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Blog: Album: FINISHED

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I woke at the UNGODLY HOUR of 7.30am on Saturday morning thinking "What's all the noise? Is there ARMED CONFLICT down the corridor?" I then remembered that I was Chez Pattison and that that's what it's like in house full of small children. I crept gingerly to the loo hoping not to be notice, but was immediately spotted by Miss L Pattison. "Hello Mark!" she said cheerfully. When I emerged from my ablutions she was stood in exactly the same position, only this time GRINNING HUGELY, clutching a ukelele.

I realised I had absolutely no chance of going back to bed, so accepted my fate and thus found myself giving ukelele lessons at 8am, ending with a ROUSING family singalong of "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain". This is NOT what usually happens in MY house on a Saturday morning!

I got given poached eggs for breakfast, which was the start of an EGG ODYSSEY for the rest of the day - Egg sandwiches and Traditional Studio Egg Custards in the afternoon, Pizza Fiorentina (sp. - EGG) for tea and SCRAMBLED egg sandwich for breakfast next day. EGG TASTIC!

Anyway, Tim and I were soon ON THE ROAD, heading for Derby where we were due to finish mixing the album and, if possible, MASTER it to boot. We were met by Mr R Newman just after 10am and we FLEW into action. One of Tim's MOST GRATE innovations as Producer of these sessions has been The Spreadsheets Of Varying Degrees Of Thort And Finality, and this time we had The Spreadsheet Of FINAL Finality to tell us what needed doing. In a fairly brief time we therefore:

  • Added a small crowd cheer to near the end of It Only Works Because You're Here
  • Turned down the drums a bit and added effects to some backing vocals on We're Old And We're Tired (and we want to go home)
  • Re-did the line about The Charlotte in Leicester's Trying To Tell Me Something and applied FUZZ to the bass in the choruses
  • Turned down the vocals and responses in the instrumental/CLASSICAL PIECE "Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez", then added some reverb to them.
  • Listened to the final CACKLE of DOCTOR DOOM on Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid and decided to leave it in after all.
  • Turned down the strings on the middle section of Red Black Gold
  • Recorded IT Guy Addendum

    We WHIZZED through it, then I stood up and, for the first time in these sessions, SAT in The Production Chair. As EXECUTIVE PRODUCER I've tended to sit around at the back or, indeed, at HOME, but I had a big PLAN for One Of The Walls Of My House Fell In so needed to take the wheel. The song sounded a bit UNLOVED so I went AT IT with a big list of changes - we HACKED OUT vocals, drums, bass and violins all OVER the shop, all trying to make the SOUND of it more like the WORDS, until it was sounding WELL BLEAK. It was doing this that reminded me how GRATE The Validators are as a ROCK TEAM - Tim BAULKED somewhat at my suggestions, but happily let me have a go at them and then came up with OTHER suggestions which we then similarly tried. GO TEAM!

    The beginning was giving us some difficulty... until I realised we could just REMOVE it all together! RADICAL LAST MINUTE REMIX ACTION! When THAT was done Tim pointed out that the start of the song now sounded like a BAVARIAN DRINKING SONG, so i was back in the live room to re-do THAT.

    If all THAT wasn't exciting enough it was then time for the GAPS! Doing THE GAPS is, I think, the BEST bit of ANY album recording - for one thing it's the LAST thing you have to do, so it means it's all nearly finished, and it's also EXTREME INTUITIVE FUN. There's something GRATE about all three of you shouting "NOW!" at the same time when you know EXACTLY when the next song has to start.

    We also did the SEGUES at this time. MAN ALIVE, but there are a LOT of segues on this album! Amongst the HIGHLIGHTS were Best Behaviour into All The Good Men (crowd applause becomes hen night), All The Good Men into We Can Start Having Fun (SUBLIME merging of dying bass note into violin DRONE - we "checked" this one several times because it was SO VERY EXCITING), and My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once into It Only Works Because You're Here (NINE - count them, NINE - telephone rings, starting BEFORE the former's finished, through a gap, then OVER the intro of the latter). There's several other ones too but those are my favourites.

    JUST as we were finishing it off The Tiger arrived. Tim hopped into his car with a CD and drove off for some SHOPPING also LISTENING while The Tiger sat in The Producer Chair whilst I went back to the live room the re-do the vocals for our version of "Glory Days" for a Bruce Springsteen covers album. I'd originally Anglicised the words ("senior school" instead of "high school", "cricket" instead of "baseball", that sort of thing) but Mr J Jervis was slightly afeared that The Boss might OBJECT so as we were in the studio anyway we thought we'd sort it out.

    Tim arrived back just as we'd finished, happy with what he heard and eager to go SLEDGING, so headed home. Tom went and sat in HIS car for a listen (HOT STUDIO TIP: listening to stuff on different sorts of speakers is a REALLY good idea) whilst Robbie and I went to the PUB. On the way he said "It's come out sounding a bit WEIRD really hasn't it?" and I suddenly realised, actually, YES IT HAS. If you've heard the single version of Do The Indie Kid you'll know it has some RATHER RUM sections to it and, to be honest, that's a pretty good indicator of what the whole album's like. There's really an AWFUL LOT of bits where one of us has had a GRATE IDEA and, well, DONE IT!

    The Tiger arrived 48 minutes later with a few changes to be made and on the way back we rang Producer Pattison to CHECK if these were OK. He had a couple of EXTRA changes which had occurred to him on the way home, and these we ENACTED.

    And then that was that - we had an ALBUM! There were photographs, there was HUGGING, there was faint DISBELIEF, but soon we were in The Tigermobile heading back to Leicester for the second night of the Comedy Festival.

    Tom and I listened to the album all the way back at EXTREMELY HIGH VOLUME. There was a lot of GIGGLING and EXCITEMENT. It sounds UTTERLY BLOODY FANTASTIC!

    posted 10/2/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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