How I made 'Devil'

My new single Devil comes out next week (on Thursday 9th September 2021) and I’m pretty pleased with how it sounds. (You can pre-save it on Spotify here if you like). The photograph on the front cover above was taken by the brilliant Natalie Wootton (whose images are all over the new album too!)

Like many of my other songs (including Darling, Dear Darling, One Day and Where Does It Hurt?), ‘Devil’ was written in response to my own experience of poor mental health, specifically a brief and sudden episode of depression and paranoia which came on a couple of years ago, just before Covid struck.

Here’s some of the lyrics:

It’s a song I originally wrote on guitar. I then arranged the guitar part for 4-part acappella vocal harmony - essentially each voice takes a string of the guitar and sings the notes played by that string (mostly!) looping incessantly for the whole song.

I recorded and produced the song (as I did every song on my new album Alone On A Hill) in the hallway between my kitchen and my lounge.

As well as the a cappella vocals, I created some percussive sounds through recording my hand beating my chest and by breathing heavily! I then processed these sounds using some interesting reverb effects and a number of different and varying delay effects increasing in intensity and frequency throughout the song. (Thank you Valhalla, as recommended by my brilliant friend and musical mentor Jim Cornick!)

I experimented with sounds created from manipulating all the vocals through different reverb, delay, EQ and other effects and recorded this in real time by setting up a microphone next to my speakers as I played around with various parameters. It is from this that I created the last minute or so of the song as it gradually overwhelms the original vocals. It was a lot of fun to play and experiment like this.

Here’s what that stuff sounds like on it’s own...

You can pre-order the new album 'Alone On A Hill' from my bandcamp page here.

Cheers babs!

KRB. x


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