In the next part of our guest blog series from singer/songwriter Haydon Spenceley, we hear how his global collaborative recording process is progressing, and Haydon reflects on the collaboration between God and people.

Greetings everyone

Thanks for sticking with these blogs, even as they’re spread out by vast expanses of time. It gives you an insight in to the length of time it can take to make an album if nothing else!*

A quick update on what’s happened since we last spoke to kick things off. Keyboards have been recorded in Northampton. Guitars put down in Indianapolis, Nashville and Southampton vocals in South Carolina and Seattle. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a place for cowbell on this record, but there’s still time! We’re (the “we” I refer to here is an ever-increasing group of wonderful people) coming up to the mixing phase of the project, which is always exciting, as it’s the moment when I hear mixes for the first time that I can first sense the end in sight and the final realising of the vision I set out with just around the corner.

Because I’m not (by any means) a full time musician, the process of making this record has been long, perhaps even slow, but at each stage it seems to me that just the right thing has happened at the right time. From initial tracking in the summer with some of my closest friends, who are also hyper-talented, through to making wonderful new acquaintances this autumn, this process has been my favourite album making experience. I’ve been able to have Thom Daugherty (Agitproper, The Elms, as well as a tonne of other cool stuff) lend his signature style to the guitar parts. They’re awesome. I’ve achieved a long-held fanboyish ambition and had Anna-Lynne Williams (Trespassers William, Lotte Kestner, Ormonde) sing on a song. She is wonderful. I met Erick, who I blogged about last time, virtually, in New York, and had him lay down some incredible drum parts. Ben Lewis, who is a stupendous bloke, played bass like only a stupendous bloke can. Harun Kotch blew my mind with his special Harun Kotchness (you’ll know what I mean if you know him) and then there’s Kevin Bruchert. Kevin is a great producer and a great musician. He’s an even better friend.

There’re loads of other people who’ve been involved too. This has been the most collaborative recording process I’ve ever been involved in. Before this turns in to some kind of pretentious awards acceptance speech though I want to get to the point. It isn’t showing off, honest.

No, the point is this: as we come towards the home strait and I’m thinking over the experience of making this record, I’ve been struck by a couple of things. Namely the sheer privilege it is to have people from all over the world, who are stuffed full of talent, want to work with me on something that is so personal to me. It really is something to behold to think that these songs and thoughts that I’ve composed in the (mostly) darkest parts of the last couple of years, on my own, in my house, have been brought to life by such a wildly diverse bunch of people. Music has a wonderful way of forming communities. I’m fortunate to say that I’ve made a lot of friends, and deepened a lot of friendships I already had, in the process of making this album. This building and deepening of relationships makes the whole project worthwhile as far as I’m concerned.

Which leads me to the second point. Something I’m exploring is the wonder of collaboration between God and people. In a similar way to being blown away by how many people have wanted to work with me on this project, I’ve been increasingly caused to wonder at how God wants to relate to me, transform me, bless me, affirm me, challenge me. Really it’s all of it. We are made to live together, with God, together with other people, to love ourselves, not to be isolated from God or from one another, and certainly not to focus our anger inwards towards self-hatred. I’ve been prone to this in the past, and still struggle with it quite a bit. I justify it by thinking and saying things like “well, if you really knew what I was like, what I’d done, who I’d been, then you’d think the same”. The thing is though that God does see, know, even feel the consequences of all of that and yet the seemingly outrageous move He makes towards me, towards us, is one of transforming, of drawing together, towards living and being together, to bring in the kind of life and hope which has always been the plan. 

It’s quite a thought, the process of making an album as a sign of the eschatological hope of humanity. Have some of that!

*For those of you who just want to know when the record’ll be out, I hope it will be the end of January!

Haydon Spenceley

Read the original post on Louder Than the Music here