During the final months of 2017, Mike was contacted by his friend and colleague Steve Hope-Wynne to see if he would consider getting involved in the production of Clare Estelle's collaborative track "Somehow", and if he would contribute some musical elements of his own.
The pair had been working together and experimenting and bouncing ideas off each other for a while; Clare had composed the music and written lyrics alongside performing piano, acoustic guitar and some percussion. Through various collaborations, Clare then sourced Irish whistle (Sam Piper), drums (Stuart Hemphill) and bass guitar (Phil Smith) with Steve adding electric guitars and a variety of his own vocal section recordings.
It was clear from the first couple of listens and early conversations that Clare was telling a very vivid cinematic story and through the user of layering and cleaver production techniques, the aim was to evoke a mental narrative for the audience to experience while listening. As such, during our first meeting and when first approaching the Pro Tools session at the AEP studio, Mike began to establish a workflow within the session and take in the various creative mixing techniques and philosophies which had been applied by Steve in the months leading to his involvement.
Mike's job was to build on Steve's initial mix adding balance, cleaning up the existing tracks and fades, creating room for the various sections of the track to work in the narrative context and to question the use of background and foreground. The track is very unconventional in approach which gave room to experiment and even compliment imperfections, something very refreshing in our current state of relentless digital perfection. Alongside this, Mike contributed a Duduk counter melody to work alongside the flute, extreme low sustained double bass notes to carry the darker and deeper parts of the track and some elements of percussion to backup that which was already there.
Clare is currently looking into releasing the track, please see her website for more information and updates on the release.