Tag Archives: Recording

Feature: Richard Harris

Richard Harris takes the Reflection and Response interview to heart. In this piece, Rich informs about his perspective becoming an integral part of the Madrid music scene coming from England,  highlights the role that Reflection and Response has played in some recent events in his life, and stresses the importance of creativity and expression. The interview touches on the talent found throughout the Spanish capital city and how this Collective inspires artistic creation. Three of Richard’s tracks accompany the interview to provide an audio reference to the interesting and enlightening words below. Without further adieu, we’re proud to present Richard Harris.

The Red Telephones

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

RH:  I’m from Basildon, Essex. Close to London & famous for being home to Depeche Mode & very little else! Where am I at? Good question. Here in Madrid & immersing myself further & further into what is, at the moment, a vibrant music scene. I’m currently running the open mic at Triskel Tavern, recording an album with my band The Red Telephones & playing live whenever I can. There are so many people making good music in the city at the moment & I take the opportunity to see just about all of them when they play live.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

RH: Reflection & Response. Still a difficult one this is. I lost one of my oldest friends to cancer just over a year ago & my response was to write a song about him because I miss him. Recently, my mum had cancer & it was a difficult time for my family. Fortunately she is ok now. The response was at once to write a song about it. I also split with my girlfriend around the same time, so no prizes for guessing what the response was! Let’s just say it’s not going to be the happiest of albums when it’s done. On reflection, I have to move on for my sake but I’m still finding it hard regarding Lee. I miss him, simple as that.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

RH: Read the above. Lee’s Tune, The Ties That Bind & Love Is Blind. It’s difficult to remove yourself from your own writing but I reckon The Ties That Bind is possibly the best thing I’ve ever written.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

RH: I’m incredibly insecure about my voice, probably because I know so many great vocalists here in Madrid so I went into the studio during Semana Santa & recorded a cover version for the first time. The song is an old traditional called I Know My Rider & I know the song because The Byrds did a version of it. I wanted to see if I could sing in a different style than the Joe Strummer/Punk Rock thing that I normally do. I think it worked & I’m happy with the results. It has given me some ideas regarding what to do with some of the remaining vocals on the album.

Who or what inspires you?

 RH: Inspirations? Musical ones first. My biggest one is The Clash; inspiring, life changing & as a 14 year old in Essex with some of my peers drifting towards right-wing politics, The Clash coming out in favour of The Anti-Nazi League & Rock Against Racism had a powerful & lasting effect. I despise racism & racists to this day. My favourite album is Forever Changes by Love, it’s a masterpiece, simple as that & if you haven’t heard it make sure you do a.s.a.p. I’m a massive fan of The Stone Roses, La’s, Byrds, Velvet Underground, Stooges, Stones, MC5, Bo Diddley, Dylan, 13th Floor Elevators, New York Dolls, Pistols, Smiths & countless others. I’m into most types of music, very big on reggae & currently really digging country for the first time in my life, in fact I don’t know how I lived without it for so long. As I type this I’m listening to the Black Angels, proof that there are still good bands out there.

Life Inspirations? Anyone who has stood up against oppression—Gandhi, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Victor Jara, Jan Palach etc; all of these are bigger heroes than any musician.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

RH: What else? Well, not that it really matters but I’m not exactly young. When I came here 4.5 years ago I’d pretty much given up music & I’m still in a state of shock that this is actually happening! I didn’t expect to finally be recording, gigging & organizing open mic nights in my 40s. I’m happy that I am though-it feels great. I really get a buzz out of watching other musicians, particularly the ones who are nervous to begin with, just like I was. Watching their confidence grow & their stage presence improve is really satisfying.

Shout out to…?

RH: Too many people to mention because there are so many wonderful musicians & friends so I’m going to keep it in house. Woody, former open mic host, Red Telephones drummer & Pop Robinson Guitarist/Singer gets the biggest shout of all. If he hadn’t encouraged me to come back after a rabbit in the headlights first night at Triskel I wouldn’t be doing this interview now. Not only is he a fantastic musician he’s a top bloke, even if he prefers Guns & Roses to the Stone Roses!

 Padraig O’Connor. A fantastic composer & singer songwriter in his own right, Padraig plays piano & sings backing vocals for the Red Telephones. His own stuff is great & ‘Cream Seems Fine’ is one of the best songs I’ve heard by anybody in recent years & I wish I had written it myself!

 Amber Stiles. Best voice in Madrid as far as I’m concerned. She has contributed backing vocals to some tracks on the current album. Her sweet vocals are a wonderful antidote to my less than dulcet Essex tones.

 Joe Wellwood. Not an open mic regular but the new Red Telephones bassist. Great musician & top bloke as well.

 Rob Green. Former resident of Madrid & owner of Spaceland studios. Rob has produced all of the Red Telephones recordings & played bass on the second album. He has also played live with us, on one occasion learning an entire set in a matter of days when another bass player had to cancel a gig.

 Mark Doran, now in Korea but bass player on the first album. Also a shout to Rhys Berry, former Triskel regular & now Barcelona resident who played harmonica on Chime & Melanie Lawrence who played viola & violin on The Ties That Bind & a number of other tracks.

 Last but not least, Jim Montague. My best friend & a fantastic percussionist. He’s on the current album playing a variety of instruments & singing poignant backing vocals on Lee’s Tune. He misses him too.

The Red Telephones mobile upload

-Reflection and Response

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The Porch Swing Live from the Gowanus

It’s back! Check the link below for The Porch Swing Live from the Gowanus, by Reflection and Response resident artist Samuel Bostick. This is Samuel’s second live, one-take audio recording for The Porch Swing. Lookout for more to come!

The Porch Swing Live

Samuel Bostick

@THEREALSHANTS

just.the.basics

the LIFESTYLE’s role is to create collective space for active Reflection and Response through the arts. This space is built around dialogue, expression, collaboration, and artistic (ex)change involving international craftspeople and their realities. The Porch Swing series opens up a Reflection and Response residency where we feature a Collective member’s ongoing project through weekly installations.

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Original Mondays: Pay

This track came about from the Berkeley Sessions that V, Megan, and I had back over New Years. Cue banjo, Synth sounds from Massive, Reason 5 drums, some electric guitar work, Ableton mixing via this new crazy Akai Apc 40, Megan and my vocals and you have “Pay.” I’ll be debuting the track live at an upcoming show at Andy’s Bar in Madrid this Wednesday.

The lyrics came from two sessions. My first verse was recorded a few days before we did any work with Megan. However Megan, V, and I went out for some food at Lilly’s, the famous North Berkeley Chinese food spot and we discussed family and how sometimes at the beginning of our twenties we can think we’re ready for huge responsibilities. The lyrics I recorded during the previous session deal with age- it was almost serendipitous that we had that conversation at lunch. We later touched on these ideas in the chorus.

 

“I don’t ever wanna pay for aging that is just something that I don’t do. And I don’t ever wanna laugh for ages, I just wanna hold you.”

“Pay for aging, not enough. Insane we make things, let’s live for once.”

 

Megan

 

Pete

 

Reflection and Response

-P

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Bouzuki Sing

This track continues in the looping vein. The first instrument heard on the recording is the bouzouki I bought while traveling in Greece last year. I purchased the instrument precisely because I wanted a new sound in my tracks. The beat boxing comes courtesy of my guy Troy recorded in the 55th and Brooklyn house in Seattle. The final mix down comes from my studio apartment on Calle de la Palma in Madrid.

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Upcoming EP With Vivian Garcia

The last few weeks I have been recording and producing Vivian Garcia´s upcoming EP. For the post today I am going top showcase some pictures Vivian took of the recording session for her lead single ¨Cold Bed,¨ in her apartment in Malasaña in Madrid. Be on the lookout for the EP dropping in November and album art from Vicken Donikian.

 

-Reflection and Response

P

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Radio Leon #2

Episode Two of Radio Leon is finally here! This episode is focused on acoustic tracks and features an intro, a track from Shake This Maze Live From the Studio, a Jazz Classic, and a Surprise at the end. I recorded half the tracks in Robledo de Fenar and half the tracks in the capital city of León,my new home for August. Thank you for the support for the last episode and I hope you feel this installment!

-Reflection and Response

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Two Tracks From a Documentary

Seattle, 2010. Just back from Argentine study abroad. My friend Yasmeen was finishing her film studies at the University of Southern Califronia and was doing a documentary and asked for some tracks. I put these together and she ended up using “Yasmeen Slower,” in the film.

Yasmeen Louder:

Yasmeen Slower

Reflection and Response

-P

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Throwback December: Vamos! & Chan Chan

2004-2005. We moved up to garageband and started putting more influence on composition. These tracks reflect the influence of working at Monterey Market, a local produce store in Berkeley. Peep!!!

Vamos!

Chan Chan

Reflection and Response!

-P and V

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Two Cities

Interpretations differ.

I wrote a song called “The City,” sometime in 2007. I then recorded it with my band at the time, Tuition Well Spent (see below for more info). I rerecorded a version in 2009 with my duo in Argentina, Harold and the Gauchos.

Even though the instrumentation is almost identical on each track, the two versions have different vocalists and display different takes on the song. I think it’s dope to see how each version contrasts.

The Tuition version is more polished. Recorded over two days using Pro Tools in the Digital Audio Workstation at Odegaard Library at the University of Washington, Mike and I took our time with takes and mixing.

The Harold version was done on the fly. Only having practiced the song a few times before pressing record, Claudia and I hadn’t necessarily perfected our arrangement. The “dale,” that I blurt out at the start of the track lends itself to the jam session vibe. However the looser more improvised feel lends itself to a different understanding of the song.

Does anyone else have experience with how changing one part of a piece can lead to new feeling, new reflection?

The City: Tuition Well Spent

The City: Harold and the Gauchos

The City

I was swimming in the River when the river but the river said he don’t mind

Said go on now got my own place to find

So I went on down to the shining deep blue sea

But none of them fishes want to swim with me

And I feel lonely, I feel blue

Get up slowly I got nothin much to do

Ladies ain’t never had too much luck with them

I see an opportunity and all they see is a friend

And 18 odd years that’s how it’s been

I finally met Shirly but shea’s already with Ken

And I feel lonely, I feel blue

Get up slowly I got nothing left to do

Bored in the city in the city it looks so drab

Wanna find a way to get away this strange land

It seems like the sky scrapers they all laugh

In a one man room playing the blues getting pennies in a straw hat

Oh I feel lonely, I feel blue

Get up slowly I got nothing left to do

Bored in the city in the city it looks so drab

Wanna find a way to get away this strange land

It seems like the sky scrapers they all laugh

In a one man room playing the blues getting pennies in a straw hat||

Reflection and Response. In whatever City.

-P

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Argentina Thursdays: Dreams

While in Argentina I continued to write acoustic guitar-based tracks. This one uses a drum set I created from samples from various Led Zeppelin songs that I later used with my melody. The horns come from a sample of Argentine music that somehow came out as the blues.

Reflection and Response

-P

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