So it must have been a night at the Korean, because the band were philosophical, which generally means tired and emotional.
“We’re a band, right?”
“So what do we need?”
Despite the fog of soju, beer, and other things, the answer was self-evident.
“We need an album!”
And off we marched into the night, full of piss and vinegar, positively bursting to hit the studio.
Back at JTK headquarters, the band piggybank containing the cash scrimped from a few gigs was solemnly brought forth. It seemed disturbingly light. We shook its contents out onto the table - a few sad, crumpled notes.
“It’s not much!” we agreed sadly. “But, hey, this is China! Things are not as expensive as in other countries. We’ll find some hot studio where they’ll produce our album for a song (no pun intended)!”
“Hello? Yes? No problem - for that money we can give you four hours of studio time.”
“Can we finish an album in that time?” ”No, just the instrument tracks for one song, no mixing.”
Great. Fighting our disappointment, the band went back to the drawing board.
“How about those studios who do classical music? They really know their shit and love music, so it might be less expensive!”
“Hello? Yes? I see. For that money we can give you two hours of studio time - about enough to tune the instruments.”
Crestfallen, we shovelled the few crumpled notes back into the pig.
But don’t they say every cloud has a silver lining, and the answer is often right under your nose?
“Sure lads,” said Silent D, one of JTK’s musical mates and sometime collaborators. “I’ll do what I can to help you out. Mind you, it’s just a computer in my man cave…”
Shabby Road studios is an upper floor of a luxury penthouse, backing up to a mountain somewhere down in east central Jiangning. Birdsong and the fresh scent of greenery wafts through the windows. Instruments from drumkits and pianos to kazoos and triangles are stashed in every space. Silent D expertly uses state-of-the-art software with amazing efficiency to get things done in a fraction of the normal time, and not only that - he can fill in on any instrument, including voice, that you could wish for.
“When you have a steady triangle, it’s always difficult to find an element that can turn it into a perfect cube without destroying it,” says George, still in philosophical mode. “The three elements of JTK - air, fire and water - found the element of earth, which materialized all the beautiful vibrations that we call music into the solid format of digital waves. Four elements in harmony created a fifth element - music.”
Half way through the session, when it was time for refreshment, Thief and Knight went off to steal some food and ale on horseback (cheers for that one, Silent D!)
Did we mention Silent D has a degree in music production as well?
Thank you Shabby Road Studios!