The power of Agi, queen of harmonies…

We just finished a session in the studio working up a new track for the 2nd Heartache album due for a 2024 release with Agi, a terrific UK singer. I have known Agi for almost five years and worked with her on the last three albums, for “The Caravan of Dreams, “Code E1” and “Nick Cody & The Heartache”, released via Green Eyed Records.

She was also a key member of “The Caravan of Dreams” and is a terrific pop artist in her own right, having released a number of singles over the years.

Layers of perfect harmonies

We spent today layering harmonies for a new track originally recorded by Towse, another exceptional artist. I can with total confidence that Agi has been a total gamechanger for improving my own vocal skills. I’ve had 1 – 1 sessions with her on a weekly basis for close to five years and its been quite a journey. The initial lessons were like a baptism of fire and I coined the “This is proper work!” slogan as I began to appreciate just how much work was needed to develop great singing skills.

Not only is she a brilliant teacher, but she also has great technical insights and all of these were unleashed today in the studio.

Below is one of the first tracks we recorded on the Caravan of Dreams album “Tales of Dark & Light” which really shows her superb vocal range.


The power of encouragement for inspiration

Over the last five years, Agi’s encouragement has been a total inspiration in becomeing more ambitious in my own writing. Our weekly meetings are now mostly recording sessions for new projects. During covid we started and continued to do a lot of work over zoom, which has worked amazingly well. I recorded 42 tracks in an 18 month period and I could not have done this without her input.

There are many highlights over the years including when she encouraged me to create the multi harmony title track for the Caravan of Dreams album which at the time was a massive creative leap. Both my producer Carl Rosamond are blown away watching her work in the studio, superb musical instincts in action and an absolute joy to work with.

The Caravan of Dreams

I am truly grateful for all the vocal assistance and encouragement over the years. I can honestly saw that that she has transformed my thinking on many levels. I’ve recommended her to a number of my students in my other life and they all sing her praises. Its rare to find such warm hearted talented individuals. Our live Caravan of Dreams appearances were fantastic fun and this was truly a super group with Fergus Quil, Jed Bevington and Rich Ferdi all part of the live ensemble. At present we are working on two new albums, the first is an album of covers which is highly unusual fro me out this Sept. Following that in 2024 I’ll be releasing the sencond Heartache album with Agi on many tracks inlcuding “Slowtime” and “Can’t Stop


My hope is that she achieves all her musical aspirations and I suspect one day she’ll be quite famous and I’ll be able to say –

“I knew her in the early days!”

Back in the studio, 3 more tracks mastered

Yesterday was a hugely productive day in the studio working on the album “All is fine till the world goes pop” album featuring Towse. We mastered and signed off on “In these times” “They don’t mind” and Wait until the pain has gone” I’m delighted to have so many superb musicians on this project including Towse from California, Michael Ross from Nashville, Laurent Zeller from France, Agi on backing vocals, Emily Mercer and Josh Burnell on keys, Fergus Quill, David Bowie Jnr and Howard Taylor on bass, Rich Ferdi on percussion. This is proving to be the dream team of artists and of course Carl Rosamond as usual does an amazing job on production.

“All is fine till the world goes pop” is due for a release in September ahead of the live appearance in Oct supporting Jon Gomm.

There are at least four more tracks yet to finish – “Come on Down” “Nothing here sounds good” “Take Heart” and “Maybe” We’ll be back in the studio every two weeks to work up these additional tracks and I’m super excited to see/hear this whole project emerge. As well this album, there with be a “Nick Cody & The Heartache” EP “You gotta move” released ahead of October on Green Eyed Records. In 2023 I’ll be releasing the first Code-E1 remix album and we already have “34 tracks in the vault” for that release.

Back in the studio with Fergus Quill

During covid 19, I’ve spent a lot of time upgrading the studio, so its now exactly as I want it. I have a lot of gear and many items that are just brilliant for recording. Today Fergus Quill dropped by to lay down bass for five different tracks which are in various stages of production. Fergus is an exceptional musician and has been central to both “The Caravan of Dreams” and “The Heartache” Not only is he technically a brilliant musician, but he also have a great feel for what works musically. We used the Acme DI for all the bass lines and the results were terrific. Fergus first told me about this unit, so I hunted one down and the Acme certainly didn’t disappoint.

We always record alternate takes of each track so we have options when mixing. Its fascinating to see such an artist at work where he can play a variety of different styles which gives us a huge range of choices. I’m super pleased with the results and these tracks will appear in 2022 and 2023.

In the studio with Agi

In the last few weeks, I’ve been working in my studio with Agi laying down vocals and BVs for new material. We have been using the superb Austrian Audio OC 18 mic and its proving to be an absolute gamechanger. We are also now using a 55 inch 4k monitor which is fantastic for editing tracks as we can see everything up close and it makes editing super easy. I’ve been working with Agi for two and a half years now on a weekly basis and now and she has totally transformed by vocal abilities and I have already recommended her to a number of colleagues. Not only is she a brilliant teacher, but she is also the best harmony singer I have ever met.

Both my producer and I were also amazed at how quickly she has grasped how to use Reaper as opposed to Logic. These studio sessions have been amazingly productive and I’m astonished at the quality and speed at which we are now working. In the last 18 months we’ve got 47 tracks “in the vault” and I’m really happy with the studio set up. My plan is to continue to write and record material across the four different projects currently in play. These are truly inspiring times and Agi’s input has been invaluable in working up these tracks. She of course was also key to my last band album with “The Caravan of Dreams” “Tales of Dark and light”


Upgrading the recording studio during covid 19

This has been a very strange 14 months with no live gigs and no travel. I have taken the opportunity to review and upgrade my home studio as I realised that I was going to be spending a lot more time at home.

Big monitor time

One of the biggest changes has been to add in a 55 inch monitor instead of my old Samsung monitors, which served me well for many years. This makes a massive difference when editing tracks and I wonder how I ever managed to work with my old digital tape medium in days gone by which was almost always problematic. Monitor technology has massively changed and its really helpful to see the entire session of multi tracks with one glance.


I have already blogged on the excellent Austrian Audio mic. This was recommended by my producer and I have to confirm that its a total game changer in terms of sonic quality. Not only is it the best vocal mic I have used, but it also works brilliantly for instruments, either acoustic or electric. Its not until you use a really great high end mic that you realize what a difference this makes. I’ve previously used Ear Trumpet mics and these were excellent, but the Austrian Audio is another step up. I’m especially aware of the difference with doing vocal work as its super responsive to every single expression vocally, and I can appreciate why so many studio engineers are raving about this new unit

Reaper as a DAW

I’ve been using Reaper as a DAW for the last 18 months and I’m 100% convinced by this recording software. Not only is it super stable, but its also the most cost effective solution to really great high end recording. Increasingly studio engineers are moving over to Reaper as it provides everything you might need for audio recording and its really easy to use.

Reaper DAW

UAD Arrow and plugins


The UAD interface has also transformed the way I record in the studio. The Arrow interface provides the best audio and the UAD plugins blow away everything else I have used to date. There are endless options, but I tend to use a number of core plugins and the Arrow is really easy to use, one line in for the Austrian Audio mic and one input for instruments.

The simplicity of this set up really cranks creativity. In the last 14 months I have recorded 45 new tracks across 4 musical projects. This is a dream scenario when it comes to recording. Covid 19 has meant having to work differently, and the upgraded studio has been a gamechanger when it comes to creating new music.

Austrian Audio OC 818 Mic experiences

Austrian Audio OC 818 microphone

I just started using the Austrian Audio OC 818 microphone after it was highly recommended by my producer.

I have always been a fan of high end recording gear in terms of amps and have to date been a big fan of Ear Trumpet mics, so I was interested to hear what all the fuss was about in the recording sector about this Austrian audio OC818 mic

For those interested in the technical aspects, check the link above.

First impressions

I’ve used a number of microphones in studios and never really paid a great amount of attention to makes in the same way that I have done to audio interfaces, guitars and amps. Within the first hour of using the Austrian audio OC818, its crystal clear to me that this unit is very different to anything else to date. The responsiveness is quite extraordinary and the initial recordings sound so good that I’m going to re do some parts I had already recorded. To my ears everything sounds like a perfect representation of the vocal take. Many reviewers had made this exact same point and commented on the lack of a need for any post production. I’ve yet to try it out on instruments, but I suspect it will also impress in the same way.

Here’s a comprehensive video on the mic

Recording during lockdown for Nick Cody Music projects

I have been doing a ton of recording over the last 10 months, for three different projects, the code-e1 electronic project with Black Star Liner, material for “Nick Cody and the Heartache” which is all electric guitar based music and a collaborations/duet album with some amazing musicians from all over the globe. I’m working with my long time producer Carl Rosamond and Black Star Liner for remixes on the Code E1 project.

The Recording process

The recording process has been very different from what I have previously been used to in laying down tracks from my first three albums. Firstly I am doing all the recording in my home studio in the UK and unusually using DI’s into the excellent UAD Arrow and then into the Reaper DAW. Seeing as I have a stack of terrific amps and preamps from Soldano, Two Rock, Fender and Mashall, this may seem to be a strange way to go, but its working brilliantly. The UAD is superb sonically and crucially allows me to use their unique unison preamp options.

The other difference with the recording process is that I’m using all electric guitars, the Collings I25 Deluxe, Moses necked/ Warmoth strat and the Ranson Tom Holmes equipped Telecaster. This allows for a terrific range of guitar tones. I’m also using a number of different pedals including the Zen Drive 2 as favoured by Eric Johnson and in recent times a number of Supro pedals.

Once I get basic guitar parts down, Carl will lock these into a template and then I can start on doing vocal takes with my good friend Agi, who also does BVs on tracks. Agi and I have worked on over 34 tracks to date including most of the new songs across these three projects. She is an outstanding singer and the best harmony singer I have ever come across. Carl will send the projects we record in Reaper to her as Logic files and she will add BVs. The versions that come back then go to Black Star Liner for the Code E1 project as well as being kept for the other two projects.

I’m super pleased with the results to date and its become clear to me that one of the keys to creating great music is to have a really good team of people involved in the project, who all bring something special to the table. We are fast approaching 30 finished tracks for Code E1 and a similar number for the other two projects. This material will be released throughout 2021 and 2022

Finally special thanks to Andy Coote for radio plays at Source FM, Daz in the Hat for plays on his show and Darren Poyzer for radio plays.

The surreal life during covid 19

This has been a very surreal five months, during covid 19. Like all musicians I had to cancel all live gigs for myself and for music events I host with Music for The Head and Heart. With the lockdown, the whole world was suddently on pause and we have and continue to be in uncharted territory. I’ve driven 45 miles in 5 months, so am totally doing my bit for the carbon footprint as I also cancelled 8 overseas trips for my non musical work.

Music creation and recording

To my great surprise this has been an amazing period for writing and recording new material. Just as lockdown appeared I grabbed a number of new items for my home studio that have been used to great effect. I’ve already blogged on the Acme DI and the Ear Trumpet Myrtle mic and I’ve also been using Fulltone trem units and my Henriksen Buds for recording via the excellent UAD Arrow unit. I’m actually working on two totally different music projects at the same time with two different producers.

For the first time everything is on electric guitar, which is a first. Usually I’ll put down some sketch ideas, then work them up into a demo before starting to adlib and figure lyrics. I’ve been using my weekly meetings with Agi to do live takes of vocal tracks and I now have 14 tracks mixed and “in the vault” for one of the albums, and there will be very different versions of these tracks for a second album.

Gathering like musical minds

One of the few benefits of covid 19 is that there are many artists sitting at home neding work. I suspect that live work won’t appear until 2022 and in the meantime streaming will only increase, but that’s a very different experience. Social media has been great for locating session musicians to add to a core group that are generally my ‘go too folks” for any projects. I’m lucky to be working with two brilliant producers who have never been so busy. Its clear to me that that the role of any producer is essential in creating the very best music. Often music may be mixed but not actually mastered

Tracks “in the vault”

These tracks are already mixed and in the vault, with four more tracks in the pipeline

All is fine till the world goes pop 4.19
Gather round 6.57
Nothing here sounds good 3.21
All Kinds of Crazy 5.24
Your chosen one is coming 4.12
Please take this time 4.24
321 Lockdown 3.41
Hold that thought 3.30
Sticks and stones 3.40
The world is burning 3.39
That gals as cool as fuck 3.25
All about her lies 3.29
Maybe 5.04
Come on down 3.51

Special thanks to everyone who has helped with creating these tracks to date

Slow Time with the Supa Trem

I’ve recently rediscovered the superb Fulltone Supa trem. I’ve always like the analogue sound of the original unit and now I am using the mark 2 stereo version in recording. This allows for the guitar sound to really fill out and to my ears allows the guitar to be more like a piano. In recent weeks I’ve written four different tracks using this sound, all of which are way slower that I would normally opt for.

This makes for a very different vocal dynamic as there is literally nowhere to hide! At this rate I may end up with a whole new album of this really laid back more reflective series of songs that are the polar opposite of another sister project I am working on. Maybe its being in lockdown, but this is certainly a really creative curve ball that is quite unexpected but so far has been quite fascinating.

Recording during lockdown

Aside from two very exciting 2 mile round trips to buy milk, I’ve been indoors now for 7 weeks. Fortunately pre lockdown I organised everything I need for the studio for recording . As I have previously blogged we’ve been using VST connect to record studio to studio as well as doing some work here using UAD Arrow interface, the Acme DI into the Reaper DAW.

This simpler stripped down set up brings challenges as well as benefits. The benefits are that less options really focusses the mind. We’ve recorded 4 tracks to date. For “Hold that Thought” and “That gal’s as cool as fuck”, we already had electric bass and percussion down from when we were all in the studio. Similarly I recorded “All kinds of crazy” in the studio with Ella Playford and played all parts on my excellent Waterloo acoustic. This is the only time to date we did didn’t use a DI approach

With “All is fine until the world goes pop” and “Your chosen one” had all parts recorded on electric guitar. I’ve been using the excellent Ear Trumpet Myrtle mic for all vocals. We now have 5 tracks recorded, mixed and mastered. Everything to date had been on guitar. On “Hold that thought” I started using the Zed Drive 2 as favoured by Eric Johnson and this has become one monster of a track which I’m really pleased with.

I currently have 5 more tracks to record, but new ideas are appearing all the time. I’m having to think differently and doing a shout out to a few musician friends for input. One of the next tracks will be “Wild hair and cocaine eyes” which is centred around a guitar riff. I have Adrian Knowles kindly send over a bass part, so next up will be vocals and additional guitar parts. I suspect it will either be great or a total train wreck. I’m also working on a stripped down version of a Caravan of Dreams song that we played live but never recorded, “Sticks and Stones” This will be just guitar and vocals with perhaps violin from my good friend Laurent Zeller. In short I have plenty to do with this project.

The results are a far cry from anything else I have released to date and the plan is to release video for each of these new tracks. I’m also further appreciating the value of having an excellent producer, without whom we’d never get such excellent final results.