On Sunday, September 18, following an invite from main man, Andy Nesbitt, I had the pleasure of heading to Abbey Road Studios with Renegade Brass Band to lend a hand in the recording of a live session.
RBB have been going from strength to strength in recent years. Their unique blend of finest Yorkshire brass with drums, percussion, scratch DJ, and MC, has won them many, many fans. They released their debut album, RBB: Rhymes, Beats & Brass, in August 2014, and have since been gigging endlessly across the UK and Europe, honing their incendiary live show. I've rarely seen a band who can engage an audience so fully from the start to the finish of a show - this is in no small part to their charismatic MC, V3xation. Alongside this busy schedule of live performance, they've managed to find time to organise the release of a remix album RBB: Rhymes, Beats & Brass (Remixed) in August 2015, and are currently about half-way through recording their second album - which is, from the bits I've heard, going to be fantastic.
The live session consisted of a mix of old and new tracks, recorded over about 12 hours in Abbey Road's Studio 2 (famous for being the room where The Beatles recorded nearly all of their output). Engineering/producing the session was a former-Abbey-Road-engineer-turned-producer-and-lecturer Kris Burton. One of Abbey Road's in-house engineers, Paul Pritchard was assisting engineering, and running Pro Tools. It was incredible watching these two go about their business, so so good at what they do. I was in a co-producing role, alongside Dan Worrall who is producing and mixing their album, and will be mixing this live session - due out at some point next year. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice Gina Walters, erstwhile lead vocalist of Screaming Maldini, in the photo at the top of this post. She made a special guest appearance on a track which is pleasingly (albeit loosely) based on cycling!
If you put your mind to it, you can feel the history seeping out of the very walls. I've seen that live room so many times in photos and documentaries, and to walk up those famous steps into the control room was breathtaking. Contemplating the amount of amazing records that were created within those four walls made my hair stand on end. And just imagine the amount of times that John Lennon must've broken wind in there - brings tears to the eyes.
The array of microphones they have in there is mind boggling, as is the astonishing Neve desk which forms the heart of the control room for Studio 2. I think what grabbed me most though, was the sound of that room! wow. Kris told us that the ceiling has changed since The Beatles were in there and the room is now a bit brighter sounding than when they cut those famous records (I could talk endlessly about what that band meant to me growing up, but I've done so previously on here, so wont go into it now. Suffice to say, recording hand claps in that room where the four of them will have done exactly the same countless times was pretty moving). When the band went for dinner, I had the privilege of being in the live room alone, and spent an inspiring 20 minutes playing various songs on the Steinway grand (one of two in that room).
A few of the band had a 4.30am start, driving down from Sheffield, so by the time we got to 9pm, and tracking the last song, they were dead on their feet, but put in some heroic efforts to pull some stunning performances out of the bag. I think we managed to get a fair way towards capturing the energy of their live shows, of a band at the height of their performing powers, simultaneously super-tight and full of fire. I can't wait to see/hear the final product.
Big shout out to the band for smashing it on the day, to Gina, to Kris and Paul, to Dan Worrall, and runner, Jack Fairbrother, to Ogle Film and Media, and Robert Gershinson, photographer.
For more info on the band, including upcoming live dates and where you can buy their music, visit their WEBSITE
For more info on Dan Worrall, visit PLATINUM EARS
For more info on Kris Burton, visit HERE