We arranged a cup of tea and a natter in Nigel’s hometown of Nantwich in Cheshire (about 40 minutes away from my native Runcorn) at a lovely little quaint pub called “The Cheshire Cat”. Nigel came armed with his latest production work in the guise of 2 very popular and seminal albums: Matt Owen’s (Noah and The Whale) Whiskey and Orchids and Thea Gilmore’s stunning “Small World Turning”, I’ve since binged these albums plenty of times, and they get better with every listen. When Nigel asked me for a more in depth account of the material I had been harvesting, I reeled off not only this new projects name (The Far North) the material in question (My strongest 11 songs, 6 new and 4 reworking of Fireflys songs) the band members (Andie Packer and I) but I even had the albums name “Songs For Gentle Souls”. Nigel’s eyes widened.
We chatted for some time over copious cups of tea and excitingly started to hatch our battle plan, which at first was a tight 4 track E.P which then germinated into a full length 11 track album which wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for a very serendipitous meeting with Ian from The Analog Music Fund (Ian if you’re reading this - I simply cant thank you enough - I thank you from the bottom of my heart).
We decamped over to Airtight Studios in Manchester where we met Seadna McPhail, an absolute wizard of an engineer who has worked with some of the music industry’s finest luminaries including I Am Kloot, Badly Drawn Boy, Inspiral Carpets and the aforementioned Thea Gilmore, amongst others. I had been sending Nigel demos of everything I deemed suitable and in my haste failed to realise at first that I had absolutely inundated him with song after song after song, which to Nigel’s excitement he’d ring me about an hour after each time I’d send one and we’d dissect it. Over some deliberation we cherry picked the strongest 11 and set to work recording them. It was very different working with a producer in that there was always a plan for the day ahead, a structured schedule and before we knew it we had completed all 11 songs in 15 days.
Tune in next time for teh final part (for now)
Thanks for listening.