RELEASE – A SINGLE NOT SIMPLE

Here is the video of our latest single, Dancing in Silence. It took a few weeks which is not too shabby considering we wrote it, recorded it and filmed the video before the British Government unlocked us from our cages.

First question is why? Last time we were met, the band was hard at work on the album. What caused us to temporarily drop that project and switch our attention to a totally new song, one we’d never played together? Come to think of it, we never have. The answer is – lockdown. There I was one Thursday evening, outside my house like most inhabitants of this island, clapping for the doctors and nurses, the paramedics and all those other courageous medical professional of the NHS who are putting their health – and 23 of them have given their lives – to care for those who have contracted Covid-19 so badly they are hospitalised. By the way, for those reading this outside the UK, NHS stands for National Health Service, a universal system for which we are all eternally grateful, and especially so during this pandemic.

So there I am, clapping away and a line comes into my head: “When I’m dancing in silence, I am not alone.” I went indoors and started to write. It took me a while to get the lyrics to feel right, and I was still changing them until we recorded the vocals two weeks ago. The music came next. Although I wrote the melody on guitar it took me a while to get the arrangement. Then it was a matter of getting a demo together. Tom Hughes, our producer, agreed to listen to it. Following social distancing rules I dropped it in his mailbox. He rejected it because the timing was so bad. I hate that! For me, getting a demo down is just like an initial sketch of a painting. I’m learning that to convey my ideas better to producers and bandmates it has to be a coherent track, and even if it’s just an acoustic guitar with a click, it has to be in time. So, taking a lot more care, a second attempt, this time accepted. Then it was a matter of exchanging tracks of the individual instruments by e-mail, WeShare, DropBox and sometimes by mail.

Finally, thanks to spare rooms reconfigured as makeshift recording studios, we had an instrumental track that sounded brilliant, thanks to super-producer Tom. Only problem was, his studio, Dragonfly Studios and pretty much every other one we tried was locked and we had to find a way to record the vocals. My studio mic wasn’t good enough. I knew that but having only used it for scratch vocals on demos, only ever intending to record the final tracks in the studio, I now had a problem. Online shopping to the rescue; I obtained authorisation from the LSP and ordered 2; a Shure SM7b and a WARM WA-47. Some difference. If you want your vocals to sound great, get a great mic.

Let’s take a break here. I want to show you a short clip about the making of the video.

It’s a bit out of sync but we’re about halfway through the written stuff so I though you might want a rest from reading. Welcome back. Here’s the challenge. How do you record vocals in the spare room? Those microphones are so sensitive you literally can hear a pin drop, of which more later, or Saturday Night Disaster. Advice from Tom the producer. Get as much soft furnishings, duvets, cushions, blankets, pillows as you can. It deadens the sound. If you clap your hands and there’s an echo, get more. Pull the curtains. Glass reflects sound – at least window glass does. Then get your mic’s plugged in, roll instrumental track and start singing. Which I did. I recorded with both microphones because I wanted to see which one was better for my vocals. We started late on a Saturday, around 10 because I didn’t want any noise from vehicles on the road, not that there is much. The LSP put down some excellent backing vocals. It was all going so well.

Four hours later, at 2:30 in the morning, I listened to the tracks we had just recorded. What was that sound. Almost like an echo. I turned the volume right up and listened again. The headphones were torn off and would have been thrown against the wall. I didn’t believe the schoolroom error I had made. When I had been recording vocals I had the instrument backing track playing in my headphones. One problem. The volume was up so high, the sound coming from the cans was being picked up by the microphones. Result – a whole night’s work wasted. The next night, lesson learned, we completed the vocals.

That week, Tom worked his magic. He mixed the track beautifully, giving the guitar a brilliant tone, re-inserting a piano track on the third verse I didn’t have the courage to use but in the mix it sounded absolutely fantastic. He was still mixing until Monday, three days from the date I’m writing this. The result was just so good.

Meanwhile, last week I was free to work on the video. Every song needs a video now. There is no money in streaming unless you’re a top line artist. Certainly not Lavender Hill. But videos cost a lot of money, My solution was to ask a big favour from my friend, Alex Horwood of globalglimpses.com. He’s good, and if you watch the video you’ll agree. He also did the video for a solo song called ‘Pilgrims’ that will be released, lockdown permitting, at the end of August. But he’s very busy so I had to do all the research and putting together a storyboard that would work for the song.

What’s the song about? It’s about us. How we deal with being locked down in our own homes, how we worry about Covid-19. I’ll leave you with the lyrics. See you next Monday…

DANCING IN SILENCE

There’s a cloud across the nation

As we live in isolation

Feels like we’re floating

An in a sea of not knowing

We stand far apart

With our frozen hearts

Connected by our phone

Yet living all alone

We search for salvation

In this fog of desolation

Like we’re treading water

This sickness makes us falter

No-one hears our cry

No voiceless reply

Just echoes in the sky

Where only angels fly

CHORUS

Alone in the darkness

I hear the music swell

I’m dancing in silence

I do it so well

The sound fills my senses   

Tear down my defences

Music like bright colours

Fills my lonely soul

While I’m dancing in silence

I am not alone

We feel a dislocation

Yet hear a faint vibration

Under the empty floor

Behind the sealed door

Nothing we can hear

But there is something near

Songs of hope in the air

Reaching in from somewhere

Author: Adventures in Music

Silver is the singer and guitarist of Lavender Hill, a British rock band formed in 2016. He started playing guitar from the age of 9. His first band was formed when he was 11, playing Beatles covers on acoustic guitar. Since then he has been making music in the UK (Buster), France, Africa (Tempting Fate) where he also collaborated with the Cameroonian artist Tom Yom's, and the United States (Mid-Life Crisis - the American version). He writes songs on his own and with Lavender Hill's drummer Razz B and has also published a novel under his real name, Graham Knight. And his name is more to do with the colour of his hair rather than his bank balance!

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