• Sandra Smith Director

Our 1st EP - with Heart and Soul funding

We are so incredibly fortunate to be sponsored by Simon and Jane from the award winning, family run company, Heart and Soul Funerals, based in Buckfastleigh. Their sponsorship has enabled us to put our money where our mouths are, so to speak and we have proof of that now! We are so proud of our first EP! Our huge thanks to their generosity, compassion and understanding of the artistic process!

The outlay costs of producing an EP or CD were one of the reasons the choir had never done this before, which is where our lovely sponsors, Heart and Soul Funerals stepped in and funded all the manufacturing process for us. We are incredibly fortunate to have their backing and their complete understanding and support. They have had a belief in us and what we could achieve. With this support the choir has changed their ‘look’, invested in a new logo, get a lighting rig and now an EP. It’s like having a background team of supporters – and they have made a massive difference to all of us.

Last June, we had managed to record 2 singles in the lovely Big Red studios situated in the Dame Hannah’s complex at Seale Hayne, near Newton Abbot. We were lucky to have the inhouse engineer, Joshua Norton Cox, on duty at the time. Josh was very patient with us and the choir were relaxed with him. He also works with WildWood Kin, so we were in good hands!

Back then, everyone was a bit nervous to start with and it took a while to realise how accurate EVERY singer has to be to get a good take. That was the first time of recording for a few years and many of the choir hadn’t been with us when we recorded before. It was very hot, singers got tired, but we literally nailed the songs with only 10 minutes of the session left! Recording hadn’t been my favourite medium – I much prefer the live ‘in the moment’ element, but we did need to get something down and luckily for us, it turned out very well! Getting used to the process makes things easier for all of us – and having the results of the hard work, is absolutely fantastic

So our 1st released single, ‘Now is the Cool of the Day,’ a version from Northern Harmony, has been played on Folk radio stations and our other track, ‘Circle March’ by Katy Lavinia Cooper was selected to be included in the rising stars of Spring 2019, Folk album, by online Magazine Fatea. Another milestone for the choir, to have recognition outside the choir world.

We didn’t have any opportunity to record more, until March 2019, as we wanted to work with Josh again. After finding out that the Big Red studio had been closed in the January, along with the whole of the Dame Hannah site, it proved very difficult, for all kinds of reasons, to find a good hall to record in. A lot of studios don’t fit 37 singers! In the end, we recorded in our usual hall, as at least we knew the acoustics.

Warm up time!

It all started off really well in setting up, but by the time we started recording, the heavens had opened and Storm Freya was pounding rain on the roof and howling her way around the church! It was incredibly noisy and Josh had his work cut out to try and minimise the amount of weather noise coming into the tracks! We decided to keep going, despite this and we are really pleased with the results, Josh has done a great job for us.

Josh Norton Cox - doing his thang!

With our tracks we aim to get a near to live performance, so we have to get the song in one take, we can’t cut out or spruce it up in the studio. So what you hear is really us – as near to a gig as we can get. We may try 4 or 5 times to get the best run of the whole song, which is very hard work for the singers and it’s surprising how many little mistakes suddenly happen, without thinking.

Listening back to a take to check if there are any mistakes!

Never having got as far as a proper EP product before, we didn’t have a clue of the process. We are very lucky to have Tobias Ben Jacob singing with us, who is well known on the singer/songwriter circuit and who has CD’s galore! He talked us through the whole process and ended up doing most of it for us!

And this is it!!!

#HeartandSoulFunerals #MakinganEP #WildMountainThyme #JoshuaNortonCox #Folksingers #FolkMusic

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