Before I begin please indulge me in a moment of thanks - my album “Hard Light” was digitally released one week ago today (05.06.14) and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you to everyone who got their copy as well as those that have shared the album with their friends. It is excited to be back with new songs to sing and concerts to play for you.
Now, another look in the booth, over the console, and in the writing room- this time with the track “Someone That Makes You Happy”.
"Someone" was the latest bloomer on the album - we were well into basic tracking when the need arose for a sing-along, uptempo song, and rather than try to salvage a song for the sake of finishing it I decided to take a step back and write from scratch. Once the chorus was worked out over a few voice memos I was thrilled and began to work backwards, building verses and a bridge that would propel the song along. Words took shape and I outlined a simple lyrical plea- through all faults and shortcomings I simply wanted to make the one I loved…happy. I wrapped up the demo, sent it around, and within a couple months we were taking a break from a vocal session to listen back to Miles McPherson’s drum overdubs, cut from his Nashville studio and agreed upon over FaceTime. Truly, record-making in the connected age.
Overall, this album has a great deal of emphasis and effort in the rhythm section’s groove and “Someone” is one of my favorite examples of a success I cannot claim credit for. While Miles’ drums bounce in the choruses Chris Chaney’s bass part gallops along. Great effort was made to make sure everything from electric guitars to egg shakers and triangle (yes, triangle) played nice with the elements we had built.
Originally I had recorded piano throughout the entire song, but as fate would have it we would end up tracking vocals at a small studio with an original Wurlitzer 200A and I could not resist replacing some grand piano parts with it. It took some effort to get around the crackly old knobs but became entirely worth it once we heard the new sounds in the track. Synths were fairly basic but I created some different textures by running them through a version of an Eventide H3000 on its “Crystal Echoes” preset at nearly 100%. The shimmer ended up adding a great brightness to the song, almost string-like at times that grows in intensity to the end.
"Someone" involved yet another midnight oil background vocal session of ooh’s and ah’s and harmonies all around. Much of it came from the demo, my interpretation of "what would the Heartbreakers do?" and from our desire to make this song the fun, top-of-your-lungs number on the album. You’ll be hearing it live this summer and I hope you dance along.
On iTunes: http://smarturl.it/hardlight
From demo to master, “When I Saw Your Ghost" is one of my favorites songs for the upcoming album. It was written on a delightfully out-of-tune upright piano in the same room that inspired the song, and through an evening or two I sat alone in an old, dust-filled room with one lamp and my voice recorder to capture the arrangement and lyrical ideas.
Drums were recorded in Nashville by Miles McPherson who completely took over the song from first snare hits to finish, having the foresight to discard my somewhat clunky drum ideas and instead march the song along with a brilliant, danceable beat in the choruses. In the demo phase producer Jeremy Rubolino and myself envisioned a slinky sort of bass-playing that only a fretless could really pull off, and much like the rest of this record we just went for it and called our “dream list” fretless player Tony Franklin. He graciously agreed to work with miscreants like ourselves and solidified the heartbeat of the song with his playing. I love how loud he is mixed in the choruses and would keep turning the fader up if I could- I often solo’d the drum and bass tracks on the console to simply laugh in awe of how far and wonderfully my song had come along thanks to an amazing rhythm section.
Like most of this record we were able to cut guitars in North Hollywood with a few choice old Fenders and Marshalls and the capable hands of Bruce Kulick adding a dramatic push to the big sections. I played a few leads in the chorus but opted instead to give the track more “lift” with some Prophet and Minimoog synth, adding width and the vibe that only twisty, unpredictable analog synths can do.
Perhaps my favorite part about recording “When I Saw Your Ghost” was not any of these but rather the night of recording background vocals for the song. Adam (Bialik), Jeremy and myself arrived one night with three headphones, one mic and some good bourbon for a home session, mapping out the three harmony parts and singing them live in the room. One of us would be a foot from the mic, the other a few feet away and turned around, another a few feet back still to achieve the best blend possible. We sang, yelled and chanted until voices were fried. The results were exciting and added a wonderful energy to the vocal.
With the many sections and “ear candy” throughout the song, “When I Saw Your Ghost” was a behemoth to behold on the console- markings for vocals, guitars, chimes and shakers extended beyond reach and all patiently waited for their cue to bring the song to life. It was a joy to make and I hope you enjoy it as well- you can find it on www.andrewlondonmusic.com as a free download or on iTunes today.