Song Profile: Tell Another Story

Sydney skyline photo: Victorino Perrine

2003, Sydney Australia: Tell Another Story marked a return to songwriting for me.

I was introduced to Viko Perrine, an audio engineer who had worked on the Hungry Young Poets (Sony/EPIC) 1997 album. He was in Australia studying an audio engineering course at SAE Sydney, and he needed material for his major project. At the time, I was having a music hiatus,  as I was focussing on a fast paced career in the media and publishing industry. Music was not front of mind for me, but for many musicians and artists, music has a habit of finding you when you least expect it. This is the story behind creating the song ‘Tell Another Story’.

Click here to listen to Tell Another Story

Tell Another Story: Audio Engineer Viko Perinne, Written, lead vocals & produced by Jomar, Keyboards & Backing Vocals Jojo Calabio, Drums Geoff Chalmers, Backing Vocals Rosemary Reid,

Our first meeting was over Thai lunch on Victoria Road near Sydney’s infamous Kings Cross area. We got to know each other over a curry laksa, and discussed music projects and ideas we have worked on. I got a good vibe from Viko, with his kind nature and a kind of confidence that he exerted.

He was after an upbeat jazz-funk style song; the kind of song that I didn’t have in my catalogue. We did agree to do some demo recordings of songs Fast Train and Countdown Days. These songs didn’t quite fit the groove he was after, so he asked if I could write something a bit more upbeat. It had been a good 4 years since I had written my last track and I had never been asked to write a song before, but ‘why not give it a shot?’.

Starting the groove with the rhythm

There are two things that got this song started. The first was my trusty Gibson Les Paul. Even though the strings were probably around four years old, the guitar’s full and bright tone simply guided the punchy rhythm. The second was Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s going on’, with the opening major 7 chord. From there the song developed into its own personality.

I remember finding that guitar rhythm whilst playing around in the lounge room. Once I had found it had some legs, I moved into the spare bedroom to see were I could take it next. The four chord structure for the verse came fairly quickly, and as the chords of the chorus was to be a derivative of the verse, the song was well underway.

The words of Another Story

At the time I had a lot on my mind, with little time to get a song written, and I feel that I was being pushed into getting another song, or another story out. It was almost like the earlier stories we tried to record, weren’t the right ones for Viko, so ‘Tell Another Story’ become that song I wrote, that was initially about writing songs.

‘Guess we’ll never figure out why we just can’t get along’, came out of the frustration of family relations that seemingly will never have a  solution. ‘Make your mind to move up, and start another day’, was my calling out to those people to just get on with each other. It can’t be that difficult, can it?

The Studio Recording

Sydney SAE has wonderful recording facilities. We were using the largest studio with 24 track analogue desk. It had a large sound proof audio booth and large enough to fit a full band in.

On the day of first recording, I remember still scribbling down the final words from home just before heading into the car. The studio was booked, and we were going to lay down the arrangement with the rhythm section, drums bass and guitar. Geoff was set up in the studio room whilst myself and the bass player Dave were plugged direct in to the desk in the sound booth. Geoff and Dave had played together before so they had a good vibe between them. I remember playing that rhythm section together with them, and feeling some magic. The initial recording that day, made it into the final mix and became the core groove to the song.

We layered the next tracks down in a second session, and this was the keyboards and vocals. I had a lead vocalist lined up for the first day, he lost his voice. By the second session, he was still out of action, so we recorded keyboards, and then did three piece harmonies. We got a lot of work done in good time and there buzz in the studio, it was a great energy.

Viko Perrine – Audio engineer on Tell Another Story

We were using a very rough lead vocal track I dropped in on the first session, and at the end of the second session we had a bit of time left over. Viko suggested that I rerecord the vocals track so we had a better reference for when the vocalist would make it back. Viko suggested that we try to record my ‘rough’ vocals as well as we would if we were recording the final version. Viko rearranged the studio with sound boards infront of me to optimise the quality of recording.

I clearly remember that we did two takes, and the final recording came from the second. Inspiration came half way through the first take, as when I looked up into the control booth, I saw a full room (Others from the other studio had gathered into our session). I had an audience, and not only did I have an audience, but they were all dancing as I was recording my track. That gave me an unexpected boost that I had never expected. The sound booth party hung around for the second take, and that was it.

My second take stuck. We never got around to rebooking the lead vocalist, and I often wonder what he would have added to the song. Tell Another Story re-sparked music for me. 2003 however, would take a very dark turn for the worse for me and my family, though song was there for me and writing the song ‘Here for you’ was one thing that carried me through some of the worst days of my life. That, is another story.

Writing this article was inspired by: Camilla Haargaard & Jeff Hansel

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