Bankesters Recording Blog – Day 2

Phil Bankester, peré of the lovely and talented Bankester family, has agreed to provide a running blogumentary of their home recording sessions this week.

Day two didn’t seem as productive as day one. We tracked instruments on two songs, vocals on one, and vocals on one of the songs from day one. The biggest hang up of the day was the slowest song on the CD. How do you play an emotional song at 50 bpm and still maintain interest and energy? I’m sure we struggled with that for at least three hours, then broke for a late lunch feeling mildly depressed. This should be an easy song to cut but it wasn’t.

Once again, producer to the rescue. (This isn’t a series about Stephen Mougin, but since we’re working with a producer for the first time, you’ll hear a lot about him.) After lunch and some discussion, a decision was made to change the feel of the click track. Sure enough, the difference was significant.

We started fresh and had a track in three takes. Once the basic rhythm tracks were in place, it was time for some overdubs, starting with Kyle on the dobro.

Hey everybody, it’s Kyle Triplett here from The Bankesters.

Day 2 of this recording project has proven to be very long and challenging, yet highly rewarding. As it turns out, one of the most simple, slow tunes on the album has proven to be the most difficult to record. For me, a big part of this was due to the fact that I was recording dobro, while I’m primarily a banjo player. This was one track where I was extremely thankful to have a patient engineer at the controls, being very gracious with the ‘we-can-redo-that’ button. All in all, this song was stressful, yet provided an amazing learning experience for me as a musician. I learned more about note choices, phrasing and timing from that one song than I have from multiple sessions in the past.

Stephen Mougin has yet again proven his worth as a producer by drawing on his vast experiences with top-notch players to give me and us hints and ideas for how to play these songs and make them sound right. His knowledge and ear for music are second to none, and that really shows when he’s developing a song in the studio. A great producer can really make a band better than they’ve ever been, and Mojo is doing just that with us. In only two days we’ve got almost 5 songs completely done, and that’s mostly thanks to Stephen.

While these first two days have been tiring and fun, I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the week. We’ve got some great tunes ahead of us to knock out, and I’m sure we’re going to have a blast doing it!

Oh yeah, one last thing: my Nechville banjo has never sounded better. Thanks, Tom, for such a killer instrument!