What a perfect start to an already amazing adventure! On 9 March 2016 my band and I released “Up” in a packed EKKO in our home town Utrecht. In the following posts I’ll zoom in a bit more on the stories behind the individual songs. In this post, though, I’d like to take you behind the scenes of recording and releasing the EP.
It all began when I approached renowned producer/mix engineer Huub Reijnders with a couple of rough demos of my best songs – scared to death that he would hate them. Luckily Huub immediately recognized their potential and agreed to meet me at the legendary Wisseloord Studios. We seemed to be on the same page, and thanks to a successful crowdfunding project we could soon start working on what we knew could be some pretty cool music.
Before hitting the studio we took 3 days of pre-production to fine-tune the songs. We were lucky to have a majestic empty mansion at our disposal, where we could freely experiment with the songs and further develop their sound. Think of it like a puzzle, but with innumerable possible solutions. Single or double chorus here? Maybe add an extra bar there? Skip the second pre-chorus? Change a few notes in the bass line? Change back the guitar part in the bridge?
Right before the last pre-production session I wrote what might be my best song so far. We HAD to record this one! Great musicians as they are, my band quickly made it their own, and so “LIghthouse” ended up on the EP. After recording sessions at Mailmen Studios, Wisseloord and Audioworkx over the course of a few months, we finished recording the EP where it had started: at the big mansion. During pre-production we had discovered that the huge living room brought a distinctive reverb with it. We ended up recording nearly all vocals with this natural reverb. It is one of many things that has made “Up” its own, unique self.
Although we made some long days, the recordings were above all a lot of fun. Put a couple of guys in a room for a while, and the bad jokes magically appear. I also got to play Ry Cooder’s old 1926 Martin guitar, a vintage Wurlitzer piano, and my first notes on a proper electric guitar. Moreover, I got to witness my songs – mostly written in my bedroom with just my guitar – transform into radio-ready pop productions, which is (I imagine) like watching your little babies grow up.
After Huub’s mixing magic and Frans Hendriks’ masterly mastering, the day had now finally come: the EP was ready to be released. It was a night I will never forget, playing our new music live for the first time in front of hundreds of people, signing countless cd’s like big-time celebrities, and receiving fantastic reactions from our fans, friends and families. The first reviews and press coverage have been wonderful, too. I’m so proud of the EP and can’t wait to play you all the songs again and again in the upcoming shows (check out the “Shows” page on this website)!
More on those songs in the following posts. In the meantime you can check them out on Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, this website, you name it. I truly hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!