Tips and tricks: Austen Jux-Chandler

Corey Fox-Fardell is a 19-year-old singer songwriter who started writing when he was 14. Dean St. Studios head engineer Austen Jux-Chandler runs Jake Young through To Be With You, a song that builds on the success of Fox-Fardell’s plays on Radio 1 and 6 Music.

How did the project come about?

Corey was interning for us. He was doing general odds and sods that any intern would get involved with; cleaning, making teas, getting sandwiches, all the usual kind of things. Towards the end of his three-week stint he played me his EP and I was pretty blown away by the standard of songwriting.

He let me know he had been to BRIT School, but he’s also just been sent on a songwriter’s bootcamp in Nashville that is sponsored by PRS. As payment for the internship we gave him a day in the studio.

You’re helping him develop a more refined sound?

After his initial ideas, we tracked the acoustic guitars, lead vocals, and backing vocals. Then I took that all away for a bit and worked on a few production ideas, cutting up loops and samples etc. Then we came back into the studio again to add live drums and electric guitar and replace the synth bass with a real one.

What special challenges did it present?

I suppose the timing of things; Corey likes to incorporate a lot of samples and loops so trying to get a natural performance against that sort of rigidity was hard. I had to find the right tempo that worked for the song naturally, with just him and a guitar, then make sure that all the samples were set to that before he recorded. It ended up quite a lot faster than he had it originally but to be fair, he nailed it!

How did you find an interesting sound for the acoustic guitar?

I kept a Neumann U 87 Ai as a control, so that was an AMS Neve 1073 and a Universal Audio LA-2A. Aside from that I also had this weird Sony flat mic, which is actually something that you would plug into a phone. There was also an old Sanyo mini tape recorder to try and get a bit of character into it. That’s a little tip that Tom Upex the studio assistant picked up from working with Jim Abiss when Peace were in. They’re new toys that are floating around the studio so I chucked them in to see if it was worth having them.