01 2014

The Making of the Saltwater Album: Bar in Paris

Bar in Paris, live in the studio at nearly midnight… I almost have to pinch myself that we are recording the final track of my new album, Saltwater. I have waited a long time to release this album – in fact in 2011 I insisted on only releasing an EP, because I wanted to be completely happy with the songs before putting another full-length album out there.

But now it’s nearly done! It feels amazing to be back in the studio again, and I am working with Shane Nicholson, putting down the final track of the record. I fly home to South Australia in the morning – I have to nail this! We’re pushing ourselves to fit in this last track before I head home, and most of the time, you can hear the mellow, late-night vibe of the vocal coming through. This song Bar in Paris has always been close to my heart, and I have been waiting to put it on a record for years. It seems crazy that three different releases have gone by since I wrote it, and it has never quite felt right until this album.

Working with Shane as producer has been inspiring and fun. He seems to have a knack for making people feel relaxed, and I am so happy with the way he has managed to draw the best vocal possible out of me, every song. Up until this point, he hasn’t had to use any medicinal measures, but tonight is an exception…

‘It sounds like your attention is drifting Jodes, you’re right in it and then I can tell you start thinking about your delivery too much for a bit.’ He pauses, then adds ‘Just a minute, I think I’ve got an answer…’

Shane walks over and pulls down a bottle of his most prized Scotch, and spends ten minutes telling me in great, passionate detail about how this particular Scotch is the absolute best of the best, how he only ever gets it out on very special occasions and there’s only one nip left, and that one last nip has been sitting there for ages, because it’s for special occasions only etcetera…

I’m mostly a non-drinker, but in these last two weeks I have come to implicitly trust Shane’s instincts as producer. I know exactly what he is getting at, I can feel it in the way I have been singing tonight. It’s not like me, but I’m drifting in between my heart and my head with the lyrics. It must be the pressure of recording this final track – live – before morning. I need to stay with the heart. Shane’s idea might just work, and what’s more, I am singing a verse about my Scottish ancestry in this song, so it only seems right to go with the flow on this one!

And sure enough, it’s another example of Shane following his instinct to the solution. One straight nip of prized Scotch and one live guitar and vocal take later, the final track is delivered. We briefly compare it to the earlier takes, and the final take is clearly the one. It is relaxed and present, and you can hear in my voice that my focus is truly in the moment from start to end.