Day One of the recording session began far earlier for Steve Collings, our drummer, than for the rest of the band.
It takes about three hours to mike the drums up and get a decent sound. This process involves a LOT of monotonous banging of toms, snare, and cymbals, while the EQ on each is adjusted.
As prolonged exposure to this sound (without actually being involved in creating it) can have a seriously deleterious effect on your sanity, the rest of the band pitched up around 13:00.
The singer, Dave, and I, went into the recording booth to check how things were going – and immediately exchanged smiles of excitement when we heard how damned meaty the kit was sounding, thanks to the technical skill of producer, Jason Wilson (who is also an extremely accomplished drummer) and the immense power and precision of Steve’s style behind the kit.
Once we were all gathered, we then began laying down the drum tracks.
This process involves the entire band playing, but with the drums isolated in a separate room, so that only the drum kit is actually recorded.
This means Steve has to wear headphones, which is not ideal as they can restrict his movement, but it makes for many comedy moments, as a button needs to be pressed on the recording desk in order to allow communication between the drum room and the sound booth where the rest of the band is situated. A multitude of complicated instructions were lost to the aether today, as I forgot to press that damned button, meaning Steve could hear nothing.
It takes two or three takes for a band to settle in. But by the fourth take, Steve was up to full strength on the songs, performing them rather than merely playing them. Three very usable takes quickly followed, from which Jason will sift the best bits and piece them together.
The same process was repeated with a second, more complicated song.
By the time we finished with that, we only had 45 minutes of time left, so rather than try to rush through a third song, a joint decision was made to down tools and come at the new songs fresh the next morning.