By Rebecca Belt
A PRODUCER handing the reins of his own album to someone else can be a daunting experience, but it’s a plan that’s working out for Shane Nicholson and Matt Fell. Shane’s latest album, Love and Blood, sees Matt back in the production chair and Shane taking on the role of solely being the artist.
“Making my record, is not something I do in my studio anymore because I enjoy the process more if I’m just an artist,’ he said. “I did more of that this time and went down the same path.”
Eight albums have come before Love and Blood, but Shane said he was loving being in the studio more than ever.
“The excitement factor never diminishes and it still feels the same as when the first one came out,” he said. “I’m loving the process more than ever and recording is my favourite part of the entire music process; the studio is where all my loves converge.”
Shane put the sound and feel of the album into Matt’s hands.
“There was no theme in the writing, no sound in my head, and when Matt and I went into the studio there were no demos and we never once had a conversation about the sound of the album or the sound of each song,” he said. “We had had three or four days booked and had the band tracks done over two days. We still haven’t had a discussion over the sound of the album to this day; I write the song and follow it and see where it wants to go which is different to the way it was early on. I’ve got a good team who I trust implicitly who are all really good musicians and you can read each other as you’re going.”
The singer-songwriter said this all came with time as he enjoyed the process more than worrying about the outcome.
“I’m making albums I enjoy more,” he said. “I’ve never enjoyed the result and it’s always felt like a mountain to climb to what I wanted it to be, but now it’s like bobsledding downhill.”
Shane wrote most of this album at a house he rented on the Hawkesbury that was only accessible by boat. He even wrote at least one song while sitting in a boat.
“I’ve always had to find somewhere to isolate myself for the writing process – last time I took myself to the desert,” he said. “I can only write when I’m getting completely absorbed into that mental space. I would go for like three or four days at a time, then go back. I just fell in love with isolation and lapped it up. It was also a good way to hang out on a boat and do some fishing and writing.”
Shane’s first trip there was all about listening to music, rather than writing, as he had spent so much time making music for other artists that he hadn’t listened to music for his own pleasure in six to ten months.
“I’m lucky I love what I do, but it inspires me to write when I listen to music,” he said.
There was no stockpile of songs left from this album, with Shane writing only the 12 songs he knew would make the album. There is no theme, no particular sound, just the 12 best songs that came out during the writing process – something he described as ‘music vomit’.
“The last record was the first time I’d gone with more directly personal songs and I still enjoy playing with words and language, but I enjoy being a bit more direct and maybe that comes with time and the things you’re willing to say openly change,” he said. “I’ve got more of a little internal defiant spirit on this record than the last, but sonically there’s no theme or overall sound.
“It’s like ‘here is some music vomit all over the CD’ and the songs came out like that, too, with no thought to a theme. Once I got those 12, I knew I was done.”
Although touring has never been the singer-songwriter’s favourite part of the music business, he said he was excited to get out on the road and to take the songs to his audiences.
“I’m writing about things that I never would have written about 15 years ago and this stuff is resonating because that’s where we’re at now and we’re evolving with the audiences,” he said. “It’s not just me getting up there playing songs; it’s more of an interaction and more of an experience.”
Shane launched Love and Blood at the Broadbeach Country Music Festival – his first time performing at the event, and said it was a fun way to kick off the tour with a Queensland launch after the release on July 28.
“I always love going back to Queensland,” the former Brisbane artist said.
Aug 11 Anita’s Theatre, Thiroul NSW
Aug 12 Harmonie German Club, Canberra ACT
Aug 18 Music Lounge, Brookvale NSW
Aug 19 Lizotte’s, Newcastle NSW
Aug 20 Hardys Bay Club, Central Coast NSW
Aug 25 Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville QLD
Aug 26 Edge Hill Tavern, Cairns QLD
Sept 1 Rooty Hill RSL NSW
Sept 8 Flow Bar, Old Bar NSW
Oct 13 Trinity Sessions, Adelaide SA
Oct 14 Song Room, Barossa Regional Gallery SA
Oct 16-23 Rock The Boat Pacific Cruise Pacific
Oct 28 Welcome to Morrisonville, Brisbane QLD