Session Notes: ‘Caught by the Heart’ Tim Finn & Phil Manzanera
Tim Finn and legendary guitarist and producer Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music) reconnect 45 years after their first collaboration. Resulting in an EP and more. Phil Manzanera explains how he produced ‘Caught By The Heart’.
Track: Caught by the Heart
Producer: Phil Manzanera
Interview: Joe Matera
This all started when Tim Finn sent me an email from his home in New Zealand, around the time of the first lockdown in April, 2020. He was feeling nostalgic about his trips to Cuba in the 1980s and a couple of latin-themed albums he worked on in my studio in London around that time.
He asked if I had anything with slow latin grooves lying around that he could write lyrics to. As it happened, I’d been preparing an album of my latin material and sent him a few pieces I had laying around. He had lyrics ready to go and sent them back the next day with singing and all. I was absolutely thrilled. Every day I would send him something, and he would come back with more words.
‘Caught By The Heart’ was originally done with a latin groove, and does have a little bit of a latin thing in the middle section. But once Tim added his lyrics, I completely reimagined the song. I started putting on the guitars you hear at the beginning. I used my 1964 Gibson Firebird guitar using a pen instead of a bottleneck slide. A lot of my gear was back in my main London studio, so I used whatever I had lying around at my disposal to create the sounds.
My setup in my country home studio is an old, small Fender amp which David Gilmour gave me for my 60th birthday, a Shure SM57 mic and a Universal Audio OX Amp Top Box interface. Along with my Firebird and a ’51 Fender Telecaster, that’s all I used and it brought out the best sound. You can spend weeks in a studio with different amps and mics to achieve a sound, yet this seemed to automatically give me a sound instantly, which allowed me to concentrate on actual playing. Afterwards, if I needed to treat it, I could treat it. And using Logic Pro I would do combinations of sounds. Over time, I kept upgrading the track, and I’d send it to Tim for a listen, to get his thoughts.
Some of the sounds on the track such as those in the middle section weren’t there from the beginning. I worked really hard to get that section right, until one day Tim finally sent me an email to say, ‘that’s it. I love the sound!’
I sent the track to my bass player friend Yaron Stavi in Stuttgart to add bass guitar. His wife Corinna is a violinist and viola player, and she performed all the strings at their home.
My setup [includes a] small Fender amp which David Gilmour gave me for my 60th birthday, a Shure SM57 mic and a Universal Audio OX Amp Top Box interface
BODDY OF WORK
I sent the session to my engineer Mike Boddy. His credits include Radiohead, Bryan Ferry and others and he mixed the track and the rest of the EP. Mike also programmed all the drums on the track along with the rest of the EP tracks. Programming the drums involved me grabbing a loop and Mike tweaking it to make it our own. It was the only way we could achieve the result when travel was impossible thanks to the lockdown. In the mix we used a Fairchild 670 Compressor simulator plug-in. That said, the track sounds very organic and uncompressed to me.