If you haven’t seen the videos already, click the photo to view:

Fran Ashcroft interview at recordproduction.com

“Your recording techniques are becoming the basis of my preaching about how we should all be working”
Mike Banks, recordproduction.com

Modern recording can feel more like assembling sounds than creating them, and often makes for a paint-by-numbers mind set which grows with every additional track and plug-in used, each one taking you further and further away from the original objective.

I don’t believe in postponing decisions. When you know what a recording needs, the fewer tracks you use, the less time it takes, and the more energy and feel  you have in the performances.  I will always take a radically different approach than the habitual layering from the drums up, overdubbing til you drop, then trying to make some kind of an arrangement out of the mix.

Here are some sample tracksheets from my sessions, to demonstrate: –


The Omelettes came over from Argentina to record a single; Little Toy / Blow Up

Two songs, start to finish in a 12 hour session, using a 16 track 2″tape format with a traditional 60′s approach.


1.    Drums, L: AT4033
2.    Drums, R: AT4033
3.    Drums, kick: Sennheser 602
3.    Bass: AKG D112
4.    Electric guitar: AKG C1000
5.    Live lead vocals: Neumann U87


6.   Guitar solo: C1007.
7.   Guitar additional licks: C1000
8.   Organ: direct
9.   Overdub lead vocals: U87


About 50 minutes for the first song, 20 minutes the second. No eq or fx other than a single reverb.



Elks Skiffle Group: Aliens 263 Earthmen 0

The 2nd album from the inimitable puppet pop group from outer space is unashamedly 4 track in all its glory, often with several overdub parts per track, and all fx, eq, etc. applied at the time of recording.

A typical example of the Elks recording process –


Submix to stereo


Submix to stereo


Final mix to Minidisc or computer



The Midbeats: Can’t Complain / You’ve Got To Take It. Two songs, start to finish in a day, using analogue tape with a traditional 60′s approach.


1.    Drums, main: single AT4033
2.    Drums, kick: SM57
3.    Acoustic guitars 1 and 2: single Neumann U87
4.    Electric lead guitar: AKG C1000
5/6. Room/Overhead: Sony stereo mic via cassette recorder with auto level



7.   Bass: unbranded tom mic
8.   Lead guitar double track: C1000
9.   Percussion: U87
10. Farfaisa organ: U87
11. Dual lead vocals: single U87
12. Dual harmony/double track vocals: single U87



About 50 minutes for both songs. A little EQ was used, but only on the kick and percussion. Compression / limiting was tracked to tape, and a single reverb was sufficient for everything.



Brian Johnstone : Songs O’ The Scots-Anglo Border

The first of a trilogy of 17th century Scots folk songs, some never previously recorded. The brief was to not make a ‘pretty’ folk recording, and I went so far as to deliberately degrade the sonic when mixing, for a wild, rugged atmosphere.

The album was made in a single 6 hour day, with a further day to mix. All recording was live, to Minidisc.

Mic/Track 1 : vocal 1 and guitar, harmonica and a bleed of Northumbrian small pipes or bodrahan

Mic/Track 2: vocal 2, Northumbrian pipes, bodrahan, and a bleed of lead vocal 1 and guitar

I opted for this ‘2 track’ approach, rather than stereo, which allowed me to rebalance a little when mixing.