Album 3 - Abbey Road
I've been debating whether I should announce this project since the lockdown began, I was going to announce on 16th March but it didn't seem appropriate, I'm still not sure it is appropriate but I have some items to sell which have sell by dates and they are already covered in the branding for this project. So here we go:
January 17th 2018: it was my last day in the studio recording 'Tennessee and 48th'. The end of an 18 month process from idea to making it happen with the help of so many people. I'm sitting there feeling very emotional and smug. A little idea I once had about fulfilling a dream to record in Nashville had turned into a reality and the album we had made surpassed my wildest expectations. I was sitting at the back of the control room with Adam Kury the bass player and he asked a question.
"So what are you going to do next?"
At first I thought he was talking about how I would release the album we'd just made, but he wasn't, as he clarified.
"You've just made something pretty special and lots of people have been a part of that, what will you do after this comes out?"
I'll be honest, I'd not given this any thought at all. I was so consumed in the Nashville project I didn't think to look past it, and as i sat there I realised this was probably a mistake I made with my first album which ended up with me becoming very jaded and having a near break down at the end of that promo cycle. I didn't have anything to work towards. I'm a big project person, so I like having that goal... Adam was challenging me to make a new goal before fully completing my current one. I liked this idea.
Me: "Well in an ideal world I'd love to relive these last ten days, same studio and the same musicians, but I don't think I'll be able to drum up the support required to do that, even though what we have achieve is incredible. I funded this by saying it's a once in a life time thing, doing it twice dilutes that."
Adam: "Well, where would you like to go then?"
At this point, Dean Dichoso turned around, intrigued by what we were talking about he piped up: "We could do it in New York, I can get us into Electric Ladyland studios" - Now as much as this would be very cool for me as some of my favourite albums have been made there and New York is my favourite city, I didn't think I'd be able to sell that too well. New York isn't really known as being a place you HAVE to go to record, Nashville certainly has that factor. Dean understood and then suggested LA. I told him that the same thing applies, most people see LA as the place where actors and actresses go to try and make it, not musicians.
Dean: "Well where then?"
I'll be honest, I already knew the answer as soon as Dean had interrupted, but I liked building the suspense.
Me: "There is only one place that for me would top the experience of what we have had here this week."
I paused. I had butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. My cheeks were hurting, i'm been smiling a lot that day, and this was taking me over the edge.
I realised I'd paused for too long.
Me: "Abbey Road. Studio 2."
Dean and Adams response isn't publishable before the watershed, but let's just say I got them very excited.
Abbey Road is the place I've dreamed of recording since I became obsessed with the Beatles at 8 years old. It's a mythical place for me. I've stood outside it and got serious goosebumps. The home of all those great Beatles records and so many more.
When I was having a clear out of the things I'd left in my parents old house before I went to Nashville (the things that inspired the song Shoebox), I found a letter from Abbey Road in which they told me they didn't have work experience students. 14 year old me kept that letter because I was just thrilled to have a piece of paper with the letter head on. Unfortunately I threw it out in my ruthless clear out.
There are many options of how I can make an album there. The studio alone isn't cheap. £2500 a day. We had 9 days in the studio to make 'Tennessee and 48th' - although we hadn't done much pre-production, but you can see that if I wanted that much time, it would cost the entire of my Nashville budget (which included studio, musicians, travel, accommodation, videos, marketing etc). I'm going to do a blog post about all the different options and how much money they'd all cost over the next week... this e-mail is already long enough, but I can tell you that the top amount I'd need to make the album that I really want to make and make use of those epic live rooms. That will be about £50000... Yes there are cheaper options and I wouldn't be unhappy with any of those if I got to record at Abbey Road, but I've never actually failed at one of my big projects and despite the fact that we live in strange times, I don't intend on that happening now.
So I've been working hard over the last 2 years putting this plan together... And as when I started the Nashville project, I've got a new merch store set up (CLICK HERE) which has some wonderful new items. There is some BBQ Sauce, Chutney, Chill Sauce, Tea (the items which have forced me to make the announcement now due to the branding on the bottles which was in place before the lockdown was announced), loads of new clothing options too and some other little things.
There was supposed to be a few more things (some tours and special events) which have all been put on hold for now, and I have some other merch ideas which were nearly ready, but factories have shut down etc... but they can come later in the year. They'll also be a couple of new EPs out this year which I've not quite finalised.
As with last time. Every penny I earn from the sale of theses items will go towards this project, all my royalties from Spotify or other streaming platforms and my songwriting royalties will also go towards it. So please consider streaming me as much as you can (make playlists of your favourite independent acts to leave on overnight!)
I was planning on doing a house show tour this summer, but that looks doubtful and hard to plan... but why not do virtual house gigs? If you'd like to set up a virtual house party on zoom, and have me play for you and your friends or just the people you live with, then get in touch and we'll arrange a time. This will be a pay what you want thing!
I've currently invested a huge amount in this new stock and some of the promo material which I've got coming up, and I'm hoping that this project will inspire people like the Nashville one did. I think I did a good job of making those who helped with that feel like they'd come along with me, and I'm intending on doing the same. Those who donate or buy merch will get sent a link to a new private facebook group in which i'll post weekly updates (if there are any) and i'll be doing some exclusive live streams from in the studio and showing the behind the scenes stuff.
This is going to be even more challenging due to what is going on in the world. The original plan was to be in the studio early next year, but I think I'm probably going to have to put that back, but I will do my best to do it some time in 2021.
If you have any ideas on how I can help to raise this, please let me know.