Thanks to BBC Music Introducing I have, over the past few years, had the privilege of visiting some historic locations, from BBC’s own Broadcasting House to Abbey Road Studios and of course Maida Vale Studios.
This though was the first time a band I’ve been involved in championing through BBC Introducing In The Channel Islands (previously BBC Introducing In Guernsey) have had a chance to record at any of these as The Recks headed into the legendary Studio Four to record a three song session.
First off is why this particular room is so legendary when Studio Three was the last place Bing Crosby recorded and Studio Five is BBC Radio’s famed Live Lounge?
The fame of Studio Four comes down to its connection with pioneering radio DJ John Peel and his Peel Sessions as this is where many of those sessions, some of which have themselves entered the stuff of legend, were recorded between 1967 and 2004.
So, now The Recks can be added to a list of bands who’ve recorded there including the likes of The Fall, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, David Bowie and many more.
Even as a bystander the experience of just being in the studio during the session was tremendous.
After navigating the labyrinthine corridors of the studio complex, which marry a vintage and retro feel with modern equipment and something akin to being on a submarine, we headed into the studio.
This was surprisingly cosy but felt alive with cables running everywhere ready for a multitude of instruments to be captured and a real sense of this being perfect for capturing music in a way I can’t quite described.
This was only added to as producer/engineer Guy Worth had the band set up precisely in such a way as to capture their sound without ever having heard them before and, from the off, even the unmixed recordings were sounding excellent.
Over the course of the next four hours The Recks recorded several takes of newer track The Milk’s Gone Bad, longstanding favourite Train Wreck and live favourite She Ain’t No Revelator.
Despite the potential for the studio to be rather intimidating the mood from the off was informal and relaxed, yet focussed — testament to both the atmosphere of the room itself and that created by Guy, and the band’s own work ethic and how well rehearsed they are.
After a few takes were recorded the band (and us hangers on) decamped to the control room to listen back to the unmixed tracks which sounded great straight away, before a decision was made on whether anymore takes were needed.
Once the main tracks were all recorded the band, along with Guy, identified aspects that needed any extra work leading to a few sections of over dubs or multi-tracking in a way that, given the live aspect, surprised me to start with but ultimately led to a better sounding finished track and again the astuteness of Guy in picking out which bits required attention was terrific, as was how the band reacted to them.
This was followed by a quick but thorough mixing session in the impressive (and enormous) Protools set up that took the initial rough mixes and, within a matter of minutes, refined them to a high standard.
Given the number of bands going through the studios for BBC Introducing this weekend it would be easy for the end product to feel like a rush job but, based on what we heard, that was far from the case as all three tracks captured a balance between The Recks’ formidable live energy with a hint of studio polish.
Meanwhile just being there to see and hear this being recorded was a privilege and the session was broadcast as part of BBC Music Introducing In The Channel Islands on Saturday, December 7th and you can hear it by clicking here.