Musical Rooms

January 28, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 54: Burning Codes

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 12:02 pm
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burningcodes“At the moment my favourite place to create music is in my ‘B.Codes studio workshop’, a large white room inside a big wooden bungalow built into a hill, deep in Rockingham forest in a quiet village, just outside Corby, Northamptonshire. It is a large white room which used to be an engineers’ workshop with large, thick wooden work benches along the bottom and along part of one side wall of the room. It’s approximately 25 ft long by 15ft wide and about 14ft to 15ft high on the hall side of the house with the roof sweeping down to a 6ft at the far wall.

The house has a long history (since the 1940’s) and has been moved a few times plank by plank to various locations around the immediate area. The workshop was a traditional engineer’s workshop with workbenches, clamps, vices, fixings etc. and originally had a concrete floor, unlike the front of the house which rests on footings built into the hill. It’s a beautiful open, white, airy, peaceful, inspiring space and my recording equipment is set up right next to the window looking straight out into the forest.

Here I have all my instruments past and present, I have my Fender Telecaster guitars, two acoustics (one lovely old Vega, on loan from a friend and another hand painted old Hondo which sounds great), Bodhrans, a Didgeridoo and some percussion stuff, plus Fender amps, cabs, ProTools, interface, an SM58 mic (which all the live tracks for the whole Burning Codes debut album were recorded on), a PA for rehearsal, a Macbook and KRK V4’s, plus various effects.

The most important thing for me to have here is probably empathy, space, peace, hope, moments, the ProTools set up and the Macbook, oh, and of course my trusty 75 Fender Tele. I spend a huge amount of time in this space – it’s also where I relax and listen to music on the stereo or watch some TV, read, take time out to be alone etc… I tend to be in the moment as much as possible and I will respond to the moments as they grab or take me right there and then. In a sense this is part of the privilege and wonder of having the ProTools here and this has been one of the main reasons for abandoning my previous songwriting conventions, which for me, felt could become more prescriptive. Now I’ve found that just letting go and letting myself be in the moment – and innate expression – leads to music that has some interesting hidden inner messages coming forth, hence the name, Burning Codes .

Since the genesis of this project the live recorded Codes work has largely been a lone journey and I find this somewhat liberating, as my background has previously involved bands and studios, engineers and producers/co-producers. So I have enjoyed working alone with the actual live recording and at this point in the evolving of these codes I think it could be problematic – for both parties – to have other folks involved in this aspect.

Often the creative process begins with a stirring inside, a feeling, a sound, a need, an emotion, a silence, a moment, a thought, and then flows desire and will. A will to ‘jump off’; to let go and let be, to touch an instrument and feel the sound, to open my mouth and see what feeling and expression erupts. It could just be a chord drone or a sequence of cycling notes or some strange sound/s and then a process of trying to be in and with this sound and see what comes from deep down inside, inside the moment and inside the feelings of vulnerability and expression?

For the first Burning Codes long player I used what tools I had immediately to hand, so my voice and my guitars, some minimal percussion and lots of fun with the joy of reverbs, delays and various effects. I used my love of drones extensively but used
my own voice and diaphramatic control experiments for the long held dronal layers of feeling and response.

What I like most about this space is that it has an openness, breadth, space and serenity. I love that it is a large, white space, I feel at home bathed in its whiteness and peace, I think.”

Burning Codes is the solo project of Irish, Belfast born singer and songwriter Paul Archer, (who also contributed vocals to five tracks on Snow Patrol’s Eyes Open and the project also includes various sonic collaborators including Iain Archer (Solo Artist, Snow Patrol, Reindeer Section, and Ivor Novello winner) and Stuart Sweeney (Sonic composer and loop guru). He has previously released The Worthy Cause EP on Belfast’s Only Gone Records and eponymously titled album in late 2008. Burning Codes will be supporting Snow Patrol at The Odyssey Arena Belfast on March 20th 2009, and at Stereo in Glasgow on April 11th. For more information visit or

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  1. Another lovely article.

    While Snow Patrol have gone down hill in my book (my favs of theirs are still their first 2 albums), it struck me that the Archer bros are making much the more interesting & heartfelt music these days, for me at least anyway. Have lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to “Old Black Mountain” by Iain Archer; his latest album is by far my fav of his 3.

    Comment by Jellyman — January 29, 2009 @ 12:09 am |Reply

  2. I would love to hear some music

    Comment by Debarkes Johnson — March 24, 2010 @ 2:39 pm |Reply

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