Ten original Focusrite ISA 110 mic pre/EQ modules designed by Rupert Neve were used by engineer, mixer and producer Steve Orchard for recording Sir Paul McCartney’s surprise lockdown album, McCartney III at the legendary musician’s home studio, Hog Hill Mill.
For engineer, mixer and producer Steve Orchard (who works full time for McCartney), their lockdown work turning into a new album was definitely something that was not planned.
“We ended up making an album which turned into McCartney III, but we didn't know we were doing it at the time, because this bit of film music that we had to finish suddenly expanded into finishing up other songs that Paul had, and then recording some new ones. It ended up being a very productive, amazing time!”
The unexpected nature of the project didn’t affect its popularity – McCartney III was met with widespread acclaim from music critics and became McCartney's first UK number one solo album since Flowers in the Dirt in ‘89, and debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 albums chart.
Like McCartney and McCartney II before it, McCartney III features the man himself on all instruments.
“It's amazing, and he's very quick as well,” adds Orchard. “If he's got a new song, he'll put down the main instrument first off – usually guitar or piano – and then we'll have a vocal at the same time. Once that's down, then he'll jump behind the drum kit or something, or we'll do a complimentary guitar or another keyboard; there's never a set routine.
"One advantage of having just one musician is you don't have to worry about spill with other instruments! If you've got a band playing, you've the concern about the drums going down the vocal mic, which you have to try and control.”