It's 8.30 am and the sun (remember that thing, Londoners?) is beginning to reappear in the skies over London. I'm waiting at Whitechapel tube station for a Hammersmith & City line (the pink one) train to Edgware Road in West London, and it's rush hour. And I have a guitar and my huge pedalboard of effects (imagine a huge plastic briefcase)
In a magnificent feat of human Tetris, I manage to squeeze into the packed carriage, the pedalboard parallel with the doors and rather too close for comfort to my fellow commuters' legs. Eye rolls ensue...
Meanwhile, bassist Carry is almost at the studio, and almost fighting with one commuter who throws his weight around to get into the lifts at Edgware Road. The joys of travelling in London!
Arriving from Hackney in the north, drummer Jack is playing his own game of human Tetris, trying to navigate the crush while carrying two large cymbals on his back and looking like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
The drama of the rush hour doesn't peturb us though - we have songs to record!
We found Chris on Facebook in the London Musician's Network group - he's working on a production course and needs a band to record, so we decide to record three tracks.
Two will be versions of our songs Falling and Silenzio, played without the electronic backing, with the goal of releasing them as such.
The third track is an improvisation which came together the last time we were recording, in October 2017. It's quite funky, features excellent drumming and funky bass, and will lend itself to the addition of some weird electro (that's where I come in haha)
Despite the fact that the three of us haven't been in a studio together since October, we don't even mention it until after the session, proud of ourselves for having remembered the songs and played them well!
I managed a few runthroughs of the tracks, making sure I could remember the lyrics, and I know we all listened to the demo of the funky jam track, but aside from that I feel that when good musicians with a good relationship come together, they equal more than the sum of their parts. This is what we need to work on in bands. You can spend 8 hours a day practising your solos but if you can't build and maintain that chemistry and communication, you won't be able to exploit all the hard work that a group of musicians have each spent time on, away from the band practise.
When at high school, we had a visit from an Indonesian Gamelan orchestra. When we arrived at the music room, we were instructed to remove our shoes, in keeping with tradition (giving the practice a spiritual connotation) and asked not to step over the instruments. It was explained that the Indnonesian musicians believe there to be an invisible thread from the instrument up to heaven.
This is a beautiful idea, encompassing our ideas about where creativity comes from and "God given talent". I have carried a similar idea around with me since then - playing with certain musicians, I feel the invisible string is between our heads, the music connecting our thoughts. I definitely have this feeling with the others in Temporal Comet, even if the three of us don't get to play together as often as I'd like (Carry and myself play together almost every week in some shape or form!).
I suppose the experience is recounted in order to give you a sense that when going into a studio environment or on stage, nothing is more important than confidence.
"I know the songs
I believe in the music
I feel supported by the others in the band
We started properly at 10 am and had finished the 3 tracks by 2pm. Jack had to rush off to play a gig so Carry and I worked on overdubbing bass, guitar and synthesizers before leaving around 4pm. I will go back this Friday and record vocals, so stay tuned on social media for updates!
Most importantly, enjoy your music.