Friday, 30 October 2015

frankie machine has been shipwrecked on a desert island

Long-term visitors to IASB (as precisely nobody is referring to this website) may remember that four years ago, shortly after the birth of my daughter, I played keyboards and guitar for my friend's band, Frankie Machine, at the IndieTracks festival.

In the months prior to that gig, we'd rehearsed like I never have done for any other band. Point being, it's so much easier to just blast your way through things when you have the cover of the LOUD pedal. The thing about these songs is, there's really nowhere to hide - we're all playing delicate acoustic guitar parts, the keyboards are the same - so any mistakes really stick out!

(It has always reminded me of this Morrissey / Vini Reilly outake)

Anyway, after rehearsing the songs for a couple of months we did the gig and the plan was to record the songs super-quickly while they were fresh in our minds. But then real life got in the way - for good and bad - and the recordings stalled.

Rob (aka Frankie) lives 'round the corner from our old house but we still sent files backwards and forwards via DropBox as if we were taking part in some kind of transatlantic COLLAB - the upload speed was often so slow that it would have been quicker to walk to his house with the files on a USB stick.

The songs gradually started coming together and I spent a good portion of the intervening years badgering Rob/Frankie to finish them off, even offering my services as half of a cack-handed two-man drumming option as that seemed to be a sticking point. Plus I offered mixing assistance/unfounded opinions.

I'm really pleased to say the album is "coming out" (it seems very grand way to put it when it's self-released, mainly through Bandcamp but still). It's so nice to hear these songs finally finished and I'm really proud to be involved.

After years when I was the bossiest bugger (aka creative driving force) of any band I was part of, it's really cool to just turn up, add some little bits, and then leave it to someone else to write the damn things. With Johnny Domino, it basically took me SEVEN YEARS before I ceded any level of creative control! Fun for all the family.

Listen to the album in full (you can even Pay What You Like for it) here

As well as the songs which we learned up for the gig, Rob always likes to include a few little instrumental tracks and there are three on this album. In my mind, I recorded all my bits for these on the same night, which doesn't seem likely at all.

But when I listen to them, I'm downstairs in the study of our old house. Mrs. D is out for the night, Little Miss D is sleeping upstairs and I'm recording in the cold room of a house which is making us all fairly miserable. I've seen enough episodes of Classic Albums to know that environment can't help but have an influence on recordings in some way.

Even though listening to those tracks takes me right back, on the (almost) anniversary of us selling the house they might be my favourite bits on the album.

We've come a LONG way, baby.


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