On my eighth birthday my parents packed up the house in Berlin where we had lived for four years and our family moved back to England. English was my first language, my parents were British, I had gone to an English language school in Germany and I held a British passport, but culturally I didn’t feel British. I didn’t know what a pound or a penny was, having only ever used the deutsche mark and pfennig, and I didn’t know the pop-music or TV shows that were popular among English children my age either. We had SSVC and Cartoon Network in Germany rather than BBC and ITV. I simply didn’t hold the cultural reference points that other children who had grown up in Britain did, and felt like a bit of a misfit.
Last night Ed and I took our instruments down to the Lickey Hills to record a few of our covers. I’ve wanted to try filming outdoors for a while now, but this was the first time we have tried it. We were both a bit more nervous than usual as it felt public, even though there was noone around. A couple out on an evening walk passed by as did a mountain biker, but otherwise we had the woods to ourselves. We recorded two Kevin Devine songs we already have recordings of (‘Brother’s Blood’ and ‘No History’) as well as Frank Turner’s ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’.
Using the microphones and equipment I use for filming weddings and documentaries we set up with external sound for both of us, as well as a shotgun microphone (RØDE VideoMic Pro) on top of the camera to pick up the ambient sound. Ed’s got a RØDE VideoMicro plugged in to a Tascam DR-05 on a light stand pointing at his sound hold to isolate his guitar, while I have a RØDE Smartlav+ plugged in to an old Sony Z1 Compact I use as a lav pack running AudioRec Pro (Android). The microphone is mounted on a RØDE violin clip and the wire goes over my shoulder and down my back so it’s out of frame. I need to find a better place to stash the phone as at the moment I just get Ed to tuck it into my clothes, but it’s not very secure.
I left the ambient audio in the final recording, as there were lots of birds singing in the woods around us as the sun was setting and I quite liked that. Up until now we’ve just recorded our covers using the RØDE VideoMic Pro on top of the camera. The extra microphones take a little longer to set up and to sync in post, but it’s worth it to be able to balance the sound properly between Ed’s guitar and my violin.