Conrad Vingoe
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Conrad Vingoe

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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Highwire LP
Spare Buttons and Bones LP



“I just wanted to make a record that I’d want to listen to.” In his usual self deprecating style Conrad explains the starting point of his new album. “Glenn Campbell, Nick Drake, the Byrds; I love the production and sound of those old records. Then I hear that spirit reflected in contemporary artists such as M Ward and Great Lake Swimmers. I don’t think it came out sounding like any of those artists but they were with me at the start.”

“Simple Secrets” is an intimate and moving collection of songs that slowly but surely creep into your consciousness. Drawing on the influence of 70s singer/songwriters, it harks back to Laurel Canyon’s heyday without ever slipping in to mere pastiche. The sparse production and intimate vocals make the album both comforting and uplifting but the songs are also tinged with a peculiarly British melancholic beauty. Taking further influence from the growing Americana/folk scene, the combination gives “Simple Secrets” a timeless ghostly quality with songs revealing a depth that few of the current crop of singer/songwriters achieve.

Recording the album at home with limited equipment Conrad made a conscious decision to avoid the trappings of modern production, “I decided to record the album myself. Although I’ve worked with Producers and Engineers in the past they never seemed to hear things in quite the same way as I did so I thought it was time to put up or shut up. I took more time over writing this album because I wanted to be proud of every song on it…no nasty surprises”.

This fiercely independent spirit flows throughout the album and led to Conrad playing most of the instruments himself. This involved borrowing instruments and anything he could get his hands on to produce the sounds he wanted to hear. “The recording was very free and open. Basically, if I could hit an instrument and get the right sound out of it I’d use it on the album.” Never one to shun a challenge, this involved learning how to play a few new instruments as well.

Towards the end of the recording Conrad also enrolled the help of a couple of friends to complete certain songs. Eddie Myer (Turin Brakes, Lucky Jim) played double bass and Pino Trono played drums. In keeping with the sound Conrad had in mind, the completed album was mastered by Guy Davie at Electric Mastering. Having mastered a number of Conrad’s favourite recent records, the 70s analogue mastering desk (imported from Lagos) was also responsible for records by Wings and Fela Kuti. “It seemed very fitting to me to have the record mastered using analogue gear, and I’m very pleased that I managed to complete the whole process in this way. Having it mastered by Guy at Electric was the icing on the cake for me.”