for some radio airplay in the meantime.

NewQuay Times is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newquaytimes

That’s all for now folks.

NewQuay adventures in music

February 7, 2012

Last year I was asked if I’d like to form a new band, contributing my drumming, song-writing and music production skills. I jumped at the chance having already seen and heard vocalist and guitarist, Sarah performing at the local theatre group. I’d been looking to get some female vocal performances for a few of my songs so this was a perfect chance to execute an ambition. With Sarah’s powerful and wide ranging voice I felt we already had a head start.

We are called NewQuay Times. Why? Because Sarah and her Dad, Vince (guitar) enjoyed visits to Newquay in Cornwall and I enjoy visits to New Quay in Ceredigion, Wales.

We already have one gig under our belt which went particularly smoothly considering our relative infancy. We’ve been rehearsing regularly now in preparation for recording a demo tape (for tape, read: CD or MP3!). NewQuay Times consists of drums, guitar, bass (Stu), and vocals and our influences range from Tom Petty and The Cranberries, through to Belly and Band of Horses. We have been combining covers with a lot of brand new material which, as mentioned, we shall be recording in the next few weeks.

So far the new music has been developing really well with plenty of creative input from all members. This balance of input is important for the band, in order that we all have a chance to make our mark on the team effort.

For me it’s been great to rework some of old songs that I wrote over ten years ago and adapt them to a new band situation. And yes, this does involve actually writing out the lyrics and chords properly for others to follow!

Our next gig is at the 12 Bar in Swindon on Saturday 25th February. We are one of 4 bands as part of the new 12 Bar Introducing Live event for unsigned artists. Watch this space for more NewQuay Times developments and/or follow us on Facebook or MySpace.

Cheers for now.