Hello Stranger Album Recording Notes

fnf-hellostrangerCDIt began when my flatmate at the time was playing a CD he’d bought that day in our lounge room while I was steaming a yam. The sound and atmosphere of the recording caught my ear so I remarked something like, “that sounds knarley dude, what is it?” He explained the band was called ‘Sun’ and the guy singing (Chris Townend) recorded it himself and ran his own studio right here in Sydney called ‘Bigjesusburger’.

So I called him the next day and within a month I was recording there myself. Chris is a very enthusiastic chap with lots of interesting ideas and theories on sound recording and lots of other topics relating to general life. The studio itself took up a whole floor of a building in Surry Hills. Chris actually lives there and shares it with his son Gabe and his pet dog Bear. Gabe is 11 and kind of looks like Harry Potter sans glasses and thinks kids should be allowed to stay up to whatever time their age is, and is therefore upset his bedtime is 9pm. He also told me the other day that grilled tomato on toast will be the food served in heaven and Asian food generally will be the only thing available in hell. Bear, on the other hand loves the leftovers from Prasits Thai takeaway on Bourke St and never failed to clean up our plates. Apart from Pad Pumpkin Bear loves to bark out the window at the mounted police passing by. Even approximating a clip-clopping horse hoof noise with your mouth makes him go crazy.

So being one of the homeless artists on Candle Records it was lucky for me that Chris let me join his family and sleep in a large warehouse type room in the south wing of the building.

It was so big and echoey in fact that if you sneezed in your sleep you’d wake yourself up 1 minute later. I”m still not sure which room Chris slept in but every morning he’d appear in the doorway and say, “Come on mate, lets go get some Muesli.”

So enough about food. The studio itself was fantastic with heaps of cool and weird instruments especially the amazing pump organ. The desk is a valve one from the 70s called a ‘quad 8’ and was apparently used for recording heaps of soundtracks of Australian films such as ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’. Many great musicians played on the record. For a start there was 3 different drummers; Bree Van Reyk from ‘The Rebel Astronauts’ played a couple (and also Vibraphone), Oren Ambarchi, ‘Sun’ drummer and experimental musician, did some one take wonders on a few and of course El Mopas Richard ‘Bon’ King makes a special appearance. El Mopa also donated Geoff Towner for most of the bass playing while Sun lent out Claire Cooper and her angelic classical harp skills and Nick Summers on pedal steel. Samatha Fonti who you may know as ‘Vicious Hairy Marys’ violinist played strings on 2 tracks while young child prodigy Jeremy Challender played piano on one. Special mention must be given to J. Walker who braved the Wollongong night train to play piano on the Kickstand song, as it seems his name has been somehow edited from the final draft of the albums art work. Sorry mate.

The Candle budget did not include a return ticket for Frida Eklund, one of two vocalists in Swedish sleepy-pop band ‘Alma’, so during my Scandinavian tour last December she recorded the vocals for ‘Cast Of Thousands’ in her friends closet in Stockholm while a little tipsy on whiskey. She drinks it so that one day she may have a voice like Janis Joplin. Sea Life Parks Lee Hillam sang the other backing vocal bits.

So all in all I had heaps of fun recording this album, especially putting down some songs that have been around for some time now. More soon….

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