Written by Peter Doran for peterdoran.com. Sign up for newsletter & get free music here
“Outlines”, the fourth album from Peter Doran is due for release this Autumn.
My fourth album, “Outlines” has crossed the finish line! The album was mastered on Monday by Roger Seibel of SAE Mastering, in Arizona. Roger did an amazing job and the record sounds absolutely gorgeous! I chose Roger because he has mastered albums from many of my favourite singer/songwriters including Bill Callahan, Alela Diane, Laura Veirs, The Decemberists and Elliot Smith. He’s pretty much the man for this genre of music.
Outlines clocks in at 38 minutes 46 seconds and has 10 songs:
When we started this project last October, we had the idea to try and make the album ourselves. I had done the whole big studio thing on “Overhead the Stars” and was curious about taking a more humble approach this time. All we had was a really nice room, a couple of good microphones and an old Roland 24 track studio. No Pro-Tools, No Swimming Pool and No enormous Studio bills.
We went in with no expectations and no pressure. What we came out with was the most natural piece of work that I’ve ever made. It has come together with a rhythm and flow that seems perfect to me. The recording process was so simple, there were no discussions about how we should make the record sound, or what kind of direction we should we take with the production. All those decisions were kind of off the table. This isn’t an album that’s been sculpted from the ground up in order to meet certain ideals. The album is a marriage of the songs, the musicians and the room. That’s all we had. This is a performance album. There is no auto-tune on this record because I don’t have it on the studio. There are pretty much zero edits or drop ins. All the vocals and acoustic parts were played together in one take, in one room. It was all about waiting for the right performance, one that felt as good and as natural as breathing. The music had to flow and not be forced in any way. There is no straining in these recordings, no grasping for the epic. I cleared my mind of everything but the song, pressed record and played.
“Outlines” has not come from money at all. It’s come from love.
To me this album has a sense of coming out of nowhere. I know that we’ve been working on it since October, not every single day but steadily enough. But it’s been a joy the whole time. This album never left my sight. I’ve been there with it the whole time. We mixed it ourselves using Nicky’s speakers, taking our time, taking breaks. Paying to have the album mixed professionally was a luxury I couldn’t afford. “Outlines” has not come from money at all. It’s come from love. The album has been shaped and made possible by a small group of people. people who either gave their time, musical ability, equipment, housing or firewood. I can count on two hands the people who really made this album come to be:
Nicky, Sweeney, Gerard, Brian, Colm, Tomo, Steve, John Fairleigh and myself.
Nine key people. That’s amazing… Seven musicians, one microphone donor and one shelter-giver.
So where to go from here? Even this question feels different than it has with other records. I feel a huge optimism. I feel that we’ve already won. It now becomes a question, not of how to sell 10,000 records, or whatever number you want to put on it, but instead “How do we best share this work with others?”. I feel there is less pressure on the album, the album is not the be all and end all. I don’t send it out into the world and hope it amasses a fortune for me. That’s the wrong way to look at it entirely… Instead we go into the world with the music in our lungs, with CDs in our pockets: We go to play concerts, to make videos, to play radio shows, to connect with other human beings… I want to throw myself into a whirl of activity with the album at it’s heart. “Outlines” is one very important part of bigger musical picture. It’s a talking point in a conversation but it is not the entire dialogue. It’s part of a larger system, just as I am and you are.
Maybe I feel less stressed about this record because there hasn’t been a huge financial risk taken with it. There is no real pressure to recoup anything. That kind of thinking puts you on edge straight away… thinking that you have to make a certain amount of money on a thing just so that you don’t lose. It’s a pressure and I’m glad it’s not there with this record.
The Outlines End-line.
It’s a different kind of pressure that I feel now. It’s a voice whispering… “This is good, really good… do not mess it up, don’t be lazy, don’t be timid, and do not hold back”. I think there is a good opportunity for growth with this record. To tour more, to bring some joy to more people and to maybe begin to carve out a situation where this music thing becomes sustainable. That would be wonderful. To be self-sustaining, to be able to keep going, going, going, to continue living a musical life.