How to make an album – ptII

Well last week I reminisced about the week of recording for The Way Home. This week, I’d like to go a little into the detail of the time that went in to the project.

Around November 2014, I started thinking seriously about what I next wanted to achieve, musically speaking. The answer was fairly obviously a Roo’s Radio album. So I set about making it happen.

Initially I thought it might be me and Paul doing the bulk of the work, with the band filling in towards the end, but in fact, the others wanted to throw in behind the idea as much as I did. And I’m glad for that, as we have a far better end product because of it.

Not least because of what I’m about to tell you. Three extra people on the project meant a lot more working hours. Here then, is a rough breakdown of actual time that went into just the making of the music. Physical production and launch are a story for another time I think.

Album production hours

I’ve counted the total time of everyone involved, which in this case varied from just me (songwriting) to the band (four of us), to the band with producer, to a church choir (20ish). This is a very rough estimate, and I’ve erred on the side of conservative guesses to be honest. I’ve gone with 1 day = 8 hours.

The actual album process from start to release ran from January 2015 to November 2015, with some songs initially written as early as 2011.

Initial songwriting 2011 – 2015. Approx. 2 hours per song, but I may have written up to 25-30 songs in that period. Some of these ended up with strangeday, some may still see the light of day, and some are probably just for me :P. Only 11 made it onto the album (the intro track was written during the process of producing the album and is a reworking of parts of two of the other songs with some extra bits)
~60 hours

Extra band songwriting for 5 of those songs during band practices (2013-2014)
~96 hours

Initial album planning (December 2014)
2-3 hours taking to Paul W about recording and the band about the project
~10.5 hours

Building collaboration tool. 3-4 hours collating songs, influences, building an online wiki for collaboration
~4 hours

Pre-recording band rewrites
Roughly every Wednesday evening between January and May 2015 plus one Saturday a month in the same period
~64 hours (evenings)
~128 hours (Saturdays)

Working out final track selection and rough order/album journey/themes
~1.5 hours

Final pre-production with Paul, May 2015
~20 hours

Recording scratch tracks May 2015
~5 hours

Studio week May 16-22 2015
~276 hours

Choir recording June 2015 (inc prep) rough estimate
~43 hours

Extra recording days July/August 2015 2-3 days with various people
~72 hours

Cello writing/recording July 2015
~6 hours

Mixing and editing June-October 2015 – officially 12 days, but estimating 22
~176 hours

Band feedback on editing (very rough approx)
~12 hours

~26 hours

Total ~1000 hours or ~125 days
NB. This does not include artwork, physical production, design, launch planning or general low-level (casual) thinking about the songs/project management etc.