Chapter 75: Studio Animals


Laura Theis.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


Dear Diary,

Well, Sunday was an enjoyable and fairly exhausting 9 hours in the studio, recording tracks for a Laura Theis album I'm producing.  It was a day of checklists: 


The first session for the new Laura Theis album.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on




Young guns go for it.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


Fine dining:


Enjoying the buttery biscuit bass.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


Sleepy things:


Sleepy Thing.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


More sleepy things:


More Sleepy Things.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


Some beautiful beautiful harmonies:


Rosie Caldecott, Laura Theis and Ditte Elly.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


A beautiful beautiful audience:


Laura's Got Talent: the judges.

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


A super-efficient engineer in the shape of Mr Dean McCarthy (ably assisted by the equally splendid Brendan Gylee):


Dean & Brendan work their faerie magic...

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


And, of course, Instagram.

There was also table tennis, and nearly freezing Ed Pope to death in the car park, and Steve Hay playing — of all things — a Scotsman, and all being wrapped up by 9pm.

The idea was to record the tracks in front of an audience, in the hope that it would provide enough of a focus for Laura and her band of embellishments to knock down 8 tracks in a 2 and a bit hour 'gig', instead of the usual studio experience of taking 5 hours to get a song 'just right'.  I realised afterwards it was actually putting a lot of pressure on Laura, who was suffering from a heavy cold and apparently was rendered speechless by the time she got home.  But the audience really did make the difference, stoically cheering us on even after they'd just heard the same few bars played about 12 times.  So, massive thanks to them!  (And even more massive thanks to Hannah, who was there from 10am and heard everything 1200 times!  And who made brownies.)

And having listened to the tracks, I think we got what we needed it.  I think it sounds like a good pair of pants: loose where it needs to be loose, and tight where it needs to be tight.

Actually, sorry Diary, that's a horrible analogy.

Anyway, it reminded me how much I love studios.  By the end of it, it also reminded me how much hard work it can be spending a long time in a studio trying to capture the right performance.  But despite that, it reminded me that I am, fundamentally, a studio animal.  If I had to work for the rest of my life writing, arranging and recording music in a studio... I think I would love coming to work every day, and never be bored.

To me they're still these magical places, full of exquisite toys.  They're also deeply familiar, like a comfort blanket.

At some point during the session, someone asked me why I never tried getting a job working in a studio.

I realised... I don't actually know the answer.



A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


The pixie troops assemble...

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on


Which Instagram filter best brings out the Steinway logo?

A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on



A photo posted by James Bell (@jamesbellcentral) on

By James Bell

Trad singer, songwriter and romantic fundamentalist.

Leave a comment