My studio is a reflection of current tech and the way engineer/producers work these days. I started recording in the era of two-inch multitrack recorders, where you had 24 tracks (or 23 if you were running a timecode) and almost everything was played by hand. I learned how to record drums, which might seem redundant in an age of universal loops, but although I had quickly installed MIDI sequencing back in the day, I find, now I have a drum kit again, that I prefer to do it the hard way. In the long run it sounds better, and my clients seem to agree.
So, My Presonus mixer is Firewire-800-linked to ProTools 12 on my brand new mega-fast PC, I have guitars of all types, a couple of basses, a vintage Roland D50 keyboard (currently at the menders), and even more vintage Yamaha DX7 keyboard, and a rapidly growing collection of instruments to shake, rattle, scrape and hit, as well as the aforementioned Premier vintage drum kit, and I have to say, I'm having the time of my life!
Two talented artists, Sonja Kristina on my right, and Jane Nicola Douglas on my left
I hadn't seen these two for some time when we met up in Bloomsbury for a natter a couple of years ago, and it was lovely to see them both.
They are both supremely talented, Sonja Kristina was, of course, the lead singer of the prog-rock band Curved Air, and this was after she had sung in the London cast of the first rock musical Hair, in the very early 70s and is now busy touring and recording with the reformed Curved Air, with a couple of the original members, and some of my mates, with whom I toured, playing bass, and recorded when Sonja wanted to explore the acoustic Roots movement, and with who I co-produced two albums.
Jane Nicola Douglas is a very talented singer-songwriter, and has a new album out. I mixed six of the songs recently, and just last week I added instruments to her song 'Cowboy' and mixed it, and have recorded two other albums, and mastered others with her. She is currently based in China, but files can be exchanged to and from anywhere these days. This was my first project in my Somerset recording and mastering facility
Tonky Honk at the Ivy House, Nunhead, London
This is one of the bands I'm in. Moi on bass on the right, and the Cajon-pilot is Declan Kelly, of Midway Still, pop-punk band, the main singer and song writer in the band is the silver fox at the microphone, Fred Davis, formerly of new Wave punk band 'The Occasional Tables, and the young man to his left is his son, Freddy, who is one of the best guitarists I've ever shared a stage with, and is the reason (multi-instrumentalist as I am), that I'm playing bass and not guitar in this band, as Fred Snr told me in no uncertain terms, when we were an acoustic guitar duo up till Autumn 2014 'Graeme, I'm sacking you as lead acoustic guitarist' 'Oh! Why?' I responded, slightly depleted of ego. 'Because Freddy's a better guitarist than you, and I've got a drummer, and I know you play bass, so that's what you're playing'. I had to admit he had a point, as I had witnessed young Freddy casually knock off a version of 'Sweet Home Alabama', with all three guitar parts on one guitar, a year or so previously at a gig in London. Now I know how Dave Grohl felt when he joined Nirvana and realised that there was no way he was going to play guitar with Kurt Cobain in the band, but the drum stool was vacant..............
Seeing Freddy play that particular song inspired me to learn the song myself, and I subsequently played it as guitarist with my other band, The Old Kings, but that's another story.
We're in the process of recording an album, in my studio, watch this space.
Best guitar and amp on the market
The day I bought them
Fender 60s Classic Player Stratocaster with Pau Ferro Fretboard in Sonic Blue
This has been my favourite guitar for four years now, for my live gigs and in the studio. It is amazingly versatile, has the widest range of tone colours in the pickups I've ever heard, with great switching facilities, and will cover almost all of the styles I play, from rock to funk to dreamy, near-acoustic noodling. I say 'almost', because there are a couple of things that I think my Gibson Les Paul gold-top will always do better, and that's the solo to 'Alright Now', when I play that with my old school band, slide guitar, which I mainly do in the studio for some tracks, these days, and, of course, blues lead guitar, because the resonance through my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp is just to die for.