Welcome to the fourth instalment of my ‘Introducing…’ series of blog posts that intends to shed light on the new line-up of The Coracle Band.
Although Andy Bell is a sound engineer and record producer extraordinaire, and not technically part of The Coracle Band, he’s been just as instrumental to the sound of Coracle and the wider band as the rest of us. As a result, I thought you might like to know what makes him tick.
Read on for a short interview between writer, Sophie Parkes, and the producer of Coracle.
What attracted you to working with Emily and recording and producing Coracle?
Emily’s a great songwriter and interpreter of folklore and folk song, and her ideas and songs can be totally bizarre and different to anyone else on the folk scene. What attracted me to working with her in particular was the direction of her music and ideas and the creative freedom I was given. For example, I was allowed to bring some pop/indie production ideas in.
The process of recording Coracle wasn’t just a case of documenting Emily playing her songs; I was allowed to create and mould her music with her, and that’s a very attractive prospect from my point of view.
Have you got a favourite track from the album?
‘Borrowed And Blue’ is pretty cool. It’s full of textures and colours and involves the most musicians on the album, I think. ‘Coracle’ is pretty cool, as well. The strings were incredible, despite the freezing church conditions. In fact, some of the strings recorded that day were sampled and used on the latest Furrow Collective album, too.
What's Emily like to work with in the studio?
She’s a nightmare! Only kidding! She is very open to input and ideas and is happy to try most things. The initial addition of percussion to this album was a bit of a shock to her, but she took it on board and with open ears!
Tell us about the recording sessions – did it all go to plan?
It all went really well. Emily and the trio worked on the material and then I came in to stir up some additional ideas. We then had a few days just us two, putting down guides, loops and initial parts. Following that, we went into the studio for a week with Lucy [Farrell], Rachel [Newton] and Toby [Kearney]. We then had M G Boulter for a couple of days, who put a sheen on everything.
The final piece of the puzzle was the recording in a church in the Peak District. We persuaded some brilliant musicians to come and workshop the strings and concertina and then we recorded it live with Emily singing. We also recorded a track that we sent off to a French electronics producer. We sent it to him a capella and he messed with it. When I got it back, I then tweaked some stuff and mixed it afterwards.
Any hilarious or frustrating moments?
It’s not particularly funny, but Emily burst in to tears of joy after recording ‘Coracle’ with the string ensemble in the church. It was a pretty big moment!
Do you hope to work with Emily and The Coracle Band again in the future?
Of course! Let’s see what happens with it, but it’s great music and great fun working with such a talented bunch.
If you’d like to know more about what Andy’s up to, please visit his website here. Andy has also recently established his own record label, called Hudson Records. You can check out his current and forthcoming releases here .