The Delirious? Studio Experience (Delirious.org.uk)
Last modified: 16 May 2003
Author: Dave Wood
Date: 16 May 2003
Travelling along quiet country lanes, not far from Arundel in West Sussex, its hard to believe that this remote corner of southern England could be home to anything closely resembling an international record company. After a few wrong turns and missed sign posts, I finally arrive at the grandly titled 'Ford Lane Studios'. As it happens, I could perhaps be forgiven for driving past the entrance twice before finding it - from the road it looks more like a farm yard than the recording studio in which the latest album from multi-million selling Delirious? is taking shape.
Despite it's humble appearance from the outside, the studio turns out to be ideal for Delirious? - it is located within spitting distance of the offices where the band's homegrown record label distributes CDs to more than 90 countries around the world. In turn, the stylish modern office which has been home to Furious? Records for several years now, is only a short distance from the town of Littlehampton, home to all five band members and most of the record company staff.
Having arrived at the studio, I am shown around by bass player Jon. Downstairs is the main studio room which contains the control desk where producer Julian Kindred works his magic. The room also has a huge collection of guitars and sound equipment, plus a piano, several keyboards and numerous microphones. In one corner is a separate booth which is crammed full of Stu G's guitar amps. Upstairs are two other rooms - the first has Stew's impressive looking drum kit set up, plus Jon's bass guitars. The second room has Jon's bass amp, which is probably taller, wider and heavier than he is!
Delirious? have been hard at work in the studio for several weeks, and on this particular morning Jon is laying down the bass tracks for the song 'Rain Down'. Sat downstairs at the control desk, producer Julian watches Jon via a TV monitor as he sits in the room upstairs with his bass. Suddenly the speakers surrounding the mixing desk blast out the last 40 seconds of the song, and looking at the monitor I watch as Jon plays along. Julian hits the record button on the Otari Radar console, and the graphical display behind the desk jumps up and down in time to the thumping bass notes.
Still taking in the bewildering array of equipment, flashing LEDs and stunning sound, I'm a little surprised when Julian tells Jon through his headphones that it doesn't sound quite right. So the process is repeated. This time when they reach the end, Julian plays the recording back and then says to Jon "Lets go again". For a third time they record the same part of the song. This time Jon isn't happy with how it sounds, so they record the piece for a forth time. To my untrained ear it sounded perfect the first time, but these guys are professionals and nothing but absolute perfection is good enough. Again and again they record the same few seconds, neither Jon nor Julian loose patience. Finally they both agree that it sounds good, and a chorus of "Well done Jonson" comes from the sofa at the back of the studio where Martin and Stu G are sat.
The attention to detail is phenomenal. Recording is constantly interrupted by discussions about what could be changed to make something sound better. Having got one piece right, Jon moves on to record a different part of the song. The other instruments have already been recorded and Julian skilfully mixes what Jon is playing in the studio into the song at the right moments. After a couple of hours of working on various parts of the song, recording finishes for the day.
The band move on to the Furious? offices where their manager Tony is waiting to hold a meeting with them to discuss future touring arrangements. With the meeting over, the band go their separate ways, and Jon leads me to a comfortable corner room in the building which contains a couple of sofas and more importantly, a decent sound system. I am then treated to a preview of the recently recording songs, destined for the band's new album. What I hear is by no means the finished article, final vocals are yet to be recorded and the demo CD only contains a rough studio mix. Despite this, the songs that fill my ears are astounding.
'Rain Down' has changed considerably since it was performed at the band's Christmas gig just 6 months previously. A new section has been added and the sound is heavier. 'With You' has the feel of a potential single and 'Free' grabs me as an instant crowd pleaser with is catchy chorus swirling around my head long after the song has finished. 'Grace Like A River' surprises me slightly, it has a much 'rockier' feel than I expect it to, leaving me tapping my foot and smiling at Stu G's trademark stunning guitar sound. There are plenty of 'overtly' Christian messages in some of the songs, titles such as 'Majesty' and 'God In Heaven' have the lyrics of the 'Glo' album combined with the sound reminiscent of 'Mezzamorphis' and 'Audio Lessonover'.
Recording of the album is nearing completion, with only two more songs left to be worked on. Plenty of tweaking will be going on after that, with mixing and post production set to take several months. By the time the finished album is released, probably towards the end of the year, the hours of hard work in the studio will be a distant memory for the band, but well worth the effort. The fact that Delirious? appear completely at ease in the studio, combined with the 'hands-on' role that band and producer share, can mean only one thing: An album of 'Delirious' proportions is on the way. If, like me, you have been hungry to hear the new sound from Delirious?, let me keep you salivating by saying that the band are determined to produce their best ever work - and from what I heard today, the rest of us will not be disappointed.