Guest Blog: Tamara Schlesinger on recording her new solo album

I have been writing and recording with 6 Day Riot now for over 6 years. It now feels right to take some time out and write a solo album.

I didn’t want the album to sound anything like the band. And I wanted to make sure that everyone knew why I had decided to do this. Sometimes I think you need some air, just a minute to catch your breath. When you have released all the albums on your own record label, tour-managed the band, written the songs, painted the artwork, hired the PR and plugging teams and manufactured the CDs it can be a lovely prospect just to do something for yourself.

At least that is how this whole project began. Then I decided to take a chance and to apply for funding from Creative Scotland to record the album. Guess what? I actually got it! So here I am, with a week to go before I head into the studio and I am throwing everything I have at the songs.

Even though I write all the songs in 6 Day Riot, we are very much a band. We rehearse the songs together and we build them, arrange them and create what ends up on CD. But here I am, sitting lonely on the floor (I love to work sitting on the floor for some reason) adding layer upon layer of vocal parts, editing, looping and generally panicking. I miss my band!

Who is going to check my tempos, and who is going to tell me that my middle section is too boring? How can I be bothered to rehearse these songs on my own… Well, I can’t. This is really trying my self-discipline.

I can’t begin to tell you how fantastic it has been to receive this funding, I have recorded 3 albums and 2 EPs with 6DR and I have thrown all my own money at them. (Thankfully we mostly break even, which funds the next release.) Well, this time I may actually make some money from all my hard work. I have previously written about how difficult it is to survive in the music business especially when you are running things on your own label. But even with 6DR getting a synch on Scream 4 (yes, the Hollywood film) we only ended up with £200 royalties from PRS (well so far anyway) How? Why? Well, that’s what I am still asking. But somehow I still end up hoping and believing that there is a way to make a living in this business and so this is another way for me to try to survive.

I am heading up to Glasgow to record my album, up to my homeland and into the Gorbals I will go. I have a Scottish super-group of musicians working alongside me, guitarists that play with Isobel Campbell and Texas, bass players that play with Mogwai and Teenage Fanclub and a percussionist that plays with folk group Salsa Celtica.

I don’t really know what the album sounds like yet, which feels quite new and unnerving. Normally, I force the band into endless rehearsals with every part arranged and then we head into the studio. This time, I have done all I can demo-ing at home, and now I have to trust my session players to add the parts that I need. I don’t even know what style you would call the music yet, when I asked Edd (our bass player) what genre it was, he said, “Erm….alt…er…na…tive?”

So, I am excited, apprehensive, and mostly thankful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to let you hear what comes out.

imageAbout The AuthorTamara Schlesinger is the lead singer and songwriter of 6 Day Riot. She has been involved in the industry running Tantrum Records for the last seven years and has received widespread acclaim for her musical work. She has also lectured on the subject of running an independent record label. Tamara co-wrote the music used in the trailer of Danny Boyle’s film 127 hours with Deadly Avenger.

Read all of Tamara’s blogs

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