Reviving the single at RAK studios

The RAK Singles Club, releases set to revive the RAK Records label, are available as 7in vinyl and download. Each artist created an original A-side of their choice and a B-side cover from RAK’s back catalogue. Jake Young talks with senior engineer/producer Richard Woodcraft about his work on a new record from Beautiful Boy.

Let’s talk about your session with Beautiful Boy. What project were you working on?

The session I produced was for one of the first RAK Singles Club releases, where the bands involved do an original A-side and a cover version from the RAK Publishing catalogue for the B-side (in this case Bodies by Beautiful Boy and Kids In America originally by Kim Wilde, written by her dad Marty Wilde, and produced by Mickie in 1981). The band’s take on it is very interesting. The releases will be primarily on 7in vinyl and resurrect the RAK Records label with the intention of looking as original as possible.

What was the vocal chain set-up?

I used a Shure SM7 for the A-side, as that track is quite dense arrangement-wise and the SM7 sits well when there’s a lot of information to compete with. It sort of compresses itself and flattens out the nuances that can get lost when using something else that specialises in super detail. The mic pre was an original API 512b with some Blackface 1176 compression.

For the cover version it was the same chain, but using a valve 47 as there was the space in tempo and instrumentation to let it shine.

The backing vocals were mainly done by Dane (lead singer and writer) on the SM7 as they were sat a bit behind, so needed to hold their own at that level in the mix.

Were there any challenges or special technical skills you had to rely on during the session?

The challenge was mainly to get everything recorded in two days to do justice to both songs. The band had spent more time with the original so had it pretty much formatted for their sound, but there were still a few parts to get down, whereas with the cover we had more of an open-minded approach to see where it could go.

What was the atmosphere like during the session?

Fantastic. It was heads-down but good fun. The band were great – focused and ambitious. Everybody was aware of the importance and significance of the project and wanted to get it right. The cover was treated with respect too, and not just something that had to be done to order. Also, everyone was keen to make it an original version that was true to the band, held its own, and was also valid for syncing opportunities.