Mad Men & English Dogs
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"Nigel ... in a top-notch fusion with Doug Scarratt" - DMME ... read the full review
* These are 30 seconds snippets to serve as a taster for you. The album is available to buy from this site.
The story of "Mad Men and English Dogs" and how it came to be.
After having to leave Saxon in order to let my injury heal - I was told to lay off drumming for three to four months - I put my head down to get some writing done here at home. A solo album had been foremost in my mind for a few months and I wanted to do something which would allow me to go beyond the confines of being in a band, much as I loved it - there was a lot in me wanting to break out. I've always listened to a very diverse range of music, anything from metal to progressive rock through to jazz fusion, ambient, ending up with renaissance choral pieces - in other words from Type O Negative to Genesis to Thomas Tallis.
So now, with all this time on my hands, I re-acquainted myself with musical ideas I had previously worked on whenever I'd had a break from the vigorous round of recording, touring and sessioning. I always save everything when I am composing, be it complete pieces or just short melodic and/or rythmic segments. Therefore sifting through these, I gradually started formulating the tracks. At the same time, other ideas were popping out, so they were also worked on.
Doug (Scarratt), from the band, lives very close to my home - I wanted him to play guitar on the album I was putting together even though, at this stage, it was still in its infancy. We discussed everything at lengh and then realised we had written four tracks in the lead up to the writing sessions for "Unleash the Beast" - these hadn't been used for the final album as the latter had taken a darker direction musically - so we decided to give three of them a complete re-vamp and put them on "Mad Men.....". Now the seed had been sown there was a lot of work to be done.
The thing, however, was to get back into drumming. I had buried myself in my studio (and other peoples) for a long period of time working on various projects and drumming had taken a back seat. I arranged a few jam sessions with friends and then played some low key local gigs - everything was fine - that was that worry laid to rest. However, without wanting to shatter the piece and quiet around here, the tracks were put together initially with basic drum programming - I would replace all of this eventually - this gave me a bunch of templates from which to build on. The keyboard parts were added to this and any lead melody ideas. Doug and I did a lot of jamming and swapping parts around in the arrangements. With his Saxon commitments and the fact that I had several other projects running concurrently this was a stop/start situation. But once we knew the direction a particular track was taking, I was able to fine tune all the keyboard parts (and initial bass sequences) whenever time presented itself.
Eventually, eleven tracks had been written and it was time to add all of the guitar parts. I had been working on another album with a friend of mine, Rory Cameron, either here at home or in his studio in Brighton, and knowing his engineering prowess, asked him if he would like to get involved with this whole "Mad Men" thing in an engineering/co-producer capacity. A resounding "yes" followed, with the result that my keyboard gear was uprooted to his studio. The guitar and bass tracks were laid down along with any vocal samples, sound effects etc.
Now I had to replace the original programmed drums. The Saxon writing sessions had limbered me up for this - the only question was where? I had been working at Silvermere Studios, near Guildford, programming tracks and therefore knew the setup there. I already had the click tracks from the initial programming so therefore it was a quick, painless and thoroughly enjoyable process. The use of triggers gave us the sample option.
Now firmly entrenched back in Brighton, Rory and I set about mixing, and the fruit of our labout was released 17th September and is available to buy only from this website.