It’s all change in the band for Roger again and he has joined another band to play drums in - and he’s looking forward to the Summer.
When young band Xv Frames came to the studio they didn’t know why they were called Fifteen Frames (well that’s how you say it apparently!) so maybe if you read this post you should go ask them directly!
I always ask what I think are pertinent questions of any new band using the studio to record, but have never in 25 years of owning the barn come across a band who don’t know why they are called what they are! Good start - but it got us talking.
Being young they had a small budget but big aspirations and tons of enthusiasm. With only 2 days booked to record 6 songs it was all quite feasible and they certainly had practiced well, showcasing the songs to me before we began the set up procedure. After 2 days of organised chaos we had 6 songs in the can - 3 full band songs and 3 acoustic tracks with various singers and arrangements. A well organised and productive group.
The songs are now available on iTunes and all those other streamy places:
A very happy band comprising 5 main chaps (Sam, Ollie, Sean, Aiden & George) plus female backing vocalist Grace, with great songwriting skills and a good amount of punch - check them out on Instagram too:
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to help a wonderful local singing school (Sophisticate West End) in a large project involving over 20 of their students. The 2 main tutors also wanted to make a demo song for their students to showcase their own singing talents with a simple video. They chose a song from the musical Mean Girls titled Apex Predator which I hadn’t heard of at the time, but have since watched the film (it’s really good - definitely worth a watch) and here is their video.
The tutors (Sophie Ayers and Djalenga Scott) only needed to sing the song about twice each and delivered this amazing song with ease.
Visit the West End Camp Video Page
Doing something like this is a great way to get your message out there and I regularly make simple videos like this for artists using the studio. An in-studio shoot only takes a few minutes to set up with all our specialist lights. Green Screen filming also available or outside on-location style videos are great fun to make - whatever you want really. For more information on the studio please contact BB Studio.
Check out this video release from local Coventry Collective COE.
The band comprise 5 chaps with varying tastes in music including freestyle rap, indie, classical, jazz and rock.
Human Race (KooKoo) is a reflection on modern life and the current fast-paced speed we seem to have to live. We are a very mixed up society.
Christmas time is here again - awesome. Big thanks to all the folks who chose to get their recordings and video projects produced with me at BB Studio. It’s really appreciated and I’ve enjoyed making them all come alive.
Many people ask why the business is called Born in a Barn - the truth is that it’s really got nothing to do with any little babies or mangers. When I set the studio up in 2004 it was cold - real cold - and I figured the phrase ‘were you born in a barn?’ was very appropriate but underpinning this was the notion that many musical artists’ careers would be born in a barn using my studio set up - and they really have.
However this year, my own bands and music has been born too.
High Command was an adventure in going back to live drumming with a band and we recorded a superb 4 track EP, played 3 gigs and made a tongue-in-cheek video. Now the band is on Winter Break (not my term!) cos Greg the guitarist is in Thailand avoiding the chill in resplendent self-indulgence!!
Cup of English (aka COE) is a new venture which started as a studio production group, for 4 individuals with similar tastes and interests. This has grown now to a 5 member band and we intend to start live rehearsals in January. The band make trance/hypnotic indie-based music (loosely) with a good few twists as you might expect from something I get involved with. To date we have 6 tracks on the Lemon Soul EP, which is growing fast into an album. This is an underground group and it’s been a wonderful refreshing project to immerse myself in. Can’t wait to get it out there - but you gotta wait!!
I myself had a great year outside of the studio with the highlight being running my 1st marathon, in Dublin. I trained for this in 8 countries and ran just a little over 1000km, plus raised over €1,200.00 charity cash for the ISPCC or ChildLine Ireland.
Enjoy yourselves this Christmas to the max, but take a bit of time to reflect on the year you have had and other people you know who may be less fortunate.
The music industry goes crazy this time of year with all the gigs and shows. Be careful enjoying yourselves.
Who knows what is coming next year with Brexit?
One thing’s for sure - there will be plenty of stuff to write songs about!!
But lastly ….. here are some big baubles!
This year we have been asked to help out at a few local events and take some video footage of various performances plus take pictures. Video is increasingly popular with everyone now and some people are happy to shoot footage themselves on their phones of course, but the results are never as good. Making videos is something BB Studio is very experienced in now, but photography is another field of expertise.
In light of this we have partnered up with a fantastic local photographer who has been shooting people for a number of years and specialises in head shots and portfolio work. Jay Deeley has his own brand called Pop-up Pix which is fairly self descriptive - he will come to your work place and shoot various portfolio pictures for use on social media, newsletters and so on.
Effortless Promotion has been created to combine our 2 services and provide an all-in-one session where you can talk to camera about your products or services or show us around your premises, which you may be renting to others (homes etc) or to the public so they feel more connected with you as a business, as well as have a photoshoot to gain great pictures.
So if you have products or services you want to shout about then get in touch and a session can be set up to provide you with all the promotional media you may need to get you going.
How old would you say the average person is who releases a track?
I work with people of all ages and I think the youngest person to record was a young lad reciting prayers, only last year. The oldest person I have ever worked with to date was 92 and still singing.
Featured here in this article is Dave Jagger - Dave is an astonishing man - he turned 70 recently and is still actively recording an album with a local band at BB Studio. He has played several gigs over the last couple of years, since being spotted, and actually works with 2 different bands from time to time. Dave is due to release his first ever single this year and more details will be divulged very soon.
Don't ever think you are are too 'anything' for music - if Dave can, we all can.
This will be short because if you read my last blog you will know I don't like blogging - but I understand it's important so here we go!
Any artist that comes to the studio I will encourage to make a simple video to go with their song since video is so important nowadays.
Matilda really doesn't need any encouragement to make a video though and has made lots with me and other studios now. The one linked too here though is very cool and took very few takes to perfect both in the singing and the filming. All we decided the song needed was some simple shots of Matilda singing the song in the studio with plain background and moody lighting - sounds simple but achieving this requires a heap of stuff - lots of lights for a start. Towards the end of filming we threw in the idea of just showing Matilda walking onto set and make a few adjustments to the gear. Some of these moments are added to the song so the viewer gets to see Matilda in a different way. It's not a new technique or anything but really works well with the sentiment of the song. Check it out:
Well the first thing to note is that I don't add blogs much! I'm not entirely sure why this is but I suspect it may have something to do with not wanting too - based on the notion that if every business was blogging away all the time, there would surely be an overload and not much would be read - so I think a little bit of substance every now and then is better than tons of bull$**t blogs all the time!!
Last year I did a heap of work with a musical journalist who is compiling, restoring and remastering works from a couple of very distinguished church organists. David Lepine and Robert Weddle were fantastic musicians and it's been a very interesting ride so far finding out about their lives/works/journeys and of course making heaps of CDs.
Hip Hop and Base and Freestyle rap Music - I do a lot of work with rappers and it's always high octane, high speed stuff which tends to not go very far. It's a shame but I do think a lot simply isn't thought out enough. My advise to rappers is to edit and rework and rethink what you're saying. Like any music - it takes time to craft it well - simply free-styling a whole bunch of info is not enough - it's very good of course it is but if the content is a bit wooly then can you expect others to like it? - make it so people can relate to it not just repeat it.
Video work - Last year saw a big increase in this which is nice. Making videos for people is an absolute pleasure and I have invested in more equipment to facilitate the production of videos even better and easier to film, like appropriate Lavalier mics, additional lighting/reflection screening and the green screen room has been repainted and upgraded with sound panels making the area even larger with better sound reproduction. It's amazing what has been filmed in this room now. If you have products you want to show off or talk about, or want to make a professional video for your website then let me know.
Demos of singing excellence - last year saw about the same level of this and i had the pleasure of working with lots of new rising stars as well as some very well honed experts. Working with vocalists is a big part of any studio and I spend a lot of time on vocals in any project. Knowing how to push for the best in someone without bringing them to tears is an art in itself. Knowing when not to push is also something i know!!
The studio is constantly evolving - there are 7 main rooms (plus the loo and outside areas) to maintain and believe me this can be a large task. Towards the end of December I threw a big party for some friends and decided to rework the Live room a little to show off my unnecessarily big drum kit which had been hidden for far too long - I actually polished it all and the cymbals which took hours. So let's end on that - if you have read this, get back in touch and let me know what you think to the new look of the Live Room with drums set up and piano moved over to accommodate it. Cheers.
So here we are - the summer has landed and we have had a few festivals already and everyone is enjoying the sun - and the wind and the rain - this is Britain!
Not letting that get in the way I am proud to be helping promote a new single by one of my fave singers Matilda Pratt, who has written a lovely song titled 'All On You'. This was released just recently on July 28th and it is available on iTunes, Spotify and many other smaller distributors.
Matilda has written 4 songs with me at BB Studio now and recorded several covers too. She has released 3 plus 1 cover, all of which can be downloaded from iTunes and elsewhere.
Matilda has many skills and many ideas, which really does help in the song production process. She generally has a complete song in terms of structure and melody that she plays as basic chord sequences on a keyboard. From this starting point we build the song together accordingly, but Matilda does like things kept minimal and natural, meaning many ideas will be thrown in to the mix before the final production is agreed.
Of course there is a video for this song and we have pushed the boundaries quite a lot with Matilda on this one. I wanted to see how acting some scenes would work with Matilda and push her to express the song differently from others she has made. So we agreed on 2 very contrasting scenarios and set about finding suitable locations.
The song lends itself to a dark and moody location describing the 'stuck in a rut' feeling and a bright happy location to emulate the resolve. So after lots of research we zoned in on using the Albany Theatre in Coventry giving a wonderful dark red, warm but moody backdrop where Matilda acts 2 characters. One is her melancholic self, dreaming around the auditorium and the other is her released self, dancing on the stage. To contrast with the closed, almost claustrophobic environment of the lonely, empty theatre, we used backdrops of massive open fields, a large lake and castle ruins, all captured from above using a drone-cam to express freedom and progression! Our drone operator has the relevant licence to film and we checked the airspace was legal to use and film in. The weather was the gamble and we had to hold firm on abandoning the day whilst hoping that the clouds were moving sufficiently fast to clear - and we were so lucky - the sun came out and gave us possibly the best filming conditions we could have wished for.
The video to 'All On You' can be seen on YouTube here:
Writing songs is one of the most exciting things about music. Not everyone has the skills, tools or determination to take an idea and push it to the point of public release. I have been helping artists through recording, mixing and sound production since 2004 at Born in a Barn Studio working with local bands and singer/songwriters of all genres. The ebb and flow of work changes and the emphasis of the studio may change, but at the core of the business is music and video production. If you have an idea - I can produce it.