Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fall Recording Workshop!


It's bee a long long time since my last update and there are so many things to discuss BUT, I'm reserving this post for something else:

I'd like to announce that on September 29th and 30th, I'll be hosting a two day workshop at Sonelab studio in Easthampton, MA.

For folks that are interested in attending: please chime in on any topics you'd like to learn about! If you're planning on being there, I want you to get the most out of it possible.

Based on the feedback I've received so far and my own personal leanings, here are some topics I'd like to cover within the two-day workshop:

-Multi-mic placement on a single source (polarity, mic choice, etc)
-Microphone choice: best sounding vs. best placement.
-when to commit to EQ and compression during tracking
-Integrating analog equipment into a digital recording environment (hybrid mixing)
-gain staging
-when to fuss about a sound vs. when to drop a mic in place and move on.
-Session planning; from initial discussions with artists to keeping things running on time.

The first day will be spent with a band so attendees can see all of the topics unfold in real-time with in-depth explanation.

The second day will be spent start with a discussion about the first day's session and a breakdown of the tracks recorded and a mix of these tracks.

Enrollment is now LIVE! The workshop will cost $500 for the two days. I'm asking for 50% deposit now to secure your spot. The final payment will be due exactly 1 month before the workshop.

Space will be limited to ONLY 10 people. Please email me ASAP for payment instructions. As soon as I receive your deposit, I will put you on the list. If the second payment isn't made on time, your slot will be released to the next person in line and your deposit will be refunded.

THANK YOU. I'm so excited for this!

Monday, January 1, 2018


Thank you everyone. 2017 was sick!

Chad Kestrels came down from Canada. It was AWESOME!!

2017 was quite a year. I feel like I did some of my best work in 2017 (that's good, right? I'm growing, learning, loving my job more and more!).  No question about it: I'm very fortunate to work with all of the bands I get to work.

I'm looking forward to 2018. I feel very confident in my equipment collection and like I'm in a really good groove. Last year was one killer project after another and I feel like I'm ready to move forward on that flow. I did a lot of unattended mixing with bands from Croatia, Australia, Boston, LA, NYC, and more. I always have a lot of fun doing that!

I'm booking 2018 right now and have availabilities as soon as January! If you have some last-minute needs, let me know. And if you're thinking long-term, it's never too soon to reach out.

Every month of 2017 was filled with great projects. I picked the ones where I spent the most amount of time working on. Here is one session from every month in 2017:

January: Dirt Devil tracking/mixing sessions- lots of fuzz.. beautiful songs.. one of my favorite records of 2017
Dirt Devil's sick pedals

February: Kindling - Hush recording sessions.. was lucky to be a part of this one. it was wonderful to see this band grow leaps and bounds.

the "clean" rig for Kindling "Hush"
March: Bunnies recording. sessions with this band are always mind-bending and lots of fun.

Bunnies rule. If you like this pic, you'll like their music!

April: Giraffes? Giraffes! recording! This was a difficult session. the music is a lot of fun to listen to, but to record it and help piece it together is an entirely different experience. I can't wait for it's release in 2018! It's so good!
Old vs New. G?G! guitar rig

May: Future Teens Mixing I love this band! this record is out!

June: Jeffery Foucault Mixing. Jeff is a long time client/friend. I think we've made recordings together for about 10 years no. This record is his best.
Magic vocal sound

July: Gary War mixing. I am beyond excited for this record's release. I think people are going to flip out, like i did while mixing it!!!!!

August: Body/Head recording - Bill and Kim made a record so incredibly different than their previous. Better in my opinion.
Bill n Kim dig some playback

September: Zak Trojano recording. I love Zak's music. his sessions are always among my favorite. This one was produced by David Goodrich and I'd say it was a perfect example of excellent teamwork.
Goody riding the faders

October: Late Bloomer - I loved making this record. sooo much. it's going to be a big one for 2018.
N.C. sweet dudes

November: Fucko - completely in love with this band. we're ALMOST done! fine-tuning on the mixes, mastering and that's it.

December: Wild Pink - this was a special recording that gave me chills, tears, etc.. it's got a big vibe and sounds beautiful. Their first full-length was well received.. and I adored that record. This one is absolutely the next level.

Altec working hard on lead vocals for the mix

And while we're talkin 2017 highlights, here are some new pieces of gear I got for sonelab:

Matamp GT120 clone by Hilbish Design and built by Jim Metz. This amp is loud but incredibly musical-sounding. It has quickly become a staple in my backline.

Scamp S-01 compressor/limiters. Scamp is a modular offshoot of ADR. The S-01 compressor is a fet compressor like the ADR Compex. I've been using it on drum buss, guitar tracking, and vocal tracking since I got my first pair. Now I have 4 of them and I am realizing I need more!

Warm Audio WA87 - these are Warm Audio's clones of classic Neumann u87s. They're great and while they don't perfectly do what an 87 does, they're just plain great microphones. I use them on all sorts of things! Drum overheads, acoustic guitar, bass cab, upright bass, background vocals, lead vocals.. they're great all-arounders.

Warms over head!

Daking Fet II compressor - these compressors are amazingly versatile with auto-release settings that include Compex, Neve 33609, Fairchild, plus extreme fast release settings that remind me of an 1176.

Magnatone m35 amplifier - this amp is massive and loud. It's solid state but the tone is perfectly clean without being sterile. It drives nicely, too. It has 2 15 speakers, two horns up top, and two ports in the middle.

Sans Amp rack unit - these old things rule. If you've got a guitar track that isn't quite rippin enough or bass that needs extra push in the chorus, this is THE box.

Deluxe Big Muff - the original deluxe big muff is a Soul Preacher compressor with an Op-Amp version of the Big Muff. It's probably the most affordable way to get your hands on an original Op-Amp big muff. It's AWESOME. the compressor is a little crazy-sounding but I can imagine using it for something. The fact that you can blend the fuzz with the clean/compressed tones is pretty cool. It'll be great for bass tracking!

Klon KTR - this is basically a Klon Centaur. I got rid of my Klon when I got this!

Steinway upright from 1903. I'd been on the hunt for one of these for years. I finally found one for an amazing price in great condition.

Bryston 4b power amp - total game-changer. I had been using an old NAD power amp for like 10 years. It was fine until it started showing signs of fatigue. I found a Bryston 4b for a great price and went ahead and grabbed it! I feel that my mixes improved pretty much instantly.

There's a lot more gear and many more projects to talk about! Drop me a line if you'd like to chat about gear, recording, or your projects. I'm here and I'm psyched!

PEACE and happy New Year!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring springin


Since my last post, I've been cranking out a lot of jams at Sonelab. I also did a session at Verdant Studio, some stuff and Bisquiteen, and a couple of sessions at Converse Rubber Tracks.

It's been loads of fun.. every project to come through has been incredible and I consider myself fortunate to be able to work with bands I really dig. In addition to the bands I've been working with, I've picked up some new gear and starting a new thing: Pedal of the Month! Each month in 2017, so far, I've bought one new pedal.

January: Crowther Hotcake. I've been wanting one of these for a while now. I really wanted the two-knob version and finally found one online for a VERY good price so I grabbed it. It rules! I think they were originally designed to go between a Fender guitar with single coil pickups and a Vox amp. It helps push the amp while leaving the tone in tact. It can go from being a very natural boost, to having some great bright highs and nice smooth mids. It was worth the wait!

Toetag Electronics treble boost pedal. This was up on their Insta page as a blemished item. It was very affordable and the exchange rate happened to work in my favor. It's made of all NOS components and housed in an amp-top enclosure just like an original Rangemaster. It sounds fantastic and can operate as a treble boost of full-range boost. Everything they make seems really cool and I'm excited to check out more of their stuff.

hard-wired output cable for authentic Rangemaster vibe.

March: Walrus Audio Jupiter Fuzz V1. Walrus just came out with V2 so they marked down their V1 edition. I first heard one over at Bisquiteen. Mascis got one, plugged it in and fiddled with it. I noticed it has insane amounts of low and excessive amounts of fuzz. It's got a very versatile tone switch which provides three different sounding fuzz tones and additionally has a tone knob. Amazing for HEAVY tones! Great for leads, too.

April: Boss Xtortion. This is probably one of Boss's biggest failures to date. It's a terribly harsh and gross distortion that's only rivaled by the Metal Zone. I remember having a friend in high school with one and what I remember about it was its EQ. It has a really interesting sweep that kind of sounds like a fixed wah. It's been great for reamping a part that needs to fit in a dense mix without being too loud. It actually kind of rules!

If you've got any cool pedal suggestions, please lay them on me! May is comin' up!

In other gear news:

I grabbed a pair of Warm Audio WA87 microphones. I've always found u87s to be useful but not a huge fan of the new ones and could never consider affording them, let alone the vintage ones! These are marketed as a relatively faithful recreation of a particular u87 vintage. They're smooth on top and clean and detailed on the low frequencies. Low frequencies aren't super-extended, but rather tight, which I really like. I've been loving them on overheads and guitar cabs. They can handle a decent amount of velocity and are definitely NOT harsh like many other 87 clones. I've used them for overheads, guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, and background vocals. I'm sure they'll be fantastic on toms and piano and probably lead vocals, as well. They're definitely solid utility mics.

The most profound gear upgrade I went for was a SCAMP rack/PSU and a pair of S01 compressor/limiters. These are based off one of my favorite compressors of all time. Unfortunately those compressors are very expensive now.  I've been using them for guitar tracking (holy shit.. think big star Radio City without question) and drum buss. They're also great for vocals, piano, and room mics.

I picked up some other stuff but those are the ones I'm most excited about. Here are some projects I've been digging on lately:

Amherst's Young Tricksters have been working with me at Sonelab for a year and a half. We're just about done with their forthcoming full length. This record is incredibly ambitious and I know I've spoken about it before but this time it's actually nearly done and is something for all of us to be proud of. And something ya'll will surely enjoy as well.

Hadley's Wydyde has finally finished their amazing new LP. It has been mastered and is awaiting release in some form. It's dynamic, loud, beautiful, crushing, and intense on many levels. It was recorded all live with full bleed, no isolation and the sound reflects that in the best way possible.

Kris Delmhorst's forthcoming LP is finished and mastered. It's a beautiful record. Her and Jeffery Foucalt collaborated on it and really did a wonderful job. We spent three days at Verdant last fall and recorded a ton of tunes. We took them back to sonelab for some repairs, overdubs, and mixing. The results are wonderful and will be heard soon.

Goddard is a band I'd been into for a while. When they asked me about studio time for their next full length, I was eager to get dates in the cal. What a session! One of the members was really fucking sick throughout the entire session and I felt really bad for him, but he managed to pull it together somehow.. I mean.. this guy was illin'! Vocals are underway and hopefully mixing this summer :) It's pretty aggressive-sounding and hard-hitting. Get psyched!

Jason's rig for Goddard basics.

Giraffes? Giraffes! came in to record their forthcoming full length. It was quite a trip to record. They're such an impressive band and the way we recorded this record was unique. We started by recording guitar loops into Pro Tools to a click track. We'd stack the loops all in a grid and arrange them accordingly per song. Then Ken would go in and play drums live over the pre-recorded loops. It was really amazing to see Joe spend 2-3 hours recording loops, and then have Ken go in and play drums in 1-4 takes with the occasional punch-in. It was beyond belief. The team work and the workflow was amazing.

double Oranges!!
17 mics on this kit.

Bunnies and I are in the midst of their next full-length. This record is dizzying and has been a unique challenge to work on. Every song flows into one another but we've been working on it in small pieces. When it all comes together in mastering will be the first time I hear it in proper sequence, which I'm excited for! We've used some of the coolest gear on this record, too! Ampeg V22 for guitar, Orange amps, Arp 2600 synth, Sequential circuits Prophet 5, Korg MonoPoly, and more!

Arp 2600
Bunnies kit!

Bulgaria's Brond send me tracks for mixing. They're really heavy rock that has some heavy moments, some proggy moments.. altogether it just rocks! We had a lot of fun mixing it via email and came out with really killer results! It helped that it was a really good record and was really well-recorded!

There's been a lot more but those are some projects that I randomly pulled out of my hat.

Here are some records I've worked on that are out now or will be out soon!

Suitcase Junket - Pile Driver
Wild Pink - s/t
Elder - Reflections of a Floating World out in June.

I'm actively booking this summer so if you want to start a new project or mix an old one, please reach out. I've been really enjoying mixing via email so if you have something you like and want some fresh ears on it, please reach out and I'll run you through the process of how I do remote mixing.

Thanks. PEACE.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

HNY 2017

Long time, no post.
There's been so many awesome sessions happening, I simply haven't had time to post! So here we go...

Since I last posted, I started a record with Boston's Vundabar. They're awesome! And they're touring a lot so look 'em up and go see them when they're in town. They have great dynamics and raw energy. Their songs are fierce and fun and their sound has bite and grit. None of those words mean anything so just go check them out. They rule. They've got a pretty good following and for good reason. We cut the record in 2 days and mixed it on the 3rd day. Since then we've met a couple of times to refine mixes and we're in a REALLY good place with them. It's a good'n! For the first time in my life, I added EQ to the mix buss. I'd always thought about it but never really wanted to mess with it. It just seemed so radical and best left to the mastering engineer. Vundabar wanted more presence out of the mixes and rather than adjusting EQ to every source, I decided to use my Universal Audio 509 passive EQs to the mix. I added 2 db of 10k and it was MAGIC!

Here it is! It sounds so good!

Around this time, southern CT's Death Black Birds came out to record their new full length. It's rock with a nod to the "alt-country" thing. Some of their songs remind me of the sweetest moments on Neil's Ragged Glory.. others are a bit darker. The song writing and playing is tops but still maintains a great vibe. They're another very dynamic band and singer Greg Moran's vocals range from whisper-quiet to loud, melodic yells. Each Death Black Birds session begins with a visit from Wood and Weather Drum Shop. They're great for drum repairs, sales, rentals, sessions, etc. All around high quality.

New Hampshire's Scuzzy Yeti came down to make their new record. It's great, heavy, riffy, rock. It's got a bit of an old school vibe to it but still heavy as f*ck! They play through LOUD 2x12 open-back combos, which is a really rad contrast to a lot of bands in their genre, who tend to play through closed back 4x12s. Amazing the difference, especially once you start stacking up guitar tracks! They just released to EP and it's absolutely worth picking up.

Scuzzy Yeti Overdub rig. All rhythm tracks were done with open-back cabs, some, not all leads with 4x12.

Kris Delmhorst had me come up with Verdant Studio in Vermont to record her forthcoming full length. We spent three days cutting basics and working through a large batch of songs. Jeffery Foucault is the producer and lead guitar player. Alex McCullough on pedal steel, Jeremy Moses Curtis on bass, and Bill Conway on drums. We had a great time at Verdant and have been hunkered down at Sonelab finishing mixes, overdubs, and edits. We might have done the very last session for this beautiful record tonight. Kris requested an RCA 44 for lead vocals and luckily, there was one for us to use at Verdant. I really loved the sound and am pretty sold on using ribbon microphones (44 in particular) for certain singers. It was a first for me. Very cool!

In the days leading up to Christmas, I worked about 70 hours straight with Elder. If you're not familiar with Elder, they're an amazing band who play heavy music on the more progressive side of things. They're one of the best in their genre and a band I've worked with since their second record. We finished their 4th full length at the end of 2016 and I must say, it was an amazing experience. They feel like family to me at the point because we've made so much music together and ALWAYS have an amazing time. Check out their record Lore and get psyched for their forthcoming record. It truly rips. The Obelisk dropped into Sonelab to visit Elder and check in on the sessions. Here's the article. It's extensive and very cool! Great studio shots!

We all agreed that this record needed more bass than Lore, so we used more amps.
There have been many more sessions between all of these but these ones each had unique significance so I figured I'd write about them. In the works are new records from Wydyde, Bunnies, Young Tricksters, Rysev, Bill Nace and Samara Lubelski, and many many more! Here's some gear stuff I'm currently psyched about:

I tested and wrote a review for Tape Op for the Hilbish Design Beta Preamp. This is more or less an exact clone of the Sunn Beta Preamp, commonly associated with King Buzzo's guitar sound. Check it here.

Here's a pic of the Hilbish Beta Preamp!

I picked up a pair of AEA's redesigned RPQ500 mic preamp. It's amazing with ribbons, condensers, and dynamic mics. It's clean but can be driven a bit. What I've noticed about them is since they're designed to couple with ribbon mics, they have loads of clean gain and tend to not color the microphone you're using. In the case of a Coles 4038, for example, I think that's an invaluable tool.

I also got the Warm Audio EQP-WA, which is essentially a clone of a Pultec EQP-1A. I've used the original Pultecs a fair amount over the years and I've always found them to be very useful tools when trying to sculpt a sound. Too harsh? Attenuate the highs, too wimpy? Crank the lows! Too boomy? Cut the lows. It's kind of a problem-solver EQ, though I used it as a sweetener on ALL of the guitar tracks on the Elder record, and was VERY happy with the results! It's always been nice to use for blown out drum mics. Heavy compression sounds FUN on drums, but when the cymbals start to get loud, it can start to get gross. Sometimes I'll put this EQ in before the compressor and attenuate high frequencies to avoid this problem. It's pretty fun.

Here's the EQP-WA and RPQs above it. Note the killer Symetrix comp below it (not kidding. it's cool!)

About two years ago, someone gave me an old Allison Research rack with 6 KEPEX gates and one Gain Brain. The other day, I was emailing with another engineer and he inspired me to plug into the Gain Brain. I've read about them for years but never bothered to patch into mine because I have so many compressors that I love. Well, the hype is real. These things rock. So far I've used it on lead vocals and guitar overdubs with great results.

Gain Brain on far right

Two gear things on my radar are:

Matamp GT120 clone made by Hilbish Design. It's currently being assembled by Jim Metz (local amp tech). It will be the loudest amp I own by far. Coming soon to Sonelab

ADR SCAMP S01 compressor pair. I just ordered these beauties. I'm hoping they'll be in the rack by next week. They're basically Compex compressors without the Gate/Expander. Absolutely psyched for these!!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer sessions about to start!

It's been way too long since my last update. With a full/awesome forthcoming summer, I thought I'd take this time to reflect on the past few months.

Life in and out of the studio has been busy as the seasons have changed and records start, finish, and get a release. It's the cycle, man!

Since my last update, I had just finished work on the most recent Parquet Courts LP, Human Performance. It's out now on Rough Trade and it's amazing. Two songs on the record were recorded at Wilco's Loft in Chicago, two from Sonelab, and the rest were the fruit of our two-week stay at Dreamland Studio. It's a fantastic record that I'm proud to have been a part of and very proud of the boys! They made a killer record!

The last workday at Dreamland ended and I left the studio as quickly as possible so I could get home, get a little rest, and get started on Dinosaur Jr's Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. I think I had about 12 hours off between the two sessions! It's another amazing record. Out of the four (4??!!) Dino Jr records I've engineered, I have to say, there's something special about this one. I think it sounds great. The whole band is dialed in, and I think the engineering/mixing situation kicked ass this time around. The songs are great and it's a tight record that you'll probly want to listen to a couple of times in a row!

Between Dinosaur Jr sessions I spent my time at Sonelab doing some more awesome stuff.
Some of our amps after a good cleaning.

Here's a nice clean pic of some of Sonelab's amps. We have more, just ask and I'll send a list.

I finished the Winterpills' latest offering: Love Songs. It's a beautifully written and recorded album if I say so myself. From the lyrics to the thunderous drum sounds Dave dials in, it goes deep and is as fun to listen now, as it was when we started recording it in November 2014! It's absolutely worth the $15 for the LP here! It took us about a year to make and was exciting and almost easy to work on all the time because the performances and the arrangements were so right and well suited to the songs, I didn't really need to fuss around with sounds much. It all fits and feels great :)

Mal Devisa's Kiid was recorded, mixed, mastered, and released in a matter of weeks. The range on this record is as intense as Mal Devisa's performances. There are songs with nothing but a single bass guitar and vocal. Others have drums, doubled bass, and stacked vocals. Some songs are crammed with tiny edits, gridded beats, and a hooky chorus while others are one live performance captured at Sonelab. It's up on bandcamp for free for who knows how long so listen to it!

Crazy reamp: vocal through Stylophone speaker, through tele pickup, through bassman, through Holy Grail, into the live room, recorded with a room mic at the opposite end of the room. Deja (Mal Devisa) requested some far-out verb on vocals. This was my interpretation of it. 

I just finished up an EP with Lou Barlow. It's not far off from Brace the Wave in terms of arrangements: Baritone Ukulele, Korg Synthe-Bass (which has become one of my alltime favorite instruments), and Lou's beautiful and huge layered melodies. I'm not sure when it comes out but it's another continuation in Lou's bountiful and always-satisfying catalog. It presented some challenges in the mix stage that I wasn't able to put my finger on, but when all was done, with a bit of space, Lou and I were both impressed with the results. It definitely usues Brace the Wave as a starting point and launches from there..

This thing sounds CRAZY cool!

NYC's Wild Pink came up for a week of recording, and a few days of mixing. This record floored me in ways I wasn't expecting. I heard the demos and their previous recordings. I heavily dug them but wasn't expecting things to come together the way they did. The songwriting is amazing and really drew me in, the band's sense of dynamics and supportive playing strengthens the material. I'm ecstatic for this release! Awesome fact about this record: most of the vocals are six takes layered together. It sounds beautiful!

Philly's Left and Right are truly one of my favorites. They came up and recorded/mixed their forthcoming LP. It's a monster. They completely upped the anti on this recording.. I think we all did! It's a great progression from their last record musically and sonically. This band has been touring hard and writing as time allowed. This record shows that it's becoming more second nature to them. I believe it'll be out this fall! Definitely one of the best records I worked on so far for 2016.

Last week I finished the forthcoming Suitcase Junket record with Matt. Somehow Matt has managed to build off of his incredible setup even more and add more tools, amps, instruments, and abilities to his roster. On the previous record we made together: Make Time, we recorded everything in an iso room at Sonelab. The idea was if we recorded in a smaller room, we'd have more control over each aspect of his setup. This time we decided we wanted to capture the large live room in the studio so we put Matt where I'd put a drummer. I put his guitar amps in the iso rooms I'd normally put guitars. We approached this kind of like a more traditional rock recording and I think in some ways, it comes off that way. It's still all Matt, all live, being the Suitcase Junket. If you haven't checked out this stuff, I'd highly recommend it!
Here's Matt's setup. It's hard to capture this all in a photo so go see him!
There are so many more sessions I want to write about: Young Tricksters, Violet Clark, Sneeze, Death Black Birds, Emerald Comets, Deluxx Folk Implosion, Nace/Corsano/Flaherty, and many more... these are all projects I'm extremely excited for.. but I'll have to fill you in later.

If you're interested in booking some time with me, please feel free to write. August has a few spots and September and beyond are all 100% open.. so drop me a line.. thanks!

Friday, November 13, 2015

fall update

hi everyone.

it's been way too long since i've made a post on this blog. it's mostly because i've been pretty busy: a good thing.

Lots of great projects have been happening at sonelab, but also, in other studios. Since my last post, a ton of projects I've been lucky enough to work on have come out. Here's a cool list of some of them. I should point out that these bands are 100% quality and I'd heartily stand by the music on these records!

Lou Barlow - Brace the Wave (Joyful Noise)
Parquet Courts - Monastic Living (Rough Trade)
Kindling - Galaxies (No Idea)
Ex-Breathers - Past Tense (Exploding in Sound/Hex)
Jake Meginsky - Vandals (Open Mouth Records)
Sweet John Bloom - Weird Prayer (Tiny Engines)
Destroy This Place - Animal Rites (Forge Again)
Dead Painters - Aluminum Gold (self)
Bedroom Rehab Corporation - Fortunate Some (Self)
Thee Arcadians - We've Come for Your Parents (Feeding Tube)

Most of your reading this blog have probably spent time with me in the studio. For those who haven't and are curious about what it's like, here's a little promo for Lou Barlow's newest record. It was made by Lou and Adam Harding. He's done some incredible work in video and in music. check him out!

Here's Lou's promo video, mostly filmed around Sonelab during the making of his new record. It's funny AND cool!

Here's a brief bit of news:

I spent the entire month of October working at other studios. It was nice to have a break from Sonelab! I felt fresh and ready to get back in there! The first half of the month was spent up in West Hurley, NY at a studio called Dreamland. It's been on top "top 5 studios to work at before you die" list (you all have one of those, right??), and so it happened, with NYC's Parquet Courts. We spend 14 days record their forthcoming full length. It was an amazing time. We had fun and made one hell of a record. Got pretty far out, too....
Here was my view at Dreamland. This API sounded amazing!
PC drums in the church
Some cool dudes, right here. Note andrew jammin in the background.
was nice to have 8 pultecs hangin around :)

The second half of the month was spent in western Mass at a different studio working on a different project. Now I'm pretty much back to working at Sonelab and I love it!!

December, January, and Feb all have some opening, but oddly, March does not. Please write me if you'd like to talk about your project, book a session, or just talk shop. Thanks!

Monday, February 9, 2015


another post for ya, here..

it's been a while so here we go..

I'd like to thank Jeremiah Hester for helping me with some blog stuff. He runs and Thanks J!

January and Feb of 2015 have been full of great releases that I'm proud and excited to have been involved in. Here's the list:

California X - Nights in the Dark (Don Giovanni)
And the Kids - Turn to Each Other (Signature Sounds)
Saffron Pistils - Too Cool to be Popular

In other news, Sonelab and I were discussed in a really nice article Pitchfork Media wrote about Western Massachusetts music. It covers a small portion of what we have to offer, and it's a good portion, too. There are tons of amazing bands in all genres here in w. Mass so if you liked what you read in that article, dig deeper knowing you'll find a lot more nuggets! Read it here!

Since my last note, I've started and finished a bunch of awesome projects. Sonelab also picked up some cool new gear, of course!

I'm really excited about my newest 500-series units. It's a pair of Helios pre/EQ. They've been amazing on guitars (acoustic and electric) and overheads. I've also been using them as part of my drum buss, which has been really cool !

The Helios pre/EQs are the ones in the center. Very cool pieces!

We (finally) got a pair of M-Audio Sputnik tube mics. They've been on my wishlist for years. They are budget-friendly large diaphragm tube condensers with three polar patterns and a -10 db pad. The general population of recording engineers seem to receive these microphones as an extremely good value. I've only used them on cymbals or drum overheads and I'd have to say they do a great job with both duties! I'm looking FWD to trying them on more sources but baby steps, you know? haa. Honestly, Mark and I are both addicted to using these for overheads. Until we get sick of them, experimentation has ceased.

Sky high M-Audio overheads. This was for a Dead Painters session.

Got more pedals: An original blue LED Fulltone OCD. I've wanted one for years and simply hadn't seen one for a reasonable price. So one popped up for a good deal and I grabbed it. It's definitely got a different sound. More lows and highs.. err.. less of a midrange crunch (ala Tube Screamer, which I dislike). A website was offering a 'too good to be true' deal on a Fender Classic Series Phaser so I grabbed one and it's actually pretty great for sweeping phaser sounds on guitar! I also decided that I should grab an old MXR Micro Amp. It's a late 70s revision and sounds very cool! It pairs nicely with the Rick bass below..

1974 Rickenbacker 4001 bass will be found at Sonelab now.

The Rick is amazing and really cool through the MXR Dist + and Traynor!

I also decided I wanted a cool vintage Vox, but that an AC30 would be far too expensive so I went ahead and grabbed a vox AC50! It's incredible! Very much the classic Vox sound.

Vox AC50 in all of its ripped-cloth glory. The sound is quite nice.

We also outfitted an old 2x12 with blown speakers. It pairs very nicely with the Vox!

These two speakers sound fantastic. A big improvement from two blown vintage 30s!

Last thing I got is a really cool old 12 string electric. It's been set up by Trevor Healy and has already been on sessions. It lives at Sonelab but is fun to bring home..

Nice setting for a nice guitar.
Of course, any piece of gear I'm posting about lives at Sonelab and is there for our clients' use. Sometimes bands want to branch out and sometimes they want nothing to do with their own gear. We like to keep good backline around for all sorts of reasons.

Boston's The Sun Lions came in for three days to bang out 6 tunes. They came in sharp as tacks and we completed tracking and mixing with flying colors. Definitely a great band! There sound reminds me of Marked Men at times, which I appreciate greatly! What was cool is they'd never heard of them before I mentioned it and now they're fans :-))

Connecticut's Oughts came in to record 6 tunes for their EP. Dig a song here. We spent two days on this batch of songs and it was way rad!

NYC's Pineapples have been in and out of Sonelab for the past two+ years. They cut a bunch of songs, finished them, and then wrote and recorded some more. We've been chipping away at it over the last 6 months and we're really closing in on the finish. This band has been playing together for a very long time and it shows in their chemistry. They manage to blend a lot of different sounds and parts into their arrangements. You'll hear punk (ala wipers), indie rock, heavy blues, and pop blended in a great way. Kevin's ever-expanding amp collection blows my mind, too!! Marshals, Fender, Carr, Hiwatt, etc..

Potty Mouth came in to record 6 songs, as well. What's with bands coming to record 6 songs lately? hahaa.. It was really cool! Our goal was to make things sound big, and we did! It was kind of difficult to not go overboard. I've always loved the charm of their fairly straight forward recordings so I didn't want to mess w/ that too much, but expand the sound a bit. I think we found that cool balance. They wanted me to help with that, but they also knew exactly what they wanted.. so it was a really cool team effort. Two of the songs will be on a 7" TBA and the rest for a future LP :)

Brooklyn's Dead Painters came in to track their forthcoming full length. We tracked 12 songs in 4 days and we begin mixing this week! It's great indie rock ! Moments remind me of Bunny's A Swine and others remind me of Grandaddy and others remind me of Bill Callahan/Smog ! Real cool bunch.

Easthampton Savings Band came in to track/mix two songs in a day. We did it and it was AWESOME. I'd never seen/checked out this band and I was kind of floored by them. The coolest thing (technically speaking) was the vocals: I had Jenna hold an SM57 and stand wherever she wanted and do her vocals live with the band. She ended up standing really close to the drummer. I kind of kept my fingers crossed that there wouldn't be too much bleed and that if there was, we'd deal with it accordingly. I used a quality mic preamp and compressor as if they were to be keeper vocals and it worked like a charm! I look fwd to deploying this technique with the next band that has a singer that's loud and AWESOME on every take!

Western Mass's Winterpills came in for a day of recording. We really had a blast. I was getting over a nasty headcold (which I did not pass on to the band), but it didn't seem to affect things. Setup took a long time because we had 5 people going for 100% keeper takes live. Two acoustic guitars, two vocals, an amplifier for one of the acoustic guitars, bass, electric guitar, and drums all live. Things sounded and felt AWESOME. Most of the Winterpill's recordings are done by Phillip, at his house, and labored over for a long time. The session we had at Sonelab was quite the opposite. It has a different sound but the songs still feel fantastic!

Last but not least: the new Sweet John Bloom recording fucking kills!!! I don't know when/how it's coming out but I know that it 100% definitely is in 2015!

So far 2015 has been ragingly good!

The year started out with a great four-day stretch with Bedroom Rehab Corporation. The band has definitely grown and evolved since our last session. Things have gotten swampier, darker, and heavier. This is a four-song EP that covers as much ground as any full length. I'm looking forward to its release so I can spin it on my turn table at home! Here's part of the recording rig:

Part of Adam's rig. We anded up running the Laney through the 2x15 and the Hovercraft through the 4x12.

Brooklyn's Charly Bliss came in for two weeks to record and mix their forthcoming full-length release. First of all, we had an amazing time working together, second we got really cool sounds, and third, we made an excellent record. If you haven't heard them yet, please check them out! 

The two amp/cab rigs used for the entire record. Very cool, indeed.

I'm pretty sure we used it all..

Kindling, a product of western mass, and five really nice people came in to record their forthcoming single. Three songs in about 7 minutes. Very big shoegaze guitars while the bass and drums chug along.. It was a pretty loud session and was a ton of fun to work on!! 

Jonathan's rig. Very loud!!

Stephen's rig: Blonde Bandmaster and two twins. Oof that's loud!

There a lot more happening, too. Some of it is top secret, and other things are in-progress and yet to begin. I'll fill you in next time. Thanks. Rock !

I'm in the middle of a really awesome two-month stretch but have some time available in March and April so if you're looking for some time or just wanna talk gear or something, drop me a line!