Back in February this year (I think) I first entered Arkham Recording Studios in Birmingham with the aim of recording an album full of original Ian Danter compositions.
6 months on and I'm delighted to say that the project is really starting to come together - it hasn't been possible to block book 4 weeks straight in the studio to get things done in one 'hit' as my life & career simply doesn't allow that - nor did I expect it to when I began.
Instead, it's been a succession of odd days here and there, save for the 3 days in February at the get-go when the plan was to record drum parts and maybe get the odd bass line or 3 done too.
After 3 days, I'd surprised myself by getting all the drums and bass parts completed on 15 songs, and even made a start on the rhythm guitar parts to several tracks. Since then, the odd day snatched here and there has seen more building blocks expertly put in place by my producer Alex Cooper.
Yes that's ALEX Cooper - not Alice. He gets that all the time, the poor bugger...
The mark of a good producer is the ability to draw a performance from a musician that the musician didn't think he or she was capable of - to coax a moment that actually defies expectations. That's tough to do at the best of times, especially when the musician or musicians concerned think they know how things are going to sound in their head.
Well, Alex have left me scratching my head with surprise and delight a fair number of times during this recording process, especially in the guitars department. One song, "Soulmate" required me to play a solo that I had in my head & knew was within my capabilities as a lead player. What I hadn't bargained for once I'd committed the passage to tape was Alex subsequently asking me/telling me "Come on - it'll sound even better if you play a harmony part to complement that - let's do it shall we?"
He believed I could do it, and clearly thought I could not only comply, but within the short time we had left in the day's session. And he was right - there is something inherently right sometimes about working under pressure and to a deadline...within 30 minutes the whole song had the requisite twin guitar parts he'd asked for and had been lifted to a whole new level as a result. A very proud moment.
I'm hoping Alex can do the same for me when it comes to putting my vocals down in the next few weeks. Now I should state at this point that I rate my singing voice marginally higher than Blues rate their chances of remaining unbeaten all season, but I know I can carry the odd tune.
So here's the plan - of the 15 songs being recorded, I will sing lead on 2, maybe 3 of them max. There are songs called Overflow and Prove You Wrong that I know I can really do justice to. What has really excited me is that I have enlisted the services of one of Britain's finest rock singers to give the rest of the album the necessary vocal soul that I feel it needs to be the best it can possibly be.
I first met Lee Small when he was playing lead guitar in Dizzy Lizzy and I was doing my occasional job sitting in for them on drums. We played gigs together in Northfield and Bournemouth, but I had little idea at that time about the quality and expression in his singing voice that has since shone on releases by Phenomena, Shy and most recently, his own solo project Jamaica Inn.
Over the next few weeks, Lee is coming down to the studios to sprinkle his magic dust with his magical larynx...as well as that, there will be a few great guitar players who have enriched my life as a musician coming over to play solos on the handful of tracks where my soloing abilities come up a bit short.
My former Dressed To Kill cohort Danny James, as well as Gregg Platt Lake & Tim Read from my Dizzy Lizzy days and Gary Morris, with whom I spent many happy years working with at Musical Exchanges, have agreed to help out...maybe even my older brother Phil too, if things work out!!! Got to keep it in the family sometimes...both in the literal and figurative sense :o)
Thing is, though - I don't know what to call this bloody thing once it's completed...if indeed I call it anything at all! It might just end up being called 'Ian Danter' and nothing more. Anything else might sound a little contrived.
Anyway, details will emerge soon enough about when this mighty opus will be unleashed on the waiting world and how you can obtain it - I won't be making any videos though!!! Haha!