Photos: Will Vickers.
The recording sessions that formed the basis for Upwey commenced on Monday, March 21, 2016 at Matt Walker’s studio in Upwey, Victoria, with Rowan Matthews as engineer, though it’s true to say that job titles don’t tell half the story. Nobody just did their job. Everyone did magnificently.
I’ve been a fan of Matt Walker’s work since I saw him and Ash Davies playing live on late night television in the late 90s. What I liked most about Matt was his ability to weave different musical strands together to create sounds that were accessible but defied simple categorisation. There were elements of blues, folk, rock and even pop, but most of all it sounded like Matt Walker.
Grant Cummerford has been a friend and and inspiration for many years and was always going to play bass on this record – no question. The fact that Grant, Matt and Ash had already collaborated extensively made it relatively easy for me to decide to record in Matt’s studio in Upwey, which is in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges to the north-east of Melbourne.
I knew I wanted a violin on the record. When the violinist Matt had orignally booked had to cancel, Alex Burkoy stepped in after Grant suggested him as a replacement. Before the end of the first take with Alex I knew he was the one.
That left the keyboard parts, which due to the limited session times and my wish to have both a real piano and a real pianist in the shape of my very good friend Kris Schubert on the recording meant the piano and Hammond would have to be recorded post the Upwey sessions. In keeping with the way we worked at Matt’s place, we recorded all Kris’s piano and organ parts in a single day at his Boat Shed studio at O’Connell, outside Bathurst in NSW, with no rehearsal prior to the session.
What you hear more than anything else on Upwey is a testament to the musical and technical skills, comittment and professionalism of the people who were directly involved – from the initial recordings to the mastering by Rick O’Neil at Turtlerock in Leichardt. Somehow, they made it work. To be honest, there isn’t an amount of money you could pay me to work with me. I would drive me crazy.
Waking at 3am to jot down some inane wordplay and spend the rest of the day pushing it and other words and phrases around on bits of paper using scrawls and lines with arrow-heads pointing to where this or that bit should be or needs to go is not an occupation I would recommend to anyone.
Recording and releasing an album of original songs is expensive, time and soul consuming and frustrating, but also life-affirming and in the end worth every second of the process.
There are of course a host of people not named here who have helped me in many ways over the past few years. I will thank you when I see you.
In closing, I will simply say that my dearest wish is that this recording serves no useful purpose, ever.
Bill Hunt – (11:52am) Tuesday, June 21, 2016
©2016 Bill Hunt