Tuesday 18 January 2011


Antifreeze? Check!
Flask of black coffee? Check!
Sandwiches? Check!
Sounds for the duration of the journey? Oh Yes!

So there I was, travelling down to Southampton on the 28th of Dec 2010 to attend the drum tracking sessions at Aubitt for the next Big Big Train album, English Electric .

The Christmas card weather in the UK over the last few weeks has made for some breathtakingly beautiful and dramatic scenery but rather hairy driving conditions. Poor visibility, cars speeding up then slamming on the breaks only to proceed at crawling pace once more. Repeat ad infinitum....

The brilliant sunshine, ethereally glowing behind banks of fog and mist, made for some very beautiful skies. Reminiscent of a Turner painting.

It's always good to to meet up with Greg, Andy and Rob again. Despite the road trip down to the south of England being a three hour drive for me, The Train manage to get together quite often throughout the year. The company is always good humoured and often hilarious. In stark contrast to our melancholy sound and serious nature of some of our material.

I met Nick D'Virgilio and his family for the first time. On the afternoon of the 28th, we were working on drum tracks for three songs I've contributed to English Electric. Nick is a very musical drummer and added much to the tracks. He is professional and able to swiftly adapt to anything we threw at him. Everything he does has a compelling groove. He is highly attentive to details, the mood of the pieces and the sounds he brings from his drum kit. I know he's a bit of a drum octopus in the world of professional drummers and I fully expected his playing to be as breathtaking as it usually is. The main thing that impressed me was how he engaged with the material. How he listened and understood what was needed. What a great musician he is.

Despite it being the first time we were all together in one room (Dave Gregory not included - we'd see him in Winchester on the 29th for a photo shoot), in between tracks it was just like any other band in a recording studio. Out came the stories, the banter and the jokes.

I spoke with Greg last Sunday who has been busy laying down bass parts over the past few weeks and he's delighted with the energy of the rhythm tracks we've got down for English Electric. All being well the first track may be with me by the end of this week!

I can't wait!

Happy New Year