I began making music in my early teens and was always interested in the recording process. Even with the primitive domestic home stereo equipment I had back then, I always attempted recording bits and pieces, mainly as home experiments.
As I got older, I became involved in bands and recorded my first proper studio demo in the summer of 1995. This was done at Revolver Studios, which later re-branded as Voltage Studios and was recorded and mixed by Tim Walker. It was the start of a musical relationship which continues to this day. Tim has recorded every band I have been involved with ever since and I have learned much from him over the years.
I bought my first semi professional recording machine around the year 2000. It was an Akai DPS12i, 12-track digital hard disk recorder and along with my Roland XP-60 Synth Workstation, I began experimenting. I was in a band called Purity Cries at the time and the idea was to self-record an album using that equipment. We did do some bits but nothing was ever really completed. The band ceased before we finished anything. Our previous work had been recorded by Tim and a small handful of tracks were recorded at Academy Studios in Dewsbury. Academy is a very popular studio with the bands on the metal scene and has produced some great work over the years but with the exception of one track, I felt that it didn’t quite work for us at the time. Tim understood where we were coming from much more. After that, Voltage was the only professional grade studio I would use.
In 2014, I had been in Dawn of Elysium for almost 3 years and our last recording had been a single song which was recorded in the summer of 2013, again at Voltage. I decreed towards the end of that year that we would record a full length album to commence in the new year of 2015 and that we would do it ourselves. My friend Martin Hawthorn wanted to produce and mix the album so we began our journey together.
Technology had moved on since my previous efforts. Although I still have it, the DPS12i was somewhat old hat and very limited. For some time I had been using Garageband on my Mac, along with a plugin to program our drum tracks, so for editing, it made sense to at least start with that. I didn’t want to mess about setting up interfaces and a computer for the recording process. I was after something portable, hands-on and simple to set up. So after some research, I bought a Tascam DP32. With us not having a live drummer, this would allow us to record the backbone live in the rehearsal room with relative ease. The Tascam has 8 inputs which can be used to record simultaneously with 32 available tracks in total. Subsequent import/export of tracks with the Mac is simple.
We recorded the first album using this workflow method with Garageband as the DAW. We used a mixture of Martin’s and my Mac and the bulk of the mixing was done at his place. I later upgraded to Logic Pro X, which is much more flexible and professional. In 2017, I added a bit more hardware to my setup and finally had a room in which to set it all up properly. My home studio was now complete. I named it Idle Hands due to my proximity to the West Yorkshire village of Idle.