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Steve Ison
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Steve Ison

1/29/2009 11:17:04 AM

Dream dream dream..
I meet up with my mate Harper Stephens every 2 weeks (a truly inspirational songwriter imho and my favourite guitarist in the world) where we agree to write a new song each beforehand to play for one another..Its a way for me of not drifting too far off my creative centre and a little bit of self-created pressure to keep working and developing my songwriting and actually completing songs rather than leaving loads of scattered ideas..

For fun in the pub after we were both trying to envision the perfect scenario for recording an album.One where money was absoloutly no object..A luxurious dream..

The best picture got to be booking out a decent studio in Cornwall (very beautiful south of england county) in the summer with a great engineer into the kind of music we do and able to get a great,vibey organic sound...A place full of magical strange instruments to experiment and play round with to colour the songs..

We could record for 5 days maybe-and have the weekends off...It would be remote and in beautiful nature-but not too remote-as you'd need a good pub nearby..

Since i think you need SOME time constraint and pressure to create your best,it would be for about 4 months to finish 2 albums..
With money to pay session fees to outside musicians,board/living allowance,studio rent etc i reckon the cost would be something like £100,000....

I genuinelly believe in the power of creative visualisation-and what you put your will and focus on can come true..The cynic in me has its doubts tho..

Still its a great dream..:)

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Hugh Hamilton

1/29/2009 11:29:49 AM

You could trim your budget by including Hugo for occasional visits during your extended retreat and hot having to pay a cent. I do really enjoy Harper's guitar work on your stuff so maybe I could just play tambourine or take some pics to document the fun.

I had a dream a few nights back that Eric Lichter, who runs his own intimate and well-equipped commercial studio in Connecticut, bought a giant empty mill in my locale and invested a couple million bucks in equipping it. This was no 2-minute dream, seemed like it was hours. I went all through that building and it was a friggin' music empire (lol), complete with venue and label.

I can tell you that if you wanted to block out something like 4 months with a guy like him in real life, you wouldn't have to pay nearly as much as you cite.

If I had the full resources to host both of you in a properly equipped studio I'd do it in an instant, Steve. I hope your dream comes true and I think you're absolutely right - you've got to have the dream before you can make it happen. Go for it!

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Hugh Hamilton

1/29/2009 11:32:56 AM

And my further contribution to your dream (though I suppose it's somewhat unlikely to be yours) would be for you to hit the road in support of the album. And I'd be seeing Hugo+1 on the guest list at a sold out show at my favorite Philly venue!

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Hugh Hamilton

1/29/2009 11:37:39 AM

Steve, in all seriousness if you'd ever truly consider jumping in on that scale I can think of several studios in the US that could be perfect for you and it really wouldn't be nearly as expensive as you say, especially if you could scale the studio time down.

I'll stop slobbering all over your blog now (lol) - best wishes and good luck to you always, Steve.

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1/29/2009 11:44:37 AM

---------"and able to get a great,vibey organic sound...A place full of magical strange instruments to experiment and play round with to colour the songs..----"

---dulcimer, didgereedoo, mandola, mandolin, 12 string, uke, Bazouki, Banjo, flute, melodica, xylophone,fiddle, jews harp, mouth harps,tabla, denje drums----!!

Hi Steve and Hugo!

That could be our mission statement Steve ---we may not always achieve it---but definitely getting closer----the boatshed studio would be perfect for you guys----just a small trip across some oceans, and yes there is a pub!------------------------------"the Linkwater Lodge" about 5 km over the hill----who knows--?

fate works in mysterious ways---

c u Rob

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Hugh Hamilton

1/29/2009 12:19:34 PM

Sounds dreamy, Rob! I'll stop invading Steve's dreamspace now (lol) - sorry, Steve! Go for it! Go for it! Go for it!

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1/29/2009 12:37:51 PM

You need to give that cynic its marching orders, Steve. I bet the other voice in your head is superior company too.

You know what they say - what you resist persists, but what you conceive you can achieve. They also say committing your vision to paper brings it a step closer to reality. How about doing a serious costing as though you already had the money?

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1/29/2009 12:44:33 PM

Steve, this dream you're having might be a bit shortsighted. If you are able to achieve it properly, your recording won't have that lo-fi sparkle you love so much. haha

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Hop On Pop

1/29/2009 12:48:48 PM

I think that you thrive in the bedroom environment, Steve. No worries about hourly rates piling up as the mic is placed or as you tweak your amp to get your guitar sound just so....

It can be done, if you find a friend or somebody who knows what the hell they're doing, who will share in the recording with you. It takes some legwork, but it can be done. Take it from a guy who is trying that route now.

I'm getting some pretty good stuff, I think. And it helps that I'm not worrying about $50 slipping away from me each hour. I can focus on the sound and the song.

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Steve April

1/29/2009 1:41:47 PM

I've been reading about the Beatles lol...a book "The Beatles As Musicians" by Walter Everett...

1. The Beatles spent about 17 hours/song rehearsing on average in the studio on their early albums. (a very rough estimate, cause each album was different.)

2. George Martin performed on quite a few of their songs e.g. the harpsichord "In My Life."

3. George Martin (with outside players) added on extra parts/instrumental parts e.g. the strings in "she's leaving home," the horns in "all you need is love," the "le marseillaise" fanfare intro was george m.'s idea/execution.

4. The Released versions were occassionally not the favorites of the composer. e.g. John much preferrred a simpler slower take on "Revolution" where his vocal was louder. (i heard this take on the radio the other day).

5. Sgt. Pepper took 700 hours studio time approximately e.g. over 50 hours studio time/song. The technology of course more basic then, with endless splicings etc.

to be continued...???

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1/29/2009 2:06:04 PM

Oh, so important to envision, aspire and dream...

I agree that you definitely have a handle on bedroom recording, but the experiences of working with others, in new places and with new approaches, grow us and can change us forever...

I too, agree with putting it on paper. Its easy to let the imagination fly, but true power is given to any thought when we take time to write in down. Really take the time to envision it... all of it.

cool option too, is that you could do a mix of both worlds... a few songs from the home studio and a few songs from your dream!

dream on... make it so.
~ A

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Kevin White

1/29/2009 4:09:47 PM

It's my dream too, Steve ...

I've a big empty space over the garage that I'm attempting to finish off for just that sort of purpose.

It's new construction, and it may have to become a domicile for the aging in-laws for a period, but I'd love to have at least a few years use of it as an amazing on site studio in exactly the same dream you have.

I've got the country aspect of it. I look from my house down a hill over pasture land and river. Visit my website and link to the pictures area of it. I took pix of the views from the hill while the house was under construction.

The back window of the upstairs over the garage gazes out upon 5 acres of grassland.

I want that very same dream. I want musicians I know and love to come and play and stay here ... I want to immerse in that ... and make it real.

Right now, it's an empty space over the garage.

Sigh ... maybe someday.


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Steve Ison

1/29/2009 4:13:13 PM

Hugh..Thanks as always for your support man-appreciated and who knows one day?
I don't think cutting down on the studio time is a wise thing tho..Having plenty of
time (but not infinite) def feels best
Dunno about hitting the road,but the ocassional one off-gig every few days does sound like fun ;)

Rob..Woh it sounds like you've got a greatselection of strange instruments there! (Hugo heaven lol)I've got a big bass harmonica,toy piano,autoharp (such an ace instrument!) tin whistle and melodica.Tho not a collection like yours (i've found an excuse to use them all-and even brought the tin whistle specifically to play the part i heard in my head for 'The Wardens Wife'
Linkwater Lodge does sound like a great place-with a pub too? cool...:)

Woody..Never heard that saying before,but i like it..
Writing it down hasn't occured to me-and i like the idea of actually costing it.I'm gonna start using my extreme fantasy world to my advantage lol

FT..It'd have to be an engineer who could offer the proper dose of lofi in the right places ;)

Thanks Todd..A part of the disillusionment with my set-up is getting told to 'get rid of that peice of shit' by people and a part of me realising i'll never sell any CDs (except occasionally to good folks like yourself) with my bedroom sound...I get really confused about the whole thing..I'm learning cubase,but a part of me dosn't even like that ultra-digital cut-glass hi-fi sound..I mean i like hifi if it sounds like Hunky Dory or Moondance or Nick Drake or early Queen but not if it sounds like some new pop band with no soul..
I've got disillusioned with the sound of my recordings just 'cos i've had so much criticism of them from other places and a few people i know ( tho not here really) and arn't doing any new recordings at the moment..But i was listening to Sailingboat and a few things off that album and don't think i could've done them better on a big studio really (tho maybe i'm wrong)...

If i was doing a rock song i'd like to get a sound like THe Jam (say) and you've gotta have a really good engineer to make more 'rock' based stuff sound good,i think.Its live drums n bass and knowing how to make those sound great..I think its the engineer more than the fine details of the equipment tho.....

For acoustic folky stuff,i often like the mysterious vibey sound of the 60s-Things like 'Play With Fire' sounds more atmospheric than anything nowadays, but its definitely really lofi..But with the cut-glass cubase sound,nothing can sound that way,it seems..

Alot of my disillusions vanity and a sense of unfairness..Its like 'why's that sh*t song got 5 stars on Garageband where my much better one's got 2.7? And i presume its generally down to 'production quality'...and sometimes i listen to my songs side by side with a good one with pro-production and agree.. As i said,i'm really confused about the whole thing..

Steve...The great thing about The Beatles as i see it (in their later years) was that they got the best of both worlds..The rock solid foundation and vibiness of a real band playing live-AND loads of time to experiment and put as many n varied soundscapes n exotic instrumentalia as they pleased on top of that..

If you've got a band thats style is based soley on playing live,you're stuck with basically the same soundscape for every single song when you record.I mean even if you had a different vision of the song originally,that vision would be bludgeoned into submission by hearing it endlessly played with the same 4 peice sound practicing and gigging..

Auset..Thanks,i agree..I love playing and writing with different people and have been changed so much by the people i'm lucky enough to work with in my job as a mental health music support worker..So many different creative angles and styles and i take something from them all..
I'm definitely gonna write it down as you n Woody say :)

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Kevin White

1/29/2009 4:42:33 PM

lol ...

It feels good to be ignored purposefully.

It says so much ... about ... nothing important.

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Steve Ison

1/29/2009 5:10:47 PM

Kevin..I wasn't ignoring you on purpose lol..I didn't even know you'd posted ,till the one you did after.I spent ages on constructing my post in wordpad with the old browser open where Auset was the last post-You must've posted imbetween sometime thats all..

Anyway,it sounds a wonderful dream-and really cool if you plan sharing that space and experience with others-..good luck with that,hope it happens for you...I've already seen pictures of your place from a thread a while back and it looks beautiful

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Kevin White

1/29/2009 7:15:44 PM ---- Updated 1/29/2009 7:16:47 PM

I understand, Steve.

One takes time to craft a post, and then poof ... it's totally mistaken for what was intended ...

Happens a lot around here ... (this ain't at all about your above post if you've caught the posts of mine that have been deleted here)

I would love to invite you here someday. I think we'd be of similar musical mind.



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Conversation Suicide

1/29/2009 7:37:20 PM ---- Updated 1/29/2009 7:42:56 PM

Steve, we could put you up. (Room) AND find PLENTY of Studio engineers in both TUCSON & PHOENIX (so you could make your OWN choice), that could do exactly what you want for 1/10th the cost. Under $10,000 (U.S.) which I think is only about 5000 quid .... ur .... I don't think I said that right I can't find the little pound symbol UNDER 5000 pounds.

ALL you have to do is pay airfare here, provide your own food, but maybe wine & dine us a couple of nights. AND then the recording cost that would be under $5000 pounds. Ya just gotta let me do a small vocal, a couple of bass notes, backup vocals or at least a STEVE ISON FUCKIN' ROCKS RETRO Ass! -SHOUT into the mic.

This is a serious offer. Now all you gotta do is TRUST that we're not serial killers of something.

Ask Kenny Colgate - he'll vouch for us!


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never never band

1/29/2009 8:55:42 PM

Steve, I could hook up a place to house you, we'd feed you and get you the studio time in a modest (but Grammy award producing) studio here in lovely New Mexico, top notch engineer who has a creative mind and very little ego.
Lots of nice analog and digi gear.....a number of exceptional players who work for scale.

and to top it off come final mix time I could get you a true Grammy award winning engineer for the final touch..

and I think you could do it all for $25,000.....and probably land a small label distribution deal from the studio.

One thing is, you cant be writing in the studio, but there are creative rooms and environments that are more appropriate to writing here and you can hit the studio in 3 day lockdowns when you're ready to track. Of course a lot of creative stuff still happens in the studio and a lot of arranging changes and just the delight of experimentation and such, but I think you need two separate spaces if you want to keep cost down and keep from wearing out your engineers...

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Conversation Suicide

1/29/2009 11:05:01 PM

Hmmmm... Yup. Never Never Band's offer is better due to all the connections he has to Grammy Award Winning folk.

ROCK ON! And consider comin' to the states.


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Steve Ison

1/30/2009 3:06:41 PM

Phlegm/Never Never...Very generous offers indeed..Many thanks :)

Phlegm.Thanks,but I'd rather you didn't shout that
tho as some audience members might think you're trying to drum up some 'rough trade for me ;)

Seriously tho i'm amazed at the kindness of offers from so many people here like you 2 who don't know
me other than for a few posts and a few songs here...Hey I might be the serial killer lol
It kinda puts my faith back in human nature...Much appreciated for the kind thoughts..
Maybe one day,if the cornwall thing dosn't pan out:)

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