The Story of Creation is Fishy Music’s most ambitious project so far. Over 2 years in the making, it has involved the writing of 5 original songs, 10 different singers and readers, and over 1,000 studio hours recording 25 orchestral instruments, 21 percussion and 24 different sound effects.
This is the story of how it was made.
Fishy Music finish the promotion of their second Christmas production Wise Men Three. Time to begin a new project so over the Christmas holidays it is decided to start another story CD, this time on the creation story.
Karina begins drafting the story from the first three chapters of Genesis. By the middle of January, Trevor writes the first song Let there be light in one day and produces a 4-track demo, using a hand-held megaphone to simulate the voices.
Karina produces the first graphic of Adam, Eve and the Serpent for the album cover. The graphic becomes the inspiration for Trevor to write and record a demo of The Guilty One in one afternoon!
Draft scripts of Karina’s Genesis story are circulated to a theologian, a speech therapist and a children’s editor for corrections and comments. The decision is taken to make this a ‘concept album’, with all the songs and music as original compositions, the orchestral background of the story linking directly into the key of the following song.
Michael’s voice tracks for the story are cut into 4 sections and Trevor begins the lengthy task of writing the background orchestral score using Sibelius and a Sequencer. The first spreadsheet is made of a trial running order for the CD with insertion points in the story for songs to illustrate the narrative.
22 May: Richard Wenninger is in the studio to record vocal tracks for Let there be light and The Guilty One.
Trevor writes the first version of a song called Just For You and produces a 4-track demo. The song does not make the final CD but some of the lyrics will form the basis for the rap Creation Flow later.
Backing vocal lines are also added to The Guilty One.
Recording a 4-track demo of some of the orchestral score is begun and sound effects are sampled on a Triton to support the story. Over the next two months 24 different effects are brought in – from barking dogs and galloping hooves to thunder and a typewriter!
Trevor writes the first version of the song For You and I. This is originally written for one singer but later becomes a duet for a father and daughter. More work on the orchestral score.
Trevor produces the first demo version of the rap Creation Flow from the words of an earlier song Just For You. The rap will eventually go through many versions and trial mixes, including multiple voices and callouts on the chorus, none of which make the final cut.
Much more work on the orchestral score.
With the draft score now produced as a demo, Trevor and Karina begin to layer the instruments onto the story vocal in 24 track. This process will take most of their time for the next several months and is the most ambitious recording project that Fishy Music has undertaken. The final result will be 18 minutes of continuous film score using a total of 25 different orchestral instruments and another 21 percussion, each one played and recorded singly on a different track.
Fishy take delivery of the Antares Autotune, shipped from the States. This vocal processor will enable some professional effects and extra ‘sparkle’ to be added to the vocal tracks in the mixdown at post-production later.
The long process of recording the music score to Michael’s story track continues. Two verses of The Monkey Chorus are revised and the lyric is finalised.
The song For You and I is revised and now becomes a duet, with dialogue added before and between the verses.
Another demo of The Monkey Chorus is produced, changing the original 6/8 march style to a 4/4 ‘Bo Diddley’ rhythm. When the demos are compared, it is decided to go with the livelier 4/4 version so work now begins on recording the layered instruments in 24 track, using two completely different bands of instruments (a Salsa/Rock band and a Brass band) for the verse and chorus.
More recording of the instrumental score to Michael’s story tracks. Trevor and Karina finish recording the background instruments for the songs For You and I and The Monkey Chorus in 24 track.
With all the tracking for the background score now complete, Trevor and Karina start making the first mixes of the story tracks. After many demo versions, four 2-track reductions of the story are produced and marked as ‘best’. These remain unaltered for the final CD.
Ryan Saunders is in the studio to record vocal tracks for Let there be light, For You and I, Creation Flow and The Monkey Chorus.
July 16 – Andrew Turner (now the fourth singer to attempt a bottom D!) is in the studio to add the line “for you and me” to the end of Let there be light.
With most of the tracking done, Trevor and Karina begin mixing the song tracks. First up is a trial version of Let there be light with Ryan singing the opening verses and Richard singing the “rats and cats”. Sampling “the cock that crows” takes a full session!
Ian and Esther (‘one-take’) McManus are in the studio and track all their voiceovers in just over an hour and the ‘monkeys’ are recorded for The Monkey Chorus. Final mixes of For You and I and The Guilty One are now made and marked as ‘best’.
A rough demo of the whole CD is produced and played to its first audience at a dinner party with the Mayfields for reaction.
Tom McManus adds some video graphics to the audiotrack of The Guilty One and this is uploaded to YouTube as a sampler.
Barney is in the studio to add some voiceovers and effects to The Monkey Chorus.
Copyright sheets are produced and registered with MCPS for an album release licence.
Reuben is in the studio for the final tracking of the project: recording the callouts for The Monkey Chorus. Several sessions are now devoted to inserting the sound effects and producing the ‘false tabs’ (multiple fades) at the end of the CD. A final mix is made of the whole 7 minute track and marked as ‘best’.
Two different beta versions of the running order are made and lengthy discussions follow over whether to begin the CD with a song or straight into the story. The ‘song’ wins the vote so several remixes are made of the opening Let there be light, eventually keeping Ryan’s voice for the callouts but going with an earlier take of Richard singing the whole lyric for a consistent effect as ‘best’.
Karina does a ‘back to basics’ mix of Creation Flow, dropping all the voices and lyrics from the chorus and simplifying the instruments. This cut is marked ‘best’ and makes the final CD.
The tracks are now assembled into the final running order and a demo CD is played to families and church groups for more reaction.
The 9 tracks are now put through post-production and then assembled into one continuous wav file and an mp3 conversion.
The decision is made to release “The Story of Creation” as a free download on the web.
Two years two months on – and the first mp3 version of the full CD is uploaded onto the Fishy Music website.
The lyric sheets and music manuscripts are converted into pdfs and uploaded onto the website.
Instruments Trevor features on ‘Creation’:
Guitars: Acoustic Guitar, Les Paul Electric, Fender bass, Sitar
Keyboards: Piano, Electric piano, Hammond B3, Pipe organ, Harpsichord, Accordion, Musical Box
Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Harp
Wind: Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon
Brass: Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, French horn
Percussion: Drum kit, Timpani, Bass drum, Snare drum, Tabla, Cymbal, Gong, Tambourine, Cabasa, Guiro, Claves, Rainstick, Woodblocks, Triangle, Indian bells, Tubular bells, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Marimba, Vibraphone, Handclaps,