ALBUMS FOR SALE
It's very easy to get carried away with just how happy you are with your latest project, but this really has turned out well. I recruited Brendan Gallagher again to do the recording and we went for a less-is-more approach to using effects and tried to keep the sounds close and warm.
I gave myself no deadline for this record and was consequently able to rethink a couple of the tunes during recording, usually subtracting from rather than adding to the mix. It was recorded to some extent in the front room of my house which meant less time in transit and more good pots of tea. Brendan was able to turn his studio into a moveable structure and the whole process had a low-pressure mood.
Rick O'Neil put the icing on the cake in mastering the disc and there you go. I hope you like it. Oh, my favourite tracks right now are "Goodnight Mrs Tracy" because it gets a bit dreamy (wrong word but I can't nail it) and "Untidy", in truth because I'm happy with the electric guitar. That's enough said.
Having worked with Brendan Gallagher on the Dead Marines album "New Day" I felt that he displayed a level of craftsmanship and sensitivity that would help make the kind of record I was aiming for, but more than that he had the patience to work with my sometimes piecemeal, usually slow-moving approach to making records. It helps me to live with the bare bones of a recording while I decide how to flesh it out, pare it back or in some cases start over again.
There always seems to be a point you get to with a record where you hit the play button in the studio and you think now it sounds like music. "Homebody" gets there for me. I can happily have it playing in a room with strangers and not feel uncomfortable. My favourite songs change, but I think "In Front of You" with Mark Walmsley's beautiful piano performance, "Fix It Man" with my brothers Pat and Justin doing harmonies, and "Oh Freedom" with guitar and voice recorded on one track and then complemented by Julia Richardsons' haunting duet vocal work are my current picks; you choose your own.
I cheated a little with the cover photo and used something that had been lying around from an earlier shoot with Cath Muscat, then had the indignity of someone looking at me and asking if it was an old photo. Time marches quickly.
Domestic Departures was a very different record to make to the first one, "Every Tuesday Sometimes Sunday" because most of the songs on the album came from the live set of the BHQs (Bill Gibson on bass, John Encarnacao on guitar and Jess Ciampa on vibraphone and drums) and were already pretty much arranged and ready to go.
I persuaded Genevieve Maynard to take on the recording duties and she turned her home into a recording studio for two weeks while we got the music onto the little round plastic thing. Genno worked miracles and the band nailed their parts.
Being the father of a baby girl who opted not to sleep, not ever, I was a bit shellshocked at the time. Now when I listen back to this record I really love it and am so pleased to have captured those tunes as they were. I don't think I can name a favourite song but "Intermission" still makes me teary.
I was chipping away at the live music scene in Sydney and beyond when "Half a Cow" Label owner and old friend Nic Dalton asked me if I would like to make a solo album. My mind immediately went to picking my fave songs from those near and dear to me, songs which had not yet been recorded or that I had just always wanted to sing myself. Nic had a few requests from my back catalogue and when we added a couple of freshly penned tunes the mix felt right.
We recorded at the now-defunct Charing Cross Studios and Nic handled the production duties leaving me to concentrate on the pizza wine and music. In the same way that I collected the songs for the record, I gathered old friends and bandmates around to bring their special talents to the mix like Bill Gibson's harmonies or Andy Lewis' beautiful bass performances sadly to be one of his last as we lost Andy to suicide soon after the record was made. Jess Ciampa whom I had played within Hong Kong came to the party with vibraphone and percussion and some very unusual drum kit set-ups, Andy Travis also helped out on kit, Piers Crocker chimed in with exquisite slide guitar and old collaborators Mick and Phil Moriarty were there and, well, read the credits, but suffice to say I had a lot of help. Finally, a beautiful, judicious mix from Paul McKercher and a priceless polish from Don Bartley. Did I mention John Encarnacao's string arrangements?
My picks are "Matchbox Cars and Marbles" because it somehow encapsulates the mood of the album and "Mission in Life" for its dramatic rich string arrangement and the piano playing of Tim Freedman who kept saying during the taping that I should let him get a real pianist to play the part. He has always underrated his own abilities.
This is a strange grab bag of B-sides, lounge room 4-tracks and a couple of live things thrown in. A bit of a dog's breakfast really, but as always happens people have told me that they really like it. Low Fi loonies.
One of my favourites here is a little instrumental called "Last to Leave" which I wrote in high school. I was inspired by a Fairport Convention tune that I was liking at the time. I think it was called "End of Our Holiday" or something close to that. I thought, no singing, I'd like to try that. And the other is called "Round Trip" recorded with all hands on deck, all going for it. I actually love it.