“Simple piano-vocal arrangements.” we said.
“Done by Christmas.” we said.
Well, the songs had different plans. No sooner had we laid out our piano and vocal tracks than the songs started calling for a lazy backbeat, hinting at a suave guitar lick or the hum of a B3 organ. And when the song speaks… you listen, right? Regardless of the ensuing logistical difficulties or hours spent arranging and writing parts for a band of ever growing proportions.
The other day I left the studio to make a cup of tea and returned to the sunny strum of a mandolin sample that Hughie had dropped onto the previously solemn piano ballad “Stop and Wait for You”. “So I guess we’re taking one of those on the road now?” I asked. I wasn’t complaining… it sounded fantastic.
Synths and samples are great writing tools, the range and quality available is impressive and the possibilities can be overwhelming. The trick is, in Hughie’s words, to never put anything on a track that detracts from the song. As amusing as it is to insert inappropriately brash loops into a traditional arrangement (jazz-kazoo-quartet-solo…? I think YES), the samples that inspire great parts for our session muso’s are the ones that bring a colour that doesn’t muddy the song, but only adds to its sonic vibrancy.
That said, mandolin players: hit us up.