Singled Out: Honey Rider

09/25/2012
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Today Honey Rider's lead singer Lindsay O'Mahony tells us about "You Can't Say That" from their latest UK album release, "Marley's Chains". Here is the story:

We started writing this backstage at The Belfast Empire in Northern Ireland while we were waiting to go onstage. The rest of the topline and lyrics were written fairly quickly during the rest of the tour however it ended up taking a long time to finalise the track from a production point of view as we wanted as many melodic riffs in the instrumentation as possible. It ended up being a labour of love for our producer Jon….but hopefully it was the worth the blood sweat and tears!!

The inspiration behind the lyrics comes from a doomed relationship – where one side is desperate to end it, but when their lover pleads for forgiveness they are unable to resist temptation and end up being manipulated back into the destructive trap they've been trying to escape from. They will continue to yo-yo until this person finds the strength to let go and move on…..and by the end of the song they realise which path they're going to take…..

We recorded this track in a studio called Karma Sound in Thailand – a once in a lifetime opportunity which came about in 2010. Despite the dark feeling behind the lyrics, our surroundings definitely had an impact on us and so the track has a very light, summery feel-good vibe to it. Originally we had the solo on guitar…but after a trip to Nashville we felt inspired by the Nashville sound and decided to replace it with the mandolin.

Recording Process: This was one of the first songs that we recorded for the new album, and as soon as we started it we knew where it would end up from a production point of view. We started recording after a nice Thai dinner and a few JD's at Karma Sound Studios in Bang Saray, Thailand and we recorded a couple of takes with the whole band playing live. A few more JD's into the early hours and the backbone of the song was done, the guitarists had found some late night inspiration for some of the riffs, we'd recorded backing vocals with everyone who was in the room at the time (even Jason's wife made it onto the final mix), and the lead vocal was done in about half an hour. It all came together so fast.

On returning to England with the track, Jon (producer) called on long-time collaborator James Sanger who had programmed and played keys for Dido's first album 'No Angel' and also Keane's 'Hopes & Fears'. The uber eccentric programmer quickly added some quirky keys & effects to the track, most of which made the final cut. Dave Bronze (bass player for Eric Clapton, Tom Jones) was also drafted in to replace the guide bass, and finally we replaced the acoustic guitar intro and solo with a mandolin, and called on Ilya Toshinskiy (Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift) to perform this duty. We had met Ilya whilst writing and recording in Nashville, he's a fantastic Russian guitarist with a deep South / Russian accent…has to be heard to be believed!

The mix of the track also turned into a labour of love, we ended up having 5 different mixes done by as many different mix engineers. The final mix itself was put together using elements of the different mixes, the vocals from one, drums/bass/guitars from another, and additional production/mandolin from another…! I think we got it right in the end! All in all, the track took about 5 hours to record the guts and 5 weeks to flesh it out how we all wanted it. Hopefully the listener enjoys the end experience.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and check out the video right here!

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