Where does the name SonicPond come from?
I always wanted to theme the studio name around my own surname – Fisher – so for a while I was ‘The Aquarium’. Then a friend jokingly came up with idea of ‘The Sonic Cod Pond’. I just dropped the ‘Cod’, and it stuck!
When and how did you start the company?
I’ve always been obsessed with audio and recording. As a teenager, I sung and played guitar in bands, bought my first 4 track when I was 18, then recorded my first album at home immediately after. As bad as Im sure that was, from then on I was constantly experimenting with recording techniques. Once I became an actor/musician in my 20’s, I found more and more friends started turning up to record their own songs, and so began my road to learning how to arrange. SonicPond was eventually established in 2005.
What are your plans moving forward?
I used to diversify wildly – songs, voiceovers, web design, showreels, theatre sound design – and now that I have a young daughter, I want to be able to simplify things, so that I can spend more time with her. Sadly, fewer and fewer people are recording their own songs now – which I think is a terrible X Factor side effect, so that’s one thing that I see me doing less of.
Please tell us about the production of the English-Swedish album
When Kristin came to me with the idea, it was a very exciting challenge, and I think we both imagined it would be a simpler journey than it ended up being. But we both passionately wanted to create something new and different, and not just turn out the same cliches that had been heard a thousand times before. That meant taking time and exploring musical ideas. We were able to work with some amazing musicians along the way, and their input and creativity was invauable. For me, just the process of phonetically learning the backing vocals in Swedish (which I don’t speak a word of), and then timing them perfectly with Kristin’s vocal, was a real challenge!
How did you go about deciding on arrangements and instruments?
We started with the usual, frightening blank page, and waited for an idea to occur! Peter (McCarthy) was invaluable at that stage, because he’s such a genius improviser on a piano. We laid down simple piano/drums versions of most of the songs, then later on I tried out variations of other instruments on top of that, to see what worked best. Sometimes that would even mean removing the original drums and piano altogether, and replacing them with acoustic guitar and drumsticks played on a mic stand, to create a cheekier, more upbeat sound.
There are some amazing harmonies in for example ‘Kookaburra’, how did you create that beautiful soundwall?
I grew up listening the The Carpenters when I was very little, and I think that created a fascination in me for layered harmonies. I can’t notate harmomy on paper, I literally have to busk ideas in to a mic to see what works, and try to create something that has movement and texture. The Carpenters taught me how to use 9ths and make them work!
You recently became a father. What are your thoughs about your child’s future language exposure?
I would love for her to learn languages, but its hard to know what to focus on, and what’ll be of most use to her. I learned French and German when I was young, and I wish I’d gone further with them. I shall be playing her the Swedish nursery songs though, so who knows where that’ll lead!
Anything else you would like to share with us?
The album was a real labour of love for both of us, and took a long time to make. As a result, it’s something we’re both very proud of, so I hope everyone enjoys listening to it, and that the children get something very valuable out of it. Ive just bought my first ukulele, which I play to Mia (my daugher) every day. So the next album will have lots of uke on it!