Songbird: Mastering the Songs
|[Up at first light for our road trip... and a teasing glance of the famous zebra crossing, which we posted to make people guess where we were.]|
So, once again my film life gave me the opportunity to dip my toe in the world of music, as recently myself and Songbird's writer, Tommy Draper, got an inside look at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios. We were there with Songbird's leading lady, Janet Devlin, her wonderful manager Rick, and music producer Graham (who is also a bit of a legend) to master Janet's two songs for the film: Chandeliers and Once Upon a Time.
I believe the mastering went well; I don't know anything about sound mixing (although I'm sure some of the sound guys I work with would've reveled in all the gear we saw!), but the songs sound beautiful, and there of course was no doubt that the tracks were in safe, experienced hands!
The 'work' side of the day was relatively brief for myself and Tommy - it was really a chance to catch up with Janet and get some footage for the Songbird behind-the-scenes videos (see below) - so a good portion of our time was spent on general music geekery. Did we walk across the famous zebra crossing? Yes, but only because we actually had to cross the road, and we had to wait for some tourists to move. It still felt pretty damn cool.
|[The mixing desk at Abbey Road. It's all a mystery to me, but it certainly looked cool!]|
|[One of Abbey Road's original vinyl presses - from back before vinyl had a comeback!]|
|[Janet watching and listening carefully nearby as her tracks are mixed]|
What else did we take away from our time there? Well, we were allowed a quick and cheeky look inside studios one and two, which felt amazing: not only did we see the piano 'Let it Be' was written on (it's still there!), but also the studio where the scores for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films were recorded. I was barely able to keep my cool at that point! Anything Peter Jackson-related leaves me buzzing.
Looking at all the amazing names of people who had recorded at Abbey Road, I saw Kate Bush listed, and I couldn't resist asking questions about her. I found out that she had worked in many of the rooms there, including the very room we were mastering the Songbird tracks in (again, another moment where I struggled to keep calm!). And, mentioning no names, I now know someone who claims to have got stoned with Kate Bush - and he also once went clubbing with David Bowie! When I asked him what Bowie was like, he said "he was one of those people who seemed incredibly normal and incredibly special at the same time." In all honesty, that's exactly how I felt about Janet when I first met her.
|[Janet, myself and Tommy in the studio, beneath some platinum disks! Photo credit: Rick at Insomnia Music Management]|
Moving back to the Songbird songs themselves. They really are lovely pieces, both of which perfectly capture the two sides of Jennifer's personality; Chandeliers is beautifully delicate and haunting, and Once Upon a Time is a happy, catchy, confident anthem for anyone who has overcome a difficult personal challenge. For those of you who pre-ordered copies of the songs during the last campaign, the tracks should have just been sent out. If you missed out on the chance to buy them back then, you can do so via our 'festival booster' funding campaign, which will be launched within the next few days. Watch this space!