WAЯ – The Recording Process

Announcement 7th January 2021
The Alarm – Time to make a record – A Personal message by from Mike Peters

Time to make a record. The Alarm has always been a responsive musical unit and when I saw the word ‘alarming’ being quoted and splashed across the global news footage of events taking place last night, it was as if someone had put up a sign telling me to act, and act fast.

Starting today, I will take the first steps in writing, recording and creating a brand new Alarm album that will be informed and shaped by everything we are all seeing and experiencing right now. A moment in time not dissimilar to the days that led The Alarm to make and release the Raw Album 30 years ago.. I’m not going to attempt to remake Raw but rather, make a record driven by the ‘spirit intended’. When you look at RAW from behind it looks like this – WAЯ.

So this is where I shall begin. Personally, I always felt we missed an opportunity when we made Raw back in 1991. The original intention was to make a fast and furious record that was subsequently displaced by what turned out to be a compromised creative state rather than an all out attempt to capture the zeitgeist of a world plunged into conflict by a Gulf War playing out on screens and in homes just beginning to be influenced by the power of the 24 hour news channels we have today. Now, we also have social media and an internet that has moved on from being the preserve of the few to something that is now available to all. The technology is there to make a record in Lockdown (we proved that last March by turning our home into a television studio for the Big Night In), and so, I shall start writing songs and lyrics, speaking to producers and musicians today and see who wants to come with me.By the time of my birthday on February 25th 2021, I hope to have recorded a music collection that can be delivered quickly and almost instantly into the world, so let’s get to work and see where this adventure will take us.

Stay connected…….

The WAЯ Diary ….
7th January 2021 : The first track Protect and Survive is written and a demo of the song is recorded at the house of Mike Peters on electric guitar with vocal performance, this is recorded by Jules Jones Peters and is premiered on the official The Alarm YouTube channel that evening. Video link for demo

8th January 2021 : Mike Peters starts work on the second song for the album War Is Not Over. During the day video footage is recorded ready for a special broadcast on the 9th January.
9th January 2021 : From Official Alarm social media posts :- John Lennon once said he “wrote a song for breakfast, recorded It for lunch and released it for dinner”. Well, it’s been a frantic 48 hours since Mike Peters announced his intention to make an Alarm album ready for worldwide release by his birthday on February 25th 2021. Tonight, we have the thrill of unveiling a film (shot throughout yesterday), that captures an impromptu writing session and demonstration recording for another brand new song of this fast developing new Alarm recording situation. The film you will see at 9pm tonight was recorded by Jules Jones Peters and features a rare glimpse into the creative mind and working processes of Mike Peters the songwriter. “I am determined that this creative journey should be unlike any other recording session in Alarm history,” states Mike. “Usually our records have been made behind closed doors. This time I want the doors to remain open all the way through from the first steps of creation to the conclusion and realisation of the ideas I have in my mind, through to the final mix stage and release.”Today has seen another burst of creative energy as the team that will build this vision with Mike cones into focus.
9th January 2021 : Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard posts on his social media that he starts working on the new The Alarm album on Monday.

9th January 2021 : The first production meeting are made for the project. This reveals George Williams is on board for the production, Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard and James Stevenson are also committed to the project. Also Mark Taylor has contacted Mike to say he is available if required.
9th January 2021 : War Is Not Over demonstration version of the song is premiered on the official The Alarm YouTube channel. This video is shot at the church of SS Mael and Sulien, Cwm, North Wales, recorded by Jules Jones Peters. Video link for demo

10th January 2021 : The first production meeting of the album is shown on the official The Alarm YouTube channel. This is a 30 minute video which includes the phone calls and messages sent to the other band members and producer. It culminates in a zoom call with George Williams and Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard where Mike outlines the plan for the project. Video link to Production Call 1.

11th January 2021 : New Album Recording Day 1. Mike Peters, George Williams and Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard start working on the first potential track for the album Protect and Survive. A special video is broadcast in the evening via the official The Alarm YouTube channel showing the 3 of them on zoom calls, discussing the ideas and development of the song, based on the first electric demonstration version Mike recorded and put online on 7th January. The video shows the creative process as George adds ideas and changes to the possible structure and flow of the song, whilst ‘Smiley’ works on the rhythm and drum ideas. Mike records a guide track in the “Crusader Studio” he has set up at his house. ‘Smiley’ records an initial drum part at his Sunshine Corner Studios. Video Link to Recording Day 1

12th January 2021 : New Album Recording Day 2. Mike Peters, George Williams and Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard continue the work from Day 1 updating in regards to the files sent for George to work on from the various components provided by Mike and Smiley. During the zoom conversation a new song that Mike is working on is revealed, a track called Crush, brief snippets are heard as the technical and creative process for the new songs early stage begins. It is decided that today will mainly be spent working on more components of Protect and Survive for George to build into a song with the various guitar elements, Smileys drum and percussion and talk about getting Jules Jones Peters to add some keyboard elements to the idea. A rough working plan is decided on starting a new song on a Monday, developing the idea and parts on the Tuesday and then Wednesday a new song starting point and Thursday the developments stage. Friday will either be a catch up day on the tracks of that week or if progressed far enough start looking at another new one. The weekend will be downtime from the studio to keep the project “fresh”.

A second zoom call between Mike and Dan Shearn occurs to discuss the creative design and print element of the project, within this details of the 25th February idea develops a bit further of this being the reverse of the Blood Red/Viral Black project where the digital basically comes first. But an idea of a way to create a CD that fans can download, then burn and complete the artwork on the day of release. Also talk of a possible extremely restricted “lathe cut” vinyl version is mentioned. In effect the equivalent of test pressing of a normal vinyl production in basic record collecting terms. Video Link to Recording Day 2

13th January 2021 : New Album Recording Day 3. Mike Peters, George Williams and Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard hook up for today’s zoom call and discuss the development of two songs Crush and Protect and Survive. The footage includes some of the work undertaken on Protect and Survive since Monday and it is starting to pull together early options with guitars, bass, synth and drums added to it giving it a beefed out sound and still in progress. Crush us discussed at length with the technical side and creative ideas of chords, BPM speed and the opportunity for some crazy drumming options akin to Ginger Baker, Jazz and dance. This album is certainly not holding back on options and ideas and shows really the kind of discussions happen at the start in the studio looking at many options. Video Link Recording Day 3

15th January 2021 : New Album Recording Day 4. Work continues on Crush with Mike adding vocals and Smiley some percussion. Part of the recorded of Crush with guitars, drums is heard during the latest video. A new song is previewed that Mike had started work on today, a tack called We Got This, a pretty much full demonstration version is heard with Mike on electric guitar and using a drum program to give the song the beat. Video Link Recording Day 4

18th January 2021 : Songwriting Day – An intimate portrait of Mike Peters the songwriter. Jules talks to Mike about the creative process of writing the new songs and how lockdown has influenced his writing and playing development for the WAR album. The very early start of a new song Still Unsafe starts to take to be revealed on guitar and piano as inspiration hits from nowhere are Mikes morning walk with Jules and Ziggy. Video Link Mike Peters Songwriter

19th January 2021 : New Album Recording Day 5 [The Sweet Spot]. Mike, Smiley and George start work on We’ve Got This with Smiley hearing it for the first time. During the day Mike records some more guides and explains the technical aspects of recording demos including the use of computers, click tracks and the ways he has learnt how to record in a digital way. Mike and Jules takes a trip to The Chapel to oversee some of the conversion work ready for the Staycation, during the trip home Mike explains he had a new song idea idea whilst in The Chapel and heads straight to the Crusader to put some ideas down. What this idea is not revealed at this stage. Once he finishes up in the caravan Mike and Jules start to work on the Still Unsafe idea with piano parts backing up the acoustic and vocal part. Video Link Recording Day 5

20th January 2021 : Tribes [Stop The War] – Demonstration recording. Mike lays down the first demo for Tribes Video Link Tribes Demonstration Recording

24th January 2021 : Third Week Recording Round Up. Starts with the recording of the demo of Tribes. Follows up with the daily zoom call of developments of the developments of the songs already worked on. Smiley lays down some percussion parts for We Got This and drums for Tribes. It ends up with a catch up with Jules on a zoom call with her breast cancer mentoring group.
Video Link Third Week Round Up

26th January 2021 : New Album Recording Day 6 [Still Unsafe]. Starts on 25th January with Mike starting work on the recording of Still Unsafe and the first mention of Warriors. The zoom call with George and Smiley discusses the structure and the plans for laying down the idea into a band format. Piano added by Jules and Drums added by Smiley is heard as a work in progress. Video Link Recording Day 6

29th January 2021 : New Album Recording Day 7. Starts on 26th January and the first time we hear Warriors on a guide, a track that was originally thought of as an idea called and mentioned Drone Attack in a previous broadcast. The zoom call starts with a bit more discussion on the development of Still Unsafe and how Mike sees it being played live. It then moves on to discussing the idea of how Warriors is to be developed. A zoom meeting between Mike and the In Grooves team talks about the logistics of getting the album online on the planned release date ready for the digital streaming. Video Link Recording Day 7

1st February 2021 : New Album Recording Day Vaccines and Antidotes. Filming starts on the 27th February with the daily zoom call between Mike, George and Smiley discussing Warriors recording development. Mike talks through the process of creating the artwork for the project using the artwork created by Dan Shearn and developing the album in Illustrator. On the way to the vaccine centre for his Covid vaccination, Mike talks candidly about his thought of returning to live music in the future. The vaccination process is included showing what is involved. At the end of the video we get to hear for the first time a song called Fail. Video Link Vaccines and Antidotes

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