Kelly Lee Owens on recording for Smalltown Supersound

My new album is… called Inner Song, the music was written and recorded over a 35-day period. With this album, I allowed the ideas to flow more freely. On the previous release, I would try to produce and sculpt the sounds before I was able to let the idea fully flourish, which creates something else, but with this one the ideas were fully respected and formed. Then I went on and produced/automated everything within an inch of its life, which is fun for me!

The sessions… took place between Daniel Avery’s London studio and a studio in Margate for vocal recording/final production sessions. Both studios are very close to water, either the river or the sea, and sub-aqua elements seem to flow through the sound of my music.

I worked with… James Greenwood again. We co-wrote and co-produced the music together, then I went away to write all the lyrics and vocal melodies. I went on to mix the album with Cherif Hashizume, who’s worked as Jon Hopkins’ studio engineer for about 12 years. I also ended up getting my album mastered by Guy Davie, another longtime collaborator of Jon’s. Jon has been very generous in introducing me to his talented team of trusted people and also generous in offering me a hand when I need one. For example, when I needed to decide on which master to use for the final album (I had amended the master four times in one week!). Jon allowed me to use his studio very late at night to listen in on his incredible speakers (which he’s mixed the last two albums of his on). The following day, thanks to him, I was able to sign off on the album!

I used… (mainly) the Korg Mono/Poly, Roland SH-101, Roland 808, Doepfer Dark Time sequencer, a LOT of the Soundtoys ‘Crystallizer’ plug-in and a great Neumann mic that George Michael recorded Faith on (the actual one!). I wanted the vocals this time to be on top in the mix, with lots more clarity in the production, instead of hiding behind waves of Space Echo delay and oceans of reverb! Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) encouraged me to whack my vocals up in the mix when it came to making album two!

I was inspired… by a lot of what had gone on in my personal life, the healing journey I had gone through inwardly and how I wanted to re-wild/ recover my spirit and creative life. Hopefully transmuting something from pain to beauty that can continue to connect and inspire people.

I learnt… to be patient with myself, to trust myself fully in my ideas, to push for the nuanced detail in the sound, and more than ever to be open, honest and a little more direct in my lyric writing.

Playing these songs live… is yet to happen! I have live dates lined up from May onwards and I am so excited for people to hear everything come alive! Live is a whole other world, which I love bringing people into sonically and visually.

You’d be surprised to know that… I use a lot of my own organic samples. Mainly using a Shure MV88 condenser mic that plugs in to my iPhone, so it’s fully portable. This means that any sound that inspires me, I can capture and use as the basis for a track, which is limitless!

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