Carpenters? Zappa? Beatles? How I self-produced a Ghibli-esque concept album

by Roger Heathers

Carpenters? Zappa? Beatles? How I self-produced a Ghibli-esque concept album by Roger Heathers
The songs for the latest record have come together in such a cohesive manner, but I’m still wondering where I got this fully-hatched story of a Ghibli-esque fox who comes of age in a fictional city…

Listen to the album while reading the text.

As this is my first post here, introductions are in order.

My name is Roger Heathers. I’m currently 26-y-o. I’ve been a recording musician since I was a tween. I’ve been releasing digital albums through my website (www.rogerheathers.com) since age 19. The records are all self-produced.

I find it challenging to “sell myself”, so the basic descriptions of my work can sound self-aggrandising at times, but here it goes:

In short, I play the majority of the instruments on the recordings of my songs and engineer/mix/master the recording process also.

Visit the website and you’ll find a range of genres and styles, including Elliott Smith inspired acoustic writing, Lennon-esque piano balladry, 90s boom-bap hip hop beat tapes and wall-of-sound guitar mixes not dissimilar to Smashing Pumpkin’s 90s albums.

Anyways,
I’d like talk to you about the process of writing, recording and conceptualising my newest album which has the working title, “Next Week In Münster.”

Right off the bat, it’s very inspired by Carpenters, The Lemon Twigs’ brilliant new record ‘Go To School and a little Beach Boys chord modulating.

The majority of the songs were written as part of a self-imposed songwriting challenge/podcast which I co-host with my friend Declan Kitchener. We each write one song per week for 7 weeks at a time.

This podcast season, a lot of my songs have come with a) an almost adult contemporary/Carpenters feel to them and b) an ever-unfolding story which seems to be centred around a fox who gets injured, leaves his Pack and tries to make a meaningful life for himself in the nearby city of Münster. He’s slightly anthromorhic. Trouble and challenges ensue.

I’ve recorded most of my previous albums’ backing tracks myself, but for this album’s songs, I’ve enlisted the fantastic talents of:

  • Itunu Odetokun (Nigeria – drums (God, this guy has chops!))
  • Joe O’Neill (UK – backing vocals (harmonies to rival Queen))
  • Pedro Gómez-Briceño (Peru – violin, cello (makes every mix sound heightened/from another era))
  • Miguel Vargas (Venezuela – strings, flutes and arrangements (the icing on the choral cake))

With the help of these guys, the songs which are available so far sound just brilliant and have the almost cinematic, Studio Ghibli vibe I so wanted for this project.

If any of this sounds exciting to you, go to the website and buy the blue singles. Please also get in touch. I’d like to meet you.

Thanks for reading,
Rog

Roger Heathers

Roger Heathers, Category: Artist, Albums: To Your Heart’s Content, Singles: Maybe I’m Bored EP, Wintertape 5, Skeletons, Top Tracks: Confetti, Sandbox Games, As It’s You, America, Czechoslovakia, Monthly Listeners: 14, Where People Listen: Lille, Schiedam, Lelystad, Hilversum, Zuidbroek

Website/Bandcamp
Instagram
SoundCloud

Artist’s Note
Alternative, Acoustic, 60s, 70s
the beatles, carpenters, lemon twigs, interesting, home recording, melodic

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