No stranger to recording in conventional studios, Gareth Dunlop’s new album sees him take a step in a different direction - “We moved into our house in Belfast about 3 years ago. Spending months at a time away from the house, it just felt right to make this record in my own home. As well as it being somewhere I’m most comfortable, it just has a cool vibe and sound to it, and I wanted to capture that. Something different happens when the studio comes to the musicians… it forces you to approach things differently and think outside of the box. The songs we recorded were all written in the months leading up to the session and I think the emotions of the songs were very much still on the forefront of my mind.”
The album is produced by Gareth, Bobby Hamrick and Alastair McMillan. Gareth’s musical relationship with Alastair began in 2009 when Alastair discovered Gareth playing cover songs in a pub in Belfast. This led to Alastair recording Gareth’s first material in Dublin’s Windmill Lane - “Working with Al again was like picking up from where we left off. Al was behind the glass the first time I sang down a studio mic and recorded the first songs I ever wrote. He has worked with some of my musical heroes and his love of capturing sound is something I’ve always fed off” said Gareth.
Having previously worked with artists such as Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones & U2 Alastair said “When the idea for Gareth’s project came up, the plan was to keep everything as simple and organic as possible and to that end we decided to record with no EQ or dynamics, just the bare minimum of microphones in front of instruments. What that gave us was an incredible pure clean energy that jumped right off the tape from day one and made for one of the most enjoyable sessions that I’ve ever been involved with.” Gareth has written with some of Nashville’s top songwriters, one of them being writer/producer Bobby Hamrick. Gareth adds “Bobby and I hit it off right away. His approach to writing and producing couldn’t be further from my own. He had ideas when we were recording that I would have never thought about and that’s definitely something I wanted around me when making this record.”
In addition to Bobby Hamrick on bass and guitar, Gareth pulled in Matt Weir (Drums) and John McCullough (Piano) – “I wanted to keep the palate small for the record, no lush strings, brass sections or synths. There are limitations to recording in a house and I wanted to use those restraints as an opportunity to be more creative. It made us all use our instruments in a different way… because we didn’t have a string quartet, we taped up the strings on my old piano to emulate a string part on ‘What It Wants’. That was the story for most days... If we didn’t have it, we had to make it. I spent a couple of weeks driving my family crazy getting the house ready and sound treating the rooms. It wasn’t until we recorded the first take of the first song that I knew it would work. Having great musicians and great friends in my home made the process of recording these songs so much more enjoyable.”
No.79 will be released on the 11th August 2017 and is available for pre-sale on iTunes now.
See Gareth Dunlop Live:
Saturday 12, August: Stendhal Festival (afternoon show), Limavady
Saturday 12 August: East Side Arts Festival (evening show), Belfast
Thursday 17 August: Spirit Store, Dundalk
Saturday 30 September: ISLAND Arts Centre, Lisburn
Sunday 8 October: Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (Americana Festival)
Wednesday 22 November: HTH, Shrewsbury (supporting Duke Special)
Thursday 23 November: The Met, Bury (supporting Duke Special)
Friday 24 November: Oran Mor, Glasgow (supporting Duke Special)
Saturday 25 November: Falkirk Trinity Church, Falkirk (supporting Duke Special)
For more info: www.garethdunlop.com