RT's A's to RTlist Q's Part I
9/13/2005 (updated 9/13/2005)

RT Discussion List Q&A
Courtesy of Flip @

Do you think there are ways for an indie artist (yourself or any artist) to orchestrate publicity to some extend or would it be sheer quality of the product that could do the trick of generating much and good publicity?

I believe manipulation of radio and charts still goes on, but that is beyond the scope and desires of myself and Cooking Vinyl Records. We send the records out to radio and press, do a little print advertising, and hope somebody likes it - the reaction has been surprisingly strong for FPB, beyond my original plan of putting a few copies up on Beesweb.

What hardware & software & mikes have you been using to record Front Parlour Ballads?

It was recorded on my Apple G4 laptop, using Digital Performer software. I used two Neumann KM184 condenser mics on the guitar as a stereo pair, and a Superlux CM-H8A on vocals. The Neumanns were used for most of the other instruments. The vocals went through a Universal Audio LA-610 Preamp/Compresser/Limiter.

How did you technically work with recording/mixing instruments/ vocals?

Not sure exactly what you mean - some instruments were overdubbed, in the usual manner, and recordings were sent to Texas, to be mixed by Simon Tassano. He would put mixes in his public box, where I could download them, listen, and comment back to him. This was only slightly slower than being in the same room.

What could your co-producer add to what you couldn't do in the garage?

Simon has a little more software, and a lot more experience and expertise at mixing.

Which works by Ravel, Debussy and early 20th-century composers were you listening to that influenced a number of the songs on "Front Parlour Ballads"?

Early 20th Century is one of my favourite periods of music, and really, that's where I started with Classical Music, working my way back and forwards from there. I started hearing Debussy and Ravel while I was at school, and got interested in Kurt Weill and Satie a bit later. Songs of mine like 'Great Valerio' and 'The Sun Never Shines on the Poor' seem to reflect these influences. I'm fond of 'Songs of Ravel and Satie' by Regine Crespin, and David Daniels sings Ravel's '5 Songs on Anonymous Texts' and Faure's Songs on the poems of Verlaine.

Some people on the list have suggested that some of the songs on FPB have an art-song quality to them. One specific comment (from the erudite John O'Dwyer) suggested a late-romantic feel. Is this something RT recognises in the songs? If so, is there anything particular behind it?

See above - it's hard to be more specific about things like 'Art Song' and 'Late Romantic'.

What was the earliest song you wrote for Front Parlour Ballads--and when you wrote it, how soon did you know that it would be part of that project?

'When We Were Boys At School' was a demo for Mock Tudor - but it wasn't quite right for that project, and at the time, it didn't have the right shape. Other early songs were 'How Does Your Garden Grow', and 'Row, Boys, Row'. Having accumulated three or four, it seemed that there was a style there, and that it should be a separate project.

What's your favorite kind of pie??

Peach, or peach and something.