The Lucky 9: Trish answers 9 facts about the new album “There is this place I go “..
Sahara are a duo with a beautiful story. The name itself conjures colorful images of distant lands and exotic animals, and it also sounds relaxing. The album cover:Road paved with gold, sounds like the lives these two people are leading. In this story, Trish Long explains how music, made it possible for them to see and meet people from other places. She also expands the topic on the recording of the album, and the story behind each song.
1. Please tell us about the latest album “There is this place I go”.
We released our latest album ‘There is this place I go’ in 2010 on iTunes and various internet music sites. The songs on this album were written between 2007 and 2009. We suffered a lot of personal setbacks during this period due to serious illness and hospitalization with Dave and we were totally surprised that we got to finish the recording at all! So far the album has received very positive feedback and reviews as well as airplay on radio stations both here in Australia and overseas.
2. Both you and Dave are doing vocals and instruments. What’s the process of recording each song?
We always record a demo version of an album first, that way we can listen back carefully to the songs, tempos, arrangements and our performances. We always end up making various changes. Then we move on to the serious recording of the album – we start with a basic drum track and Dave on the guitar. This is followed by the main vocals and then bass line, keyboards, vocal harmonies, brass lines and other sequencing eg strings. We then record the solo and finish with the drums and percussion. When it’s all down we listen over and over again to the performances and if we’re happy with them we distance ourselves from it for a matter of weeks before we listen again with fresh ears for the effects and final mix.
3. What’s the inspiration behind the new album?
A lot of the songs were inspired by Dave’s health struggle and survival – it was a very close call on a number of occasions. This is most evident in the song ‘Where Angels Rest’ which was drawn from Dave’s near death experience. ‘There is this place I go’ represents how you can escape in your own mind when you need to, ‘A love so powerful’ is a very positive upbeat song and represents the part that love plays in a recovery. Other songs are also a reflection of what we were witnessing on a global basis eg. ‘Has it ever been any different before’ and ‘No Money for the ride home’. ‘This is the story’ is about the challenges that people face in their lives – be it on a physical, mental or emotional level – and how they choose to deal with it ‘The road less travelled’ has an almost similar theme to it. I was most amazed that when Dave was at his lowest point physically that he still had such inspiration for writing music and lyrics and a driving force to continue with his music. He didn’t have an instrument at hand but memorized the music till he was well enough to return home and take up his guitar again. At this stage he was my inspiration as I witnessed what he went through. Going through a trauma and living far away from our homeland became the inspiration for our instrumental ‘Eblana’ which is the ancient name for our city of birth ‘Dublin’ and was a very emotional piece for us both when writing and recording. Other songs like ‘Living in the here and now’ and ‘I’d like to dance all night’ are much more upbeat showing the fun side of life and to enjoy the now!
4. Do you record an album based on a concept, or something just unravels as you go along?
We’ve never been into concept albums….it’s just not our thing!! We’ve always written solely from inspiration and don’t believe that songwriting is a ‘task’ that we set ourselves. Music is an art form for us and we are truly grateful for the inspiration we receive – it is not at our command and therefore we also have to accept dry periods. We are honest about our music and put it out there to the best of our abilities in the hope that others may enjoy it also. At the end of the day we always have more songs written than are needed for an album so when we select the songs we try to get a flow from start to finish.
5. Tell us about your studio routine.
Our lives tend to be chaotic and though we love the idea of a routine it just doesn’t exist for us. Our main priority is rehearsing that way we keep up our performance levels – singing and playing instruments. To be honest we absolutely love playing music and performing! In the studio we have a number of projects on the go – both short term and long term. We are in the middle of recording a new album and have recently recorded a couple of home videos to promote a couple of tracks ‘This is the story’ and ‘Has it ever been any different before’ off ‘There is this place I go’. It was a bit of fun for us because in the past our videos were of our live performances on TV or a video produced by a TV network. These home videos were a learning curve and very enjoyable!
6. You’re both Irish who moved over to Australia. Has this made changes to both your musical styles and direction?
We have spent many years on concert tour around Australia getting to perform in places ranging from outback towns to major cities and everywhere in-between. We travelled to all these performances in our old car no matter what the distance and really got the feel of Australia. it’s landscape and it’s people. We got to meet thousands of Aussies – see the different lifestyles, hear their stories and discuss past and current issues. Our music became imbued with our surroundings. We have sometimes described our music as ‘the mist meeting the haze’.
7. There is this haunting feel in the way you play the saxophone . Have you gotten the same reactions from others?
You are the first to describe my sax playing as ‘haunting’ and I definitely like the sound of that….so thank you!! All I can say is that the saxophone is my real voice and I have always used it to express myself. In our music I try to interpret the emotion of the song and translate it into the solo.
8. How do you and Dave manage music and family life together? I read your bio and it’s stated that you did appear in the mini-series” inside “as musician couples. Tell us about this stint.
The separation of our music life together and our family life is invisible. We seem to morph from one into the other like two songs. We’re not even aware but we have a different relationship when we are working on the music – we are the musician friends of when we first met and when we are out and about we are just another married couple.
Re our short acting career (ha ha) it all started when we were scheduled to perform an original song on a night time TV entertainment show called ‘Davis at Large’ on RTE – Ireland’s national broadcaster. Our appearance was brought forward due to heavy snowfall and the special guest of the night – the inimitable ‘Spike Milligan’ was snowed in in the UK and couldn’t get to Dublin so we said yes we’ll get there. We drove for hours through the snow and spent all day at the studio in a dressing room displaying a large ‘gold star’ with the name Spike Milligan!! It was live to air and a producer of the new Irish series ‘Inside’ happened to be watching. He got in touch and asked if we could appear in the series acting the very difficult role of a couple of musicians. However we were to be from the charity organization ‘Legion of Mary’ and the set was an all male prison so looking as pious as possible we made our way through the cat calling throng of actor prisoners to try to win them over with a Christian song and when that failed we got them all to join in our rendition of ‘If you see your brother standing by the road’. Dave got to speak…improvising….’Great to be here’….rapturous applause exit stage left. Then we had to leave the country….as yes it all makes sense now. What happened next ….tune in next week.
9. How did you guys celebrate Saint Patrick’s day?
This year was a quiet one as Dave is still in recovery with a couple more operations to go. We sent and received greetings from family and friends, played some music, went for a short walk and had a celebratory Guinness purely for medicinal purposes (ahem) and as they say in Ireland ‘to drown the shamrock’.
P.S My special thanks to Trish for helping me out with the facts. Editing is a challenge 🙂