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Darren posted a new blog
: JulyGarden 18 2010 : 0 : 6489    
, 18, 2010
MAKING THE ALBUM VOLUME 11.
Originally written on 06 March 2010 for member's of 'Delicacy' Darren's official fan club at www.darrenhayes.com

Saturday, 06 March 2010
MIXING HAS BEGUN!

Monday March 1.

It was the first day of spring today. At least thats what I thought it was but apparently theres a bit of a debate in the UK over which date is the official beginning of spring. Some say that its the 21st but the Meterological Office agrees with me and apparently so did the weather today. It was spring when I woke up to bright blue skies and shiny happy people in the park.. Such a contrast to the grimy day before where I typed to my sister on instant message Im so tired of winter. The paraphernalia and layers of clothing. Getting dressed and undressed is SUCH an ordeal!

And lo and behold for this day at least winter went away.

Which was serendipitous considering today was the day I was meeting Robert Orton to mix the first two songs for my album.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar09/articles/it_0309.htm;

http://web.mac.com/hitmixer/www.HitMixer.c...iscography.html;

For those who didnt google it or see my links, heres some info on Robert : he started as an engineer for the legendary producer Trevor Horn. His first big mix was the song All the things she said for Tatu. Obviously that song became a monster number one around the world and he began a whole new career as the guy who mixes hit singles whilst still working side by side with Trevor Horn. Most recently hes mixed 5 of Lady Ga Gas U.S number one singles and Robbie Williams Reality Killed the Video Star album as well as worked with Pet Shop Boys and Keane. Hes a top guy and a true talent.

Regardless of that stuff what is incredible to me is that Id been a fan of his for a long time without realizing. When I was thinking about who I wanted to mix my new album I started listening out for songs that I thought sounded great on the radio. . Hands down almost every time Id hear a song that I thought really jumped out Id go home, google the song and find out it was mixed by Robert. Bodies by Robbie Williams was one of the most recent, as was Paparazzi by Lady Ga Ga. It has nothing to do with the style of the songs or the genre. The hook in for me was the science of the sound; the sonics. And thats what you want from a good mix you want someone to take your material and transform it from a good song into a great record.

In the past, mixing has involved going in to a studio for two weeks mixing a song a day and a very hectic pace. With this album its a totally different process. We decided wed put our toe in the water and mix a few songs at a time and live with them.

Robert was sent rough demos of T and D before I met him so he had lived with the songs for a few weeks before he pitched up to mix. He spends his time working between Sarm studio in Notting Hill and Metropolis where we are today at The Powerhouse building in Chiswick. Its a mammoth complex in, as the name would suggest, an old power station.

I dont know where to start with Robert. I feel so incredibly lucky to be working with him and quite humbled by his approach because it is unlike any other mix experience Ive had. He asked me eventually to explain how so and I was at a loss for words suffice to point out that he is so QUIET when he mixes.

Most other mix engineers have the song BLASTING all day and are or can be quite bawdy brash personality types (not unlike the breed known as lead singer or guitarist ie me me me!!). On the contrary hes a very gentle soul, very quiet and methodical and literally spends ALL DAY finessing a song. He reminds me of myself in many ways because hes the antithesis of the cliché. I think many people assume because Im an entertainer Im a loud or extravert personality but the truth is Im quite shy unless Im on stage or amongst very close friends. I have a button I can press to turn it on but off stage that button is rarely on.


Wednesday March 3

Well a whole 24 hours passed since I wrote that update I staggered home from the studio at 1 in the morning and ventured back in to the studio the next day for a full days work and got home at 2.30 am. I was so buzzed I couldnt get to sleep and it was 7.30 with the bright sun streaming through my window when I lay down to sleep.

If you followed my tweets youd know I have been utterly humbled and blown away by this experience. The first song, T came up like a blustering wind during the day and them whipped up like a cyclone at midnight. Seemingly from out of nowhere it went from sounding really good to slapping me upside the face. T is a song that is very immediate : most people who hear it love it instantly and it was a challenge to mix first because its a potential single. That does put a pressure in the back of your mind, not to mention the fact that the rough mix was pretty damned good.

Its a song I wrote with Carl Falk in Sweden last year and was one of the first I really committed to being an attempt to start my new album. Its hard to explain how it sounds other than to say it is a big glorious melody like sunshine over a thick heavy sexy groove underneath. And its about trying to bridge the divide between two people who have retreated to their secret worlds.

Of special note is the fact that this song features lives strings recorded in Sweden an arranged by Mattius Bylund, the son of the now late Martin Bylund who was the string arranger and performer on most of the famous ABBA records you would have heard. Along with his wife an his son, Martin had an almost monopoly on strings that appeared on so many great Swedish records and I was very lucky to have had the family involved in my records with Carl Falk.

The song is quite clubby and throbby underneath but has so many live instruments like guitars and strings that its a fantastic hybrid of modern pop.

Robert managed to get the thunder in the bottom end throbbing but still had the live strings and beach boy-like harmonies sparkle on the top. I left the studio thrilled with the result. I must admit I drove around London in the wee hours of the morning blasting my own tune to the heavens. And loving it.

The next day Robert was mixing D which could possibly be the first single. Its a song I wrote with Steve Robson (Leona Lewis, Taylor Swift fame..). It is my favourite song on the album but what I would describe as a grower. Its a sound that will not reinvent the musical wheel but a sentiment that absolutely gets me every time I listen to it. And it gets better and better each listen. I get a lump in my throat at certain points and it is within the lyrics to this song from which the album title came. I wish I could tell you some lyrics. Maybe I will sometime soon if you want me to. But for me, the whole point of the album can be summed up in this song.

The mix took longer than T.. it was something like 16 hours that Robert spent on it and I absolutely adore the results.

When it was finished I had to immediate get online and chat to my peeps in the fan club online because I really felt a glimpse of my future. It was tears of joy and a feeling of incredibly futuristic goose bumps of happiness that sort of overwhelmed me. I have such a good feeling about this song and what it might mean in the big picture.

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Its now well and truly Saturday March 6 as I finish this update. Its been a wild week culminating in a fantastic brainstorming session at a graphic designers office in London where I hired the team who will be responsible for putting together the artwork and images that will become the visual face of my new album. Ironically I left the meeting with a similar elation to the one I had during the mixes.

We are in for a fantastic ride.



I love you

xD