Ailie Blunnie

Songwriter :: Singer :: Musician

‘West to the Evening Sun’ single // process (music)

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017


How are ya? It’s been a big week here with the release of ‘West to the Evening Sun’, the first single from my forthcoming album. Here it is:

It’s about.. do you know when you’re a bit fed up and you just want to get in the car and drive away.. forever? I was feeling like that at the time. I wrote some of it in Dublin, and some of it in Sligo.

It’s a bit different than previous releases for me, because it’s the first time I’ve had producers on board (Daragh Dukes, Eoin Coughlan).

I’m very touched at the response it’s getting: some nice media attention and airplay, and my mammy really likes it.. :-)

I never really understood the role of producers; I just thought they were people Michael Jackson had to tell him he was doing grand and keep singing away there.. but I can confidently say, they do more than that! At least in my experience.

We started by listening to the bare song (just piano and vocals) and then I told them a bit about the emotional stuff behind it, and discussed a few reference tracks and ideas to give them a clearer picture of the sort of feel I wanted (e.g. folk, Irish, natural, chant-like, ancient, modern, a bit magical, ambient, expansive).

After that, myself and Eoin recorded a basic track with piano, vocals, and bodhrán, and then we honed in on the individual instruments and sounds, and started experimenting and metaphorically throwing muck at the wall.

We recorded everything a load of different ways – vocals were sung, spoken, whispered.. guitars were strummed, scuffed, e-bowed.. we were hitting ourselves all over for percussion (we must have looked insane) – all to try and get a good, tangible feel for how exactly the palette of sounds I had in my head for the song, was going to be created.

The best way I can describe the atmosphere in that studio is like a great big steam engine, fueled by imagination, energy, a lot of suggestions, a load of opinions, mutual respect, a touch of magic, and a fair bit of feeling uncomfortable. It’s actually not that pleasant sometimes – even though it probably sounds kind of rock ‘n roll and all that’s missing is the cocaine..

After that then, the song was gradually crafted into the version you hear. Daragh, the producer/engineer, is brilliant. I’ll link his website below so you can hear his own work. He sent edits, I made suggestions, he made suggestions, and so on.. until we got it up to the stage where it felt to me like a fresh watercolour of sounds and textures, permeated by a sense of hope and adventure.

My favourite part (if I’m allowed say that about my own song), is the build at the end where the ambient blur of voice synth (Aideen Rickard’s voice) washes over the closing chant with increasing intensity, and then slowly dissolves into the bare wind chimes.

I really hope you enjoy listening to it. That’s the basic outline of how it was developed. A few people had asked me about that, and I’m delighted to share it. (I’ve also written a small piece about the video)

Anyway, enough about all that, how have you been since? Anyone tried any of those apps I was talking about in the last blog? Any good?

I hope you’re keeping well  :-)

Ailie xx

*Daragh Dukes, Dukes Productions

** All photography by Loki Art and Illustration. Design by Pookadubh.





  1. hello Ailie completely different to what I have heard from before and still growing on me. The different choice of sounds is excellent idea and again really like the piano and the singing. Hope all is well and your mam had a good weekend. Will keep an eye out on your website and speak again soon

    • Ciaran! Lovely to hear from you. Thanks so much! Great to bump into you yesterday. Mam had a mighty weekend :-) See you soon!

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