It was a great idea and involved international cooperation and the internet. Friends in Serbia were recording an album, would I be involved with recording and mixing? The answer was of course yes, if I could make time. This was 12 months ago. Today I hopefully sent off the last minor mix changes and the album will be mastered and due for release. So why so long you say? Well, life never goes quite as planned.
The recording moved dates until the New Year, fine except I would no longer be kicking my heels with little to do, but touring the States for a month, followed by a similar period in the UK and Europe. The answer was to send a deputy, a role gamely filled by Martin my MU Studios accomplice. He took some convincing. Fly to Serbia? What will it be like? I assured him he would be taken for some fantastic meals and would drink too much Rakia, the spirit of choice of the region. He quizzed me about the studio and I convinced him it would be fine, as indeed it was.
He returned, fed and watered with tales of meat and beer. He had left having done the majority of the backing tracks, so we were on our way. Over the next few months things slowed slightly but overdubs and vocals were added. Then files arrived with all manner of instrumentation!
I was away on tour when I received the first few tracks. Downloading the multiple guitar tracks, the drums, bass, vocals, trumpets, accordion, cymbalom, conga, log drum, I could go on... Days off were spent searching for fast internet connections to download this mammoth project.
I compiled a few rough mixes and sent them off to Novi Sad, the picturesque city by the Danube, and home of Exit Festival. In Novi Sad my mixes were studied and comparisons drawn. Could they be bassier? More punchy? More guitars? A month of tracks being sent back and forth and the frustrations began to mount. We had hit a communication barrier. Tracks were now given to a few other sound engineers and mixes done in Serbia. I heard nothing for a month or so.
Out of the blue, whilst doing festivals and snowed under with work, some more tracks appeared. "Your mixes are as good, if not better than the others, and we like the feel more.” The question was how to progress. The inevitable happened and the internet communication had to cease.
I received almost all the tracks, some were still being recorded, and a date to go over was set. We set a week aside and I flew to Serbia. I was greeted by my old friend Bob (Slobodan) the bass player, and my soon to be new friend Perar the guitarist and singer. We had a week and we got stuck in!
Sitting in the make shift studio (long story) we ploughed through the mixes completing 9 in 5 days. We did it with looks and half spoken language. When it's not right you can tell by the face, when it is good then the face beams. We worked hard and with very little argument. By day 5 we had mixed and mastered the album and I felt very proud. Getting home I still feel proud, not just of the mixes, but the whole album and the spirit that got it to where it is.
Let's hope it gets heard and enjoyed.
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