Blur’s Damon Albarn and producer James Ford have recently shared an insight into the recording of the band’s latest The Ballad Of Darren album. It has come to light that few plugins were used in its recording, and as for the gear, that turned out to be “a bit irrelevant.”
The recording process did result in is “the first real Blur album in 20 years”.
James Ford and Damon Albarn recently joined the Tape Notes podcast and shed light on the super-quick recording of The Ballad Of Darren, which took place at the start of this year. It saw the band working on up to four tracks a day from a selection of 30 demos they started the session with.
“At the beginning, it was quite intense,” says Ford via Music Radar, “because we were going through, like, three or four basic tracks a day just playing and jamming over them, intending to get a feel for it. Before we knew it, it was only a few weeks in and we were listening back to a rough version of the album. It was just like, let’s just keep moving as quick as we can.”
One of the aspects that helped was not getting too bogged down with the gear and plugins they used for the project, with Ford admitting:
“it was done pretty quickly so we didn’t use a lot of plugins” and “Damon has no interest in the technical side of it, which is great. Sometimes it goes the other way where I’ve seen people get too worried about ‘the chain’ and thinking about the compression, just like putting off the inevitable. The technology is a procrastination hole if you’re not careful.”
The slick and streamlined studio experience has left Damon feeling like The Ballad Of Darren is a return to Blur’s golden period.
“This is really the first real Blur record for over 20 years,” he notes in the podcast. “Like going back to being truly a band, not disparate, all focused, all in the same place wanting to do the same thing, feeling like a band of brothers once again. It kind of put us back to that beautiful moment in like ’92/’93 when we were working on Modern Life is Rubbish. Suddenly it was like we are realising our potential a bit.”