Sylvia, can you please tell us a bit about the recording of Skunk Anansie's Paranoid & Sunburnt?
I am particularly interested in the recording process of Skin's vocals. How did you get the raw energy of her to tape in a studio/recording situation? How was it to work with her/them?
I recorded Skunk Anansie at Great Linford Manor in Milton-Keynes in the English countryside. The tracking room at the studio was a huge ballroom, and for Skin's vocals I outfitted the room with candles and mood lighting to make her feel as comfortable as possible. We recorded through the studio's fantastic EMI Neve console. It was essential that Skin connect to the lyrics of the song to get those great performances. On the song "Weak" it really shows, she was actually weeping during the recording. Everyone in the control room was too. Intense emotion.
The owner of Great Linford was Pete Winkelman, a wonderful fellow who LOVED the vintage Neve consoles at a time when most studio owners in England were dumping their old Neve 8000 series consoles for shiny new SSL G-series consoles. I like the SSLs too, but really wanted a beautiful Neve of my own. Pete found one for me during the recording of Skunk Anansie. It was available for sale at CTS in London, a stunning classic Neve 8038. I went to see it and bought it immediately, later shipping it over where it lived at Sound City in Van Nuys for years. I still have the console today, up here in the mountains in Weed.
The other day I found an old photo of my console when it was at The Music Centre / CTS in London. Here is the CTS photo and a pic of the console as it is today... that's my baby!