The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn while producing music is the obvious ‘less is more’: it’s not about adding as much as possible but making sure every element is necessary. Changing and expanding on a song is especially hard when it’s so sparse and minimal, as in the case of Bryarly Bishop’s ‘Hard To Say Goodbye’, which I produced with Bryarly.
I was determined not to make this song sound like I’d produced it, meaning no synths. It’s a very honest, straightforward song, and that’s what it needed to sound like. With that in mind, there are very few sounds:
-The whooshing noise that accompanies my vocal, designed to sound like waves (as the song is about a long-distance relationship), which was made by recording the sound of us rubbing the insulation foam on the walls of the studio with our hands (as we wanted all the sounds to be organic - it’s the first time the insulation of the studio has been used in a song, I’m told)
-Bryarly’s vocal, devoid of effects barring reverb
-My vocal, deliberately low so it could be coming through as if from a dream or a memory (both our voices are panned slightly, mine to the left and hers to the right - we decided on that configuration because I’m left-handed and Bryarly’s right-handed)
-The Simon-and-Garfunkel-influenced backing vocals, reminding me of someone calling across the sea - we didn’t want to incorporate any other instruments since it was such a personal song, so we used vocals to replicate what I would ordinarily have had strings or something else do
Bryarly wrote additional thoughts on her blog which I encourage you to read. I hope you like the song! :)