After a couple of days of rehearsing in a rehearsal studio once frequented by Lou Reed (although from what we could gather, he may have only rehearsed there once!), we felt inspired and only just ready to start recording, so we headed to Stratosphere Studios for the first time. We figured that this was the best way to be, because, let’s face it, who wants to be over-rehearsed?!  Jim and Shahzad had their heads around the songs, but for the first two days we recorded the songs that just involve me, Holly & Sally. Jim came along to offer moral support and opinions and we recorded the first two songs. They’re based around harmonies, acoustic guitar and piano. These are the simplest songs we will record. By the end of day two we recorded the basis of about 5 songs and we felt very proud of our progress. Then on the third day the bass player, Shahzad came in and we started to record the fuller band songs. It’s been so much fun, just as we’d hoped… Hearing Jim play up close like that is a really exciting experience for all of us when we’ve been fans for years and Shazhad has now been named “the oracle” because he has great patience, ideas and a knowledge of almost any topic you may care to discuss with him. I also found out yesterday that he’s done recordings with Tom Waits. I’m really excited about this and casually asked him some questions yesterday, but I may need to revisit this topic in a few days to gather more info. We also found out that one of the owners of the studio we’re recording in is James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins. He’s a really nice guy with a cute dog called Buddy. Today we met Buddy’s canine friend who has inherited a 3 million dollar New York apartment. I’m not kidding. The sad looking Maltese Terrier lives in the apartment with 2 housekeepers and a couple of Picasso paintings and has the same dog walker as Buddy. The dog walker lady throws puppy parties for the lonely little rich dog and gives her massages once a week. It’s all very strange.. In other news, Holly has been giving us daily Julia Gillard updates, and I’m addicted to Words With Friends (similar to Scrabble on the iPhone).
It’s now the end of day four and we’re all very excited to hear some rough mixes of the songs in the morning. Victor  has stayed back at the studio to do this tonight. We’ve made our way through the basics of 12 songs already and we’re feeling really good about it all. It’s nice for all of us to be doing something a little bit different to what we all do individually and we’re enjoying being a band. We’re in the studio until Monday so there’s plenty left to do, but it’s all well and truly on its way… Below is a video that really inspired Sally to write one of the songs on the album. It’s Stevie Nicks singing one of her songs while getting her makeup done for a Rolling Stones photo shoot. It’s an amazing version of this song (in fact it was unfortunately never recorded like this) and she looks and sounds so great.

Empire State Of Mind

August 10, 2010

We’ve tweeted it and therefore it’s official (insert sarcastic tone) – Holly Throsby, Sally Seltmann and I are in New York City making a record in a mere ten days. We’re all happy to be here at Stratosphere Studios considering the dramatic lead up.. Sally was knocked into a man’s luggage trolley as she was transferring to her New York flight in Los Angeles. As Sally herself reported to me upon arriving in New York “He looked cuckoo, dressed in a woollen vest, t-shirt and shorts and plowed into me through the crowd, scooping me up into his trolley until I was actually sitting in his trolley, my legs tangled in the wheels”. What made the incident even more peculiar is that Sally found herself to be alone in the trolley, the crazed man having no other form of baggage. Well, apart from his own personal baggage. (insert chuckle) If anyone has spotted the crazed vest wearing man, please don’t hesitate to alert the authorities. Alas, this was not the only mishap to befall our friend Sally, for her luggage was lost upon arriving in New York and didn’t turn up for 3 days. Young Holly Throsby had her own troubles with her “flip flops” (insert the word “thongs” if Australian) self destructing on the walk towards the rehearsal studio on the first day. Unfortunately they gave no indication that they were about to give way and so she was forced to hobble on one fip flop until she could find a suitable shoe store. Unfortunately the end to the sad tale is that Throsby was forced to buy a $1 pair of bright orange diamonte flip flops and walk through the cosmopolitan city of New York with blushed cheeks. I flew in from London with nothing more dramatic to report other than an entertainment system that wasn’t functioning properly for the first half of the flight.

So, let me tell you a little bit about the record.. Sally, Holly and I have been talking about doing one together for a while now. At first we thought about just doing a series of shows together, but then decided we’d all longed to be in a girl band.  Sally sent some reference tunes for inspiration and a song that she’d recently written, and Holly and I were smitten with the idea. Over the next six months in between touring, recording and procrastinating we all wrote enough songs for an album and decided on New York City as our recording destination.  We are joined by the wonderful Jim White on drums,  Shahzad Ismaily on bass and Victor Van Vugt (producing/engineer).