We were lucky enough to win the Bands4Good challenge earlier this year, and our prize was a recording retreat with legendary engineer John Davenport in his North Carolina ranch.
So we arrived, jet-lagged, at Raleigh, NC to be met by John’s driver, Teddy. He told us all about North Caroline, and then quickly informed us that the other UK band that had been in this car recently were One Direction. We politely smiled.
We were greeted at John’s ranch by his golden retriever George, who literally did not leave us alone for the rest of the week. We had a few beers and John told us about some of the people he had worked with in the past. John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Bruce Springsteen, Boy George, the Rolling Stones… the list goes on. He then took us over to his studio. We were blown away by the design, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the amazing functionality. Individual monitor mixers for all of us, isolation booths, an beautiful custom analogue API legacy plus console. We couldn’t wait to start work.
Over the next few days, we had the studio to ourselves, and John showed us some techniques to get the most out of our sound in the studio. Eventually, we felt ready to set up some cameras and film a live version of ‘Choices’, with Charlie doing the vocals through the very microphone that John Lennon had used in the Hit Factory studios in New York.
After leaving John’s ranch, we headed to Charlotte and Greensboro to play a couple of shows. The Evening Muse and Blind Tiger were awesome venues with great crowds. We weren’t sure how a NC audience would react to a British band, but we got some great feedback and hopefully gained some fans for life! In Charlotte we even stayed in Don and Laurie Koster’s ‘Rock n Roll Motel’, where touring bands that they like are given a place to stay for the night.
We didn’t want to leave, but hopefully we will be able to come back in the not too distant future. Thanks to everyone who made our trip so incredible.