This four-song EP from singer Lewis Watson features the guitar-and-vocals-focused opening track “Even If,” which was engineered by Jonathan Gilmore, and produced and mixed by Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals). All other songs were produced, recorded and mixed by Richard Wilkinson, whose credits include Adele, Kaiser Chiefs and others.
Wilkinson worked in his space within The Church studios (London). “I built it as a production, writing and mix room to allow me to work on projects with less pressure on the artist’s budget,” Wilkinson says. “I’ve ended up doing about 60 percent of my work here over the past three years.”
The space features a Focusrite Studio console that was originally built for Metropolis. “The console is cut down smaller now,” Wilkinson says. “I have a fair amount of outboard and a small but versatile collection of mics. I’m a big fan of Dave Smith synths and have a Mopho and Poly Evolver and an E-mu Emax 1. I also use Native Instruments and spend a lot of time making my own sample patches in Kontakt.”
Watson collaborates with guests on three tracks (Gabrielle Aplin, Kimberly Anne, duo Hudson Taylor), but the centerpiece is Watson’s own clear, sweet voice. “My vocal mic of choice for Lewis at the moment is an RFT 7151, modified by Andreas Grosser,” Wilkinson says. “It’s a German 1930s bottle mic with interchangeable capsules. I use it with a [Neumann] M 7 cardioid capsule. For this EP, I went through an Apogee Trak 2 preamp with A/D conversion.” Compression was via a Manley mono Vari Mu.
“We normally start with a guide vocal and acoustic guitar,” Wilkinson says. “I build the track up rhythmically, and then we get takes of acoustic or piano to give us something solid musically to sing the main vocals to. Lewis knows his voice well, so I look to him to recognize when he’s giving me his better performances. Lewis is always involved in making sure we got the take.”