DIDI is better known as Hertfordshire producer Lauren Deakin Davies, who at 21 is the youngest full member of the Music Producer’s Guild. Having produced many tracks which have gained Radio 2, 3 and 6 play for the last four years, DIDI has recently launched herself into the fray as a solo act, with a debut single Sorry, which she wrote, recorded and released herself.
Hot on the heels of the debut single, DIDI is releasing Awkward, a punchy passionate anthem. Creatively produced with organic percussion (including cold cups of tea tweaked to resonate in the right key!), DIDI has thrown out the rule book to create something of herself, for herself. Ironically, the searing honesty in the lyrics has inadvertently created a song which resonates for many, especially those within the LGBTQ+, disabled and minority groups #endtheawkward. Awkward is coming out as an independent release on 28th April.
‘This song was initially written about a situation that seems to happen a lot to me and my friends, especially the female musicians. People seem to have a sense of entitlement over you when you have put yourself ‘out there’, as if you have open the door to ridicule and its ok for them to say it because ‘you have just been on stage so you must have a thick skin’. But it doesn’t work like that, often the criticisms are completely unprovoked and unnecessary and it’s packaged up as constructive criticism, but in reality, it’s just un called for.
This song gets more specific though, it’s not just about the comments online or people whispering about you, it’s about the bold faced people who think they know better than you and want you know about it, and think they can just dominate all your time and topics or just linger and make you talk. And I’ve realized that the sentiment here may resonate with the often patronizing experiences that many people have told me they have, where people speak for you or think they know best. This song draws attention to the fact that awkward conversations happen in many different guises to many different people, and I think it’s important to bring it out into the open, so these issues can be expressed in supportive environments to #endtheawkward. This song is trying to hit home the subtle communication issues that plague day to day situations, and how to try deal with them. Ultimately, I don’t think the people doing it are aware of how unpleasant their behaviour is, so hopefully this song will make people think before they just hit you with their UNSOLICITED OPINION!
I had a lot of fun recording this. I have deliberately shied away from more conventional recording techniques because it is ‘my’ project, so if I mess it up no one is going to get upset! Something that I have really enjoyed working in is the percussion. I am not a drummer so drum parts don’t come as naturally to me. Of course, I could program them which I have not got a problem with, or enlist any of my awesome drummer friends but I thought I would try something different. The percussion on my first two releases Sorry and Awkward stem from listening to new music and more specifically some of Jimmy Hogarth’s recent work. I particularly liked a pattern he used and it made me think I wanted to remix a track like that so I tried to incorporate it but I couldn’t quite get the samples to sound right, so I decided I would just record myself drumming out the pattern on my wooden desk, then trigger the samples afterwards. But after I tapped it out I though this actually sounds quite cool, so I boosted the bass and smashed it though a compressor and I was like ‘yes’!
It was exactly the sound I wanted, lo-fi but punchy and really hit the spot which is what I was going for because I didn’t want it to sound like everything else. I took it a step further when I recorded Awkward because I took the ‘organic approach – anyone who has been in a studio will be familiar with multitudinous half drunk vessels of beverage. My studio, I am ashamed to say, is no different. I noticed they were ringing at a specific pitch when they tapped each other when I hit the desk to tap out the drum rhythm, so I decided to make use of two of the glasses and experimented with different levels of cold tea, (other drinks might be available in other studios!) to get the right pitch for the song, which took a while but was so worth it, and actually great fun.
As a result, you can hear the sampled sound all the way through the track! You can also hear me scraping a piece of metal along the guitar neck to make more of the build up in one part before the chorus. I also decided that I didn’t want to use a high hat so instead I got 2 pens and tapped out the high hat parts on a tambourine, on a cushioned chair to get the sort if muted sound I wanted!