Mark Beckhaus, the Music Director at Sydney's Nylon Studios was a big catalyst in the making of this album. He was the light to the kerosene.
Not long back from a journey of setting up and running Nylon studios in New York City Mark got hold of some of my demos. We hooked up he basically said these tracks are fantastic, let's get in the studio and record this stuff. I was like 'Hell Yeah!'
Going into the studio with Mark I admit I was a little nervous knowing Mark has worked with some of Australia’s great talents. But he had a knack of getting the best out of each track. It was the subtle things in his approach that allowed the creativity to flow in the sessions. His experience and objective view took the works to a new level. It was a lot of fun but it wasn't all a bed of roses, we re-recorded Heaven On My Mind three times to get the sound we were looking for.
After getting a couple of songs down we decided we’d go for a full album but knowing Mark had to go back to NYC and also manage the onslaught of peak period we looked at other options to keep the album moving forward.
There was no other studio I wanted to go to other than Linear Studios in Leichhardt. The G. Nunan Project were one of the first bands to record at Linear over ten years ago and it was great to catch up with owner Chris Vallejo and see how the studio had grown and developed over that time.
When I arrived at Linear Dorny Mayes, who showed around, welcomed me. My intuition said this is our guy to help.
Dorny got us going through the old school tape and the sexy Neve Desk that was a hand me down from the BBC. We set up to track live Diesel 86, Tequila, Jacqueline Sweetie and Fisherman. Dorny was easy going but knew his stuff. He quickly got a feel for our sound and just allowed us to get in the zone yet giving some tasty suggestions along the way. Being a weapon on the guitar himself we talked him into laying down some work in the sound scape for Tequila. He nailed it.
For the last track I bought in my friend and producer Syd Green who I previously worked with to record Grow Old for my wife Elizabeth. Our World needed a special kind of care and with Syd and Dorny at the helm it made for one of the highlights of album.
One moment I won’t forget was when I was not quite getting a take, Syd said, 'Wait here I'll be back". With that he came back with a big Eagle’s Talon. Syd travelled the States and got the talon from an American Cherokee Indian, which is part of Syd's ancestry. Syd handed me the talon and said let this get you back in the zone. I held the talon and as I closed my eyes and I sang I could feel a deep calming presence come over me, it all felt a bit surreal but the feeling definitely had an effect. I'm not sure what it was but I can hear the presence in my vocal when I hear the track now. I could not have been happier with the day.
Nat Joyce back at Nylon Studios mixed four out of the ten tracks with the guidance of Mark Beckhaus. Nat is a incredible talent and had previously mixed for Coldplay before working on our stuff. Nat's a very cool guy and it was a privilege to work with him.
Syd Green took on the task at mixing the remaining six tracks and he had a few great ideas of his own.
Whist mixing Tequila Syd was searching online for a particular piece that would compliment the sounds scape solo. After hours of searching Syd finally found Shane Hawley. Semi famous in Middle America for his dynamic performances in the Poetry Slam circuit. Shane’s work fits perfectly in the track. It took me another month to track him down personally to get his consent to use his work. Cool guy. Stoked with the result.
So what’s behind the name Kites For Hurricanes? Whilst Elizabeth and I were travelling the US a few years ago we learnt of Benjamin Franklin’s famous Kite Experiment from the foyer of our Texan hotel. The experiment involved Franklin sending kites into storms to demonstrate that lightning (electricity) could be transferable. So the album Kites For Hurricanes is like a metaphor relating the songs (kites) being equipped for going into the storm.