Simon Waldram

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The making of Conchology

Posted by SimonWaldram on October 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM

In 2006 I met Martin Brown through Dmusic.com - a site we were both a part of and shared our music on. Martin was from Leeds originally but had moved to Canada years before. We became friends and talked a lot about the music we were making. I had wanted to make an album for a couple of years, but I was struggling with the best way to approach it. On the demo CD I made in 2003-04 my recording set-up was pretty rudimentary and most of the songs were just me singing and playing guitar into a cheap microphone. I wanted to have something more like a full band sound for the songs I was writing at that time.

In the summer of 2007 we worked together on a short instrumental called For Her. At the time this was for a charity album I was trying to make featuring various musicians and bands from DMusic. The project fell through, but it encouraged us to work together more. After I’d said that I’d like to put other instruments on my vocal/guitar tracks Martin took demos I had made of Madeline, What Were You Thinking and On the Moon and added some extra instrumentation. The results were okay, but we both knew that we were being hampered by my practice of playing guitar and singing at the same time when recording, which wasn’t Martin enough room in the mix to work. He encouraged me record them separately. I was reluctant to do this at first, which seems kind of absurd in retrospect, but it was just what I was used to.  However I knew how much better our work could be if I tried this.

In early 2008 I finally got a decent multitrack recorder and started recording songs for Conchology. One of the first things I did was a new version of On the Moon for Martin. When I heard what he had added to it I was blown away. It was leaps and bounds from the version we had done the previous year and I could tell that we were really starting to click musically.

Despite taking quite a long time to develop, I recorded much of Conchology in one week in April of that year, including songs that didn’t make the finished album. Martin and I carried on working together until December 2008. He ended up doing production work and overdubs on 6 of the albums songs. Things got a little fraught by the end. My increasing perfectionism drove him to distraction and we had a minor falling out over Madeline, which ended with me replacing some of the parts he’d recorded and remixing it. Martin had a lot of heavy stuff happening in his life, but I was only aware of some of this. We patched things up between us quickly enough, but I’m not sure things were quite the same afterwards.

Conchology had quite a lot of outtakes. These included: The Archerfish, Girl with the Clipboard, Random Hearts, Peggy Kennedy, The Way To Your House, Summer Moon, It Wasn’t Meant and a few instrumentals. In retrospect I think It Wasn’t Meant would have fit on the album pretty well. Girl with the Clipboard ended up on a compilation for Awkwardcore Records.

There’s no way this album would have happened without Martin. As well as being a constant source of encouragement and a bottomless well of technical knowledge he was a great musician and producer and helped to take my songs to places I previously didn’t even know they could go myself. Above all he was my friend. By 2010 we had drifted apart somewhat, but when he passed away in December of that year I was heartbroken. These days I see Conchology as a way of helping to keep his memory alive.

Martin was also the brains behind Umbriel Rising and LiQuidMetamorphosis. You can check out his albums on Bandcamp (click the links).

Conchology
is available from Bandcamp, Amazon, Pebble Records, CDUnsigned and this sites' store.

Si

Categories: Releases, Collaborations, Recording

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