Jerry Fehily (Drums) Ronnie O Flynn (Bass) Dave Molloy (Producer/Guitars/Keys)
Phil Muir (Mix & Master)
Get Up Get Out! …….. (formally known as the Bigger Picture)
Last year I decided to go in to the studio to record some of my new songs. I hadn’t recorded anything in such a long time, apart from various demoes that I had kept chipping away at. Now when I say that they were ‘new’ songs, what I mean to say is that they had all been written over the last two to three years.
The studio in which I recorded these songs was such a road-trip away from my hometown that I began to realise very quickly that every second in the studio was valuable and not going to be wasted. So I, along with my drummer and my double bass player cracked on and laid down a vast body of work in a very short time. The songs were based around the piano, with a Jazz lean to them. We recorded them as a trio deciding that if guitar/brass/ solos were needed, that they could be overdubbed at a later date. These recordings will be released in the future months.
As I said, there was a particular Jazz feel to most of these recordings. I had listened to a lot of the American Songbook when I was growing up. So the influences had obviously being paying off in my writing !!
However, I had also listened to a lot of ‘other’ music when I was younger. From the Beatles to Bacharach to the Beach Boys with lots of Motown, R&R and of course whatever was current in the Top Twenty Charts (remember that!) at the time.
So back to the studio. In amongst all these Jazz songs was this one song, The Bigger Picture. I had tried on a few occasions to record it as a Jazz number, even trying the Buble approach by getting a young dude in to sing it. But it never quite got there. We recorded it in the studio during one of the sessions, trying to dress it up as a Jazz number. But even listening to it on that long drive home, I knew it wasn’t wearing the right clothes. A rethink was in order.
A few weeks later I was back in the studio to record some backing vocals. I discussed ‘The Bigger Picture’ with my producer, Dave Molloy. I told him how I felt it hadn’t worked, but was still eager to find a way to make it work. It is a great song and I didn’t want to shelve it.
We knew that it had to be much more uptempo than any previous demo I had recorded. The lyrics are so positive and so bright, especially on the chorus. So Dave, my producer, took the bull by the horns, so to speak and laid down a rough drum track. This was just to have something for the bass player to work with. We knew that the actual drums would go down once we got the body of the song recorded.
Dave was on a roll. He laid down a rough bass track, followed by acoustic/electric guitars, keys. My abiding memory of our sessions will always be of him saying, ‘just trust me, I have an idea’. I did trust him as I had decided long before ever setting foot inside his studio that I was here to learn and was open to new ideas.
I did have a few ideas of my own. I could hear the vocals in my head that would eventually appear at the top of the song. That was where I was going to ‘tip my hat’ to Brian Wilson. And of course, the vocals on the solo section. I heard the Beatles. I heard Kirsty McColl. I heard the Mamas & the Papas!! I wanted ‘singable’ ‘singalong’ vocals. That might sound a bit weird but if the listener can join in and sing along, well then, job done.
At this point all the backing vocals (myself, Dave and Phil (Mix & Master)) were sounding so strong, that I started to get a little worried about the main vocal. I personally didn’t want it to be a vocal that was just pushed up ‘in the final mix’ for the sake of it. Two things I can’t stand: main vocal lost somewhere in a sea of sound and main vocal that is so far up in the mix that it makes your ears bleed. So I said to Dave, ‘just trust me, I have an idea’. I suggested I’d sing another main vocal and just have it ‘sit’ under the first main vocal in the final mix. It worked beautifully!!
The double bass didn’t feel right for what was becoming a very ‘Pop’ sounding song. So I can’t write about the bass player’s session because I wasn’t there. I’ve never met Ronnie. What I should say is that I haven’t met him yet. But he played a blinder. Shades of McCartney came out in his playing. That will always keep me happy.
After a few weeks, now that the song was really taking shape, it was time to record the drums. Jerry came to the studio and played out of his skin (please excuse the pun). He also put down tambourine as well as handclaps. It’s amazing the sound that ‘real drums’ can bring to a track. If we thought the song sounded energetic beforehand, it was bursting at the seams by the time Jerry was finished with it.
Just to backtrack a little. During the backing vocals sessions, we were struggling to find something for the outro. I’ve always believed that you have to give the listener something memorable at the end of a song. Now I can sit in the privacy of my own home and ad lib to my heart’s content. But in a vocal booth when that red light comes on, it’s a whole different story. I admit … I struggled. Somewhere into the late evening, I was running out of energy, having being singing for most of the day. We were also running out of time. Dave said, try singing something like, Come on, get up, get out shake the world about!! Need I say more.
Dave did an overall rough mix for me before sending all the individual files to Phil Muir in the UK to do the final mix and master. Jeepers, Phil really had his work cut out for him. But he got it just right. He knew which way the song was going. He could feel the energy, the freshness from every individual recorded track. He also mastered it. In fact after a few weeks, he emailed me a remastering of the song because, well, he just wasn’t happy with it. I was and still am very happy.
Up to this point, the song was still called, ‘The Bigger Picture’. Phil got in touch. He said he had played it to one of his mates who suggested, ‘Come on get up get out’ would make a better song title. Leave them with something memorable, I thought!! I spoke to Dave and between the three of us we settled on ‘Get Up Get Out’ and then the song was truly born and ready to take on the world.
For a little song written on the ukulele, on a beautiful summer’s day, it’s turned into a real ‘Poptastic’ affair.