Today was a little different. Cleg and Biff worked away on the remainder of their overdubs with little change in volume or intensity, the walls of the house beginning to sag from the constant sonic bombardment. But Tom and I had a mission – one that took us into the outside world.
As you may have gathered, our studio is not a typical one. It’s a house and along with all advantages of comfort and Edwardian aesthetics come the disadvantages of background noise bleed. Thankfully, this hasn’t been a big problem for us. We had the beep of one reversing lorry outside a few days ago, but we weren’t recording anything at the time so it didn’t matter. The occasional bird tweet isn’t enough to make any kind of significant dent and, in truth, I rather like such natural invasions anyway.
It was one such chirrupy contribution that made us think: rather than them coming to the record, why not take the record to them? So Tom and I went on a jaunt down to the seafront armed with a Tascam portable stereo recorder. Our intention was to capture some squawky vox pops.
But someone must’ve told the bird union that we were intending to get some free samples to put on our album. I’ve never known the place to be so empty. We encountered barely a feather. We got a bit of miscellaneous bird chatter, but it was the scream of seagulls we particularly wanted and they were nowhere to be found. It was definitely a mistake not to have brought chips. They love chips. Just goes to show that one mustn’t be too frugal when making a record. We’re going to try the port on Friday, followed by the dump. Seeking out the detritus of human industry is our best bet in our hunt for winged scavengers.
Still, we recorded the sound of the sea under the pier, a selection of laps and gurgles and the general low heave of an ebbing tide. We also captured one of my favourite sounds – the crunch of feet on pebbles. I used to take regular long walks along this stretch of coastline when I was a boy, and that sound is as familiar to me as the pace of my own reasoning.
All records, no matter how fantastical, are in some way autobiographical. This one just got a little more so.