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The Second Echo – Sugar Mama

By September 6, 2014January 3rd, 2015Blog, Engineering, Mixing, Music, Production

For the past few months, I’ve been working on pre-production, recording and mixing the debut album of The Second Echo – an incredible band of four top notch young musicians with an exceptional affinity for rock ‘n’ roll, blues, melody and groove. Described as a mix between Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and King Crimson, the group are the rehashed next generation of everything that I’ve grown to love about the guitar rock music of the 70’s with a young twist augmented by foot-thumping rhythms and groove.

Armed with theory, strong musical background and already years of experience despite their young carbon footprint, this amazing ensamble of four seasoned musicians features strong performances on every instrument, catchy hooks and melodies with stellar guitar riffs and licks. Co-written by frontman and guitarist, Joe Foster, and lead guitarist, Oliver (Ollie) Marks, the lyrics deal with women, love, relationships, politics, government, life and redemption. Complex yet approachable chord progressions, signature changes and crazy solos are only a small part of the tricks The Second Echo have up their sleeve, as the rhythm section of brothers Ben McKone and James McKone will have you dancing, jumping and head bobbing.

Over a period of about three months, the band and I have been meeting up at band rehearsals to go over the songs, discuss arrangements, vision and sound. By the time we got to Snap Studios to record the songs, we had a pretty clear idea of our agenda and a plan of attack. I have prepared printouts with lyrics and a chart of parts that needed to be recorded for each song, so that I’d have a good overview of the session progress and nothing gets forgotten. The band played live together with the drums setup in the live room, bass amp in the vocal booth and guitar amps in the studio lounge. Guide vocals were sung in the control room live and later overdubbed. No click was used throughout. The performance relied entirely on the band’s natural feel for the song and skilful playing.

With awe I watched these musical geniuses deploy the kind of skills one only gets to hear stories of from ageing colleagues who got to witness something so spectacular on a session once that the memory was permanently inscribed into their consciousness to be told and repeated over and over again to the younger and less fortunate generations. How lucky am I?

The Second Echo - Ben McKone on Drums

With little tile to spare, we cramped eight songs into four days – all including rhythm guitars, solo guitars, drums, bass, vocals and BVs where necessary. We simply could not have done this if the guys didn’t practice their brains off in the months leading up to the session and if they simply weren’t as skilled and hard working as they are!

Taking a few days break after the exhausting session, I opened the files which had no effects on them, just the levels from the tracking session, I pressed play and smiled. “They really do sound good” I thought. I immediately started working on the first track which was decided by the band and I to be the first single that would introduce the band to the world. The song is called Sugar Mama and I am very proud to be able to share it with you. It is available for free as a SoundCloud stream and on Spotify, but please support the band and purchase the track on iTunes if you like it.

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Buy Sugar Mama on iTunes


Joe Foster – Lead Vocals and Guitar
Oliver Marks – Guitar
James McKone – Bass
Ben McKone – Drums, BVs and Percussion

Written by Joe Foster and Oliver Marks
Recorded at Snap Studios. Assisted by Ben Mclusky.
Engineered and Mixed by Adam Crowe
Mastered by John Webber at AIR Studios

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