News and Features
In the studio: How Bijou's Lost Roots album was recorded
Singer songwriter Wendy McKinley A.K.A. Bijou recorded her debut album at the famous NAM studios. Find out how she got on with the pressure of working with some industry hot shots.
Bijou is from Shepton Mallet
On Monday 19 May 2008 I was booked into NAM recording studios for a rehearsal day with a session drummer called Rob Brian who currently tours with Sousxie and the Banshees.
I also worked with lead guitarist Wayne Smith who I had previously been in a band with for 13 years called Centrpell. However Wayne rehearsed with me for seven weeks before we went into the studio so he knew exactly what he was doing.
I have never worked with a session drummer before but Monday morning went so well. It was great to have a great drummer and guitarist behind me, it made my songs sound complete.
Tuesday the real work of recording started. The drums and my guide acoustic guitar and vocal tracks were recorded. Rob was downstairs and I was upstairs in the vocal booth recording.
I knew I had my work cut out but I didn't realise it would be such a draining week. I put so much energy into my album. I was working between 10-11 hour days and just going home to bed and getting ready for the next day.
Wednesday Wayne the lead guitarist came in the studio with me to record his parts. Again it's not until you're in the spotlight of recording until you feel that this is the real thing.
Thursday was most probably the hardest day for me as I not only had to record the acoustic guitar but the bass lines. We cracked on with the bass guitar which took a best part of the day, although I had written the songs and had a good idea of bass lines as I also play the acoustic guitar and sing.
It was interesting to see how the technology side of it works and how much actual time and fine listening the engineer, Rob Dalgety (who is also the sound engineer for Sousxie and the Banshees) puts his expertise at hand. Rob has also engineered for The Mission. His highly skillful and perfectionist ability just went over the top of my head!
I felt absolutely exhausted by 11pm and had to go for a night cap in my local before I hit my pillow just to wind down from the entire creativeness and buzzing around my head. I loved every minute of this, it's something I've always wanted to do, something that I love to do and something for me.
Friday was a day of singing and I had been training up my partner's daughter Mischa Stride for backing vocals. Rob recorded my lead vocals. It felt great because the songs I created started with an acoustic guitar and vocals.
Now I felt like I had a big band behind me. The excitement of hearing the layers of different instruments building around me just gave my songs an element of real strengths. Mischa then recorded her backing vocals which were done absolutely brilliant.
We left there at 23:25 feeling completely drained but also I was on a high. I had the weekend off to wind down and then back again Monday to mix the album. It was already sounding funky.
My time at NAM studios was such a great experience. I'd like to thank Nick Allen, the manager of NAM, and to the rest of you for making my album so great.
last updated: 03/09/2008 at 16:21