With such an illustrious back catalogue, Sawmills is spoilt for choice when asked to focus on a single work. Sound engineer John Cornfield selected Supergrass’ 1997 second album In it for the Money – a project he looks back on with pride and fondness.
“The second album was recorded entirely at Sawmills, just between myself and the band.” Cornfield recalls. “They were very happy with the aesthetic of the place. It worked a treat. They were very chilled, laid-back sessions. They didn’t have too much written – a lot of it occurred at the time because they felt they could write there, so they came down with a bunch of ideas and it all got put together at the studio.”
Key equipment during recording included the Trident 80B, an EMT 140 stereo plate reverberator and various Joe Meek compressors and AKG mics.
“In the summer sessions it was fantastic because we had them set up outside on the grass, so it was cut live – we had mics out across the creek recording boats, birds and wildlife at the same time, which you can hear on the album if you listen carefully,” adds Cornfield.
”And it was all on tape. We were working on the Otari MTR-90. It differs from using DAWs in that you can get three songs, maybe four, on a reel of tape, and tape costs a fair bit of money, so you can’t do take after take. And that forces people to focus.”
“We had a brass section come down and we set them on the grass. They stopped in the middle of a take and said ‘We’re getting wet!’ We looked out the window and the tide had come in and they were all standing in the water.”
”When you record, you end up like family with everyone at Sawmills. It was a fantastic time.”