Today, “the fifth Beatle” as he was often called, Sir George Martin passed away.
As a producer his achievements can only be described as madness, and the relationship he had with The Beatles and all which they created, stands probably as the most precious thing to come out of a music studio in music history.
My intention is to humbly and simply share a couple of anecdotes, which in a naive and dream-like way, connect me with The Beatles in the most emotional way.
In 2006 I finished an album called “Pitinga” (which was never published) along with some talented Norwegian musicians, at LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts). The bulk of the recording was done in the Sennheiser studio (photo below) however many ties and patching was done towards the main studio upstairs, the George Martin Studio. Leading the recordings was Einar Norberg, running up and down the premises from one studio to the other making sense of it all. There we would also record further vocals, more guitars, and some percussion. I remember the photo greeting you as you entered the studio (the one leading this post).
Here a panoramic view of the studio upstairs, with all the necessary gadgets;
LIPA is the performing Arts school which Sir Paul Mcartney renovated once he decided to turn his former school into a Music and Arts Institution. How ironic that later on that year, Sir Paul himself would hand me a songwriting prize precisely for the “Pitinga” album recognizing the good work and stating “smashing CD!”.
We were able to perform the whole album at the respected Sir Paul Macartney Auditorium in May of 2006.
Here a random picture where you can see the beauty of the place;
One of the songs that stood out from that recording was “Sailors and Pirates”. With almost no resources, my brother Jacob would often make amazing videos out of nothing, and this was the case in the summer later that year all in great company;
Years later, 2010 in London, I was lucky enough, priviledged I’d say to record an album with my band. This ended up being “High Ceilings and Collar bones” released in 2012.
Recordings took place in several wonderful London Studios, (Metropolis being one of them) and the great Rockfield Studios in Wales. As an unsigned band, the guys at management amazingly would pull some strings to get great deals for us, unwanted slots at amazing studios where we would come in and try and record as much as possible. Much of the credit was Rick Chambers and the rest of the guys at Insomnia Music Management.
So it was that one of those opportunities came around to record at Abbey Road, studio 2, where The Beatles recorded most of their albums.
Absolutely blown away, we were extatic and almost lost for words as to the excitement it meant to us all! Engineering and co-producing was Matt Lawrence at the helm of it all. Rick Chambers on drums (and everything else) Adam Low (management) Luke Higgins (guitar) Oscar Golding (bass) Nik Carter (sax) Jack Birchwood (trumpet) and of course friends that would drop by as if attending a museum.
here’s some us; (check out the legendary steps!)
The recording passed by quickly, trying to track 3 or 4 songs in the space of few hours, Matt would isolate instruments/amps with the typical studio material;
At this piano, Brandon Flowers of The Killers and Jamie Cullum had previously recorded that week! I swear I also played on the famous “Lady Madonna” upright piano, but no photo of that!
The highlight for me became on the eleventh hour as they say, when Matt asked to do a vocal take of a dear song to me.
he said “close your eyes, realise where you are, be thankful and proud of what you’ve achieved, and sing with everything you’ve got”. And so it was; “Me and my tape recording machine” was a song that never saw the light of day, but which i treasure so much for so many reasons. I was thankful to the guys and everyone involved for allowing me the chance, and always being so generous with me. The song itself spoke about one’s love of music, its connection, how it all reflects upon you. Recording music with all its complexities, the world surrounding it and the love and devotion you have for it. I wanted it to be a thank you, and in a surreal but true kind of way, it leads me once again to George Martin. Thank you for the music, it was only fitting I humbly share the result of that night.