Thursday, December 22, 2011

New year, new beginings.

Hello everyone.

I write this just after sunset of the Winter Solstice of 2011 following a beautiful walk through the woods of Northampton. I'm looking forward to some rest with family and friends through the next week leading up to the New Year's celebration. Following that, I will dive head first into new projects at the new studio and beyond!

I'm really excited about the way things are turning out. The rooms sound fantastic without any sound treatment. The studio is more flexible than I ever could have imagined and every time I stand in the live room, I think to myself, "I have never stood in a studio this large before." It's really quite impressive. Imagine drawing a picture of a room. After many revisions, two years later you're standing inside that room. It's hard to describe but it's really an amazing thing.

I've made some rough mixes in my new control room and even in it's raw state, the mixes sounded fairly balanced and even. Once furniture and sound treatment move in, things will really even out.

Here's some pics from some of the goings on at the new studio..

Banditas - crammed into iso room 2!

Crazy Room! It really sounds CRAZY!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Been a while

Hey there, folks. Been a while since my last post. I suppose I've been busy in the studio and preparing the new studio for a move-in.

I've done some mixing and recording with Northampton's Big Nils. Set up the mobile rig in Kim's basement and tracked their new single. The band came out to my temporary mix room setup to mix with me and it is now complete!

I've also been spending some quality time with John Townsend on his new Bathysphere project. It's coming along, quite nicely. Lot's of amazing drum samples and a cavalcade of guitar and bass tracks - mind-bending, really!

Zebu's forthcoming surf record is now complete and awaiting the final touch (mastering) before being released to the masses!

Speaking of releases, Bunwinkie's new LP is out. It's titled "Map of our New Constellations" and can be had here. I highly recommend picking up a copy now, as it's really the perfect record to slip into yer winter hibernaculum with. We spent about a year and a half recording and mixing it. Dig it! The vinyl comes with a digital download and is on Feeding Tube Records.

Last week I received a packed containing a hard drive, containing the new Sweet Apple record. It's lacking drums and bass and that's just the reason I have it. This week J and I hit up Bisquiteen to begin drum tracking. Soon, Mr. Dave Sweetapple and I will track some Rickenbacker bass!

Now that the new studio construction is coming to a close, I'm actively booking part of December and part of January. To my surprise, I'm almost completely booked! This week the electricians begin their work. Hot on their heels are windows, doors, heat, floors.. Sounds like a lot but we've got a crew in the studio around the clock. The practice spaces are running at the same pace as well!

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed but this. In the best way possible, of course. This studio that Mark Miller and I designed is coming to fruition and it's looking even BETTER than it did on paper. I cannot wait till you all can step into this finished record facility!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Long time, no update..

Hi there faithful blog-readers.

I'm sorry that I haven't made an update in a long time- What can I say? I've been busy.

Since the last post things at the studio have REALLY started to take shape. Mark and I took a trip down to Ikea to buy some lighting, furniture, rugs, etc. All of our lighting has been purchased and ready for installation. The next two weeks will look like mudding, taping, priming, cleaning, doors/windows, electrical work, and then we start to move gear in.

It's looking like 12/1/11 is a solid move-in date for the practice spaces and the studio. I can't really describe the level of excitement I have. This project is something Mark and I have worked toward for the better part of a year now and it's finally coming to fruition. Anyone that I've brought through the space in the past weeks has been impressed. I'm very proud of that. We're building an amazing studio and many incredible recordings will be made there in the coming years.

Another very exciting thing to add is that I've already started booking sessions for December/January! I can't tell you how amazing this feels..

Here are a couple recent picture of the space.

A View of length of the live room. My control room on the left.

A peak at our wall situation. Lots of Quiet-Rock, insulation, soundboard, greenblue, air gap, and another insulated wall.

Standing in the widest part of our live room. Hard to tell in the picture but it's VERY wide.

This studio is so big that it's capable of recording an entire rock band plus horn section or chamber orchestra with total isolation OR all live in one room. Wowee!!

In other news, I've been pretty busy in the studio working on some great projects.

Trevor Healy, local luthier is in a band called Meridians. Years ago in San Francisco, Meridians committed their recording to tape with Tim Green at Louder Studios. Recently they asked me to mix this recording. We're currently in the middle of fine-tuning this beautiful batch of songs.

Big Nils, a Northampton 4-piece recently called me to track their upcoming single. I packed up my mobile rig and brought it down to their basement practice space, set up, and captured some sweet jams!

I spent 4 days at J Mascis's Bisquiteen to mix some tunes for a movie soundtrack J is working on and to record the score for a documentary about renown chanter Krishna Das. In this session, I was able to record a lot of cool things including tabla, harmonium, dotar, Mellotron, and tons of echoed-out guitar. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to mixing this next week.

Here are some pics from that..

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Studio build update!

Standing outside my control room looking towards Mark's control room.
Standing in the middle of the room, looking toward the back wall. My control room on the left, drum booth on the right. 

These pictures were taking about 4 days ago and show that the first set of walls are complete. That first wall is made of two layers of quiet rock, soundboard, Green Glue, and blown-in foam. If you look at the top pic, you'll see a metal stud on the ground. That is the stud for the second wall, which will be up by this Thursday.

Once that wall is up, the contractors move to our other space to start building the practice spaces. Meanwhile, we mop the floors, meet with the electrician, await all of our doors and windows and then start to wire this joint up!

Things have taken a little longer than we'd all hoped but the project is almost complete and it's absolutely breath-taking. We have approx. 1200 sq ft. of open playing space with an addition drum room (which is as big as some studio's live rooms!), and two dead iso rooms. Each of us has our own iso room build outside of our control rooms to allow for simultaneous recordings.

Rooms are starting to display their own sounds, too. Standing in the main live room, outside of my control room is very quiet and tight-sounding. As you walk toward Mark's room the sound starts to open up and fill the room up. We have so many options and such an amazing place to make records.

Mark and I will spend the next two weeks building clouds and diffusion panels, then we move in and start wiring.

Another exciting thing to announce is that we've already started to book sessions in this space. It's been difficult because we're trying to plan a lot but it's definitely the most exciting part of this whole process.. the reason we're doing it, in fact!

Stay tuned for info on our open-house!

AES 2011

Telefunken has my number..

The brighter side of transformers!

This past weekend I was able to make it to the 2011 AES convention in NYC. I was able to check out a bunch of new equipment from companies new and old and catch up with some folks I hadn't seen in a long time. Overall, a positive experience and I'll be going again, for sure!

One of my favorite new pieces of gear is Moog's new 500-series contribution, The Ladder. This piece actually surprised the hell out of me! It is way more useful than I would have guessed. It's basically an envelop filter that is dynamically triggered but frequency-adjustable. So for example, if I have a very boomy and "hummy" sounding floor tom track and I don't have time to cut out the extra crud in Pro Tools, I can patch this unit in and get rid of the rumble. Anytime the floor tom is actually being used, the envelope closes and it's back to the regular healthy floor tom. If my bottom snare track is being triggered by the bass drum hits, I can use this to minimize the buzz I'm getting from those bass drum hits and still get healthy fundamentals.

The rep also showed me how it could work on a thin or 'fizzy' distorted guitar track and WOW! I couldn't believe how it thickened that track up without the use of EQ, even.

I spent some quality time with the A-Designs Nail compressor and locked into some really fun sounds. It has a lot of options but my favorite was a pretty straight forward full-band compression. It went from smooth to pumping/breathing fun!

Latch Lake's microphone stands looked quite nice! They had very few moving parts and were very sturdy! I've been eyeing Atlas stands lately but these seem very trustworthy and the price is right!

Lindell is a company I'd heard of but didn't know much about. I noticed them because I wanted to check out some of the Golden Age Audio products. Let's just say that Lindell won! It's a totally different type of product. More high-end. A higher quality build. The 17x compressor just sounded awesome. It almost reminded me of an 1176 at it's nastiest with the attack/release quickness of a Compex. Lot's fun.

There were lots of pieces I wanted to check out but didn't have the time due to big crowds and long lines.. but my guess is that I didn't miss much.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All Day, Alright.

I've mentioned Bunny's A Swine here before. It's fairly obvious that I really love this band. I was a fan before I got to work with them and now that we've done two releases together, seeing their evolution, I feel extremely lucky.

Yesterday was the official release date for their second full length "All Day, Alright" on Candace's new and excellent Tiny Radars record label. We recorded the basics at Q Division and overdubbed/mixed at my old space in Eastworks. I think it sounds really great and to listen to the actual record is where it shines!

Bunny's A Swine will be celebrating the release of this record tomorrow night at the Sierra Grill with more excellent bands..

Graph - This trio is one of the area's finest and you should definitely check them out, if you haven't already. If you have seen them, then I suggest checking in! They just released a 7" on Tiny Radars. Side A was recorded/mixed by me and Side B was mixed by me!

Quilty - This is a band I know very little about. I visited their blog when I saw them on the bill and was floored. From the songs on their blog, I can only assume their live show will deliver. Word has it that one of the members has relocated from NYC to Northampton. I guess that means we'll be seeing more Quilty around here. YAY!

Support local bands, venues, and record labels on Thursday night at the Sierra Grill!


Thursday, October 13, 2011


Here is a link to Neil Young's documentary short of Fat Worm of Error's trip to Bank Row Recording. It documents the making of their "Broods" LP. I know a lot of you have seen it but it's worth a second watch.

He really captured the vibe, here. Dig it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ok Midnight, You Win.

The Happy Jawbone Family Band and I spent part of winter/spring 2011 working on their new record: OK Midnight, You Win. Ted Lee (Feeding Tube) emailed me last November about recording this Brattleboro quintet at the "Festival Organ Space" in Easthampton. I was completely confused by this request, having no idea where or what the Festival Organ was. Turns out it was Ted's (along with Sunburned Hand of the Man and Fat Worm of Error) practice space.

I put together a input/gear list, loaded up my car, and set up shop for two days in bitter-cold early January for a nice basics session. Once the basics were cut, the vocals were down, and all of the primary instruments were taken care of, I moved the session over to my temporary space at Eastworks. Luke (singer, songwriter, guitarist) and I began recording all of the crazy stuff: violin, trumpet, organ, percussion, etc. In March we mixed, and by April, the record was mastered by Carl Saff.

Today is the official release date for this record and is being celebrated with a great lineup of bands at Feeding Tube Records in Northampton, MA.

I was able to work on many great records in 2011 and OK Midnight, You Win is one that I keep listening to!

The show starts at 10 pm and will no doubt be a great night! If you can't make it out, buy the records here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Moving out and moving on.

Hello blog-followers.

The past five days have been very eventful. It started on Thursday when I began a three day session with Last Builders of Empire. This band from eastern mass plays a very dynamic brand of post rock. The tracks were recorded by Elio Deluca at Medford, MA's Soul Shop. I loaded up and dialed in on Thursday and we spend Friday and Saturday combing through the songs and fine-tuning them.

I decided that mixing these songs OTB (out of the box) was the best plan so I fired up the racks and started patching. I kept all of the faders at unity and used Pro Tools to set levels. All of the automation was done in Pro Tools so recall isn't entirely impossible. It was really nice to keep this record analog-minded through the mixing process. We definitely had some fun with compression, fuzz, and of course, the Memory Man!

The record sounds fantastic and the band is going to get it out there as soon as possible (mastering session is booked). As soon as the last mix was printed, the CDs were burned, and the band was safely on their was back east, I began the moving process. I am officially moved out of my space at Eastworks, where I set up to mix, track, and overdub for the past 8 months. I brought my console, tape machine, and patchbay to the new space where it will be stored till it's time to move in. All of the rest of my gear is at home for cleaning, repairing, and prepping for the big move.

In the meantime I'm setup for mixing at my house. If anyone out there needs any mixing services, please reach out. I'm available here and for hire in the studio of your choosing.

Mark Miller met me at the new space while moving in on Sunday. We took a coupla pics of us and the new space..

Standing in the live room, which is really starting to take shape! Iso rooms and drum room on the right.

Mark and I on the lift!
A shot from inside my new control room. Two more walls are to be added and buttoned up. Very exciting!
Standing inside my iso room. Very excited about this glass brick!

Every time I've come to the new space in the past two weeks, it's changed drastically. Things are taking shape and I can't tell you how excited I am to get in and start cutting basics. If anyone wants a tour during construction, I'm happy to meet you down there and show you around the studios and practice spaces.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dead Roots Stirring

Last summer, Clay Neely from Black Coffee Sound called me and asked if I'd be interested in mixing some new recordings by Elder that he'd been working on. I was thrilled and excited to take on the task so we went for it!

The mixing went very smoothly and we had a great time working on it together. When I asked Nick DiSalvo (guitar/vocals/sometimes drums) what he planned to do with the release, he told me he was going to Germany for about a year. A year passed and the most-excellent Meteor City Records has decided to release this effort.

It's an amazing record.. Six songs that range from very heavy riffs to fantastic prog jams.

A vinyl release is in the works..

You can order the CD here. It's on sale for a limited time so do it now!

Side note: There is a totally free Meteor City Records sampler - 20 tracks. DO IT!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Last week in the studio..

Worcester's Golden Girls has officially finished their forthcoming full length. The 4 piece plays some fairly straight-forward rock with elements of heavy blues, punk rock, and hardcore. We grouped together at Black Coffee Sound over the past 6 months to cut the tracks, while mixing them at my studio in Eastworks. Last week we mixed the final 5 tunes!

A few months back Zak Trojano contacted me to record his first solo effort. He is a member of Rusty Belle and drummer for Jeffrey Foucault, Chris Smither, and many more. Having worked Zak once before with Rusty Belle, I knew we'd be making a quality record-and that we did!

For this one, I dusted off the old 16 track and prepped for three fine days of tracking on tape. Zak assembled a fine crew consisting of Kris Delmhorst, Nathan Hobbes, and David "Goody" Goodrich. We cut the record in 3 days, transferred the reels to Pro Tools and brought it over to J Mascis's Bisquiteen studio for one day of mixing. We pulled it off and sent it out to Alex McCullough at Yes Master for the finishing touch. I just got word that the mastering is approved and that it will be pressed very soon! This record came out wonderfully and I highly recommend it. Pre-order your copy here.

Here's a shot of the studio just before the band arrived and we started tracking:

This week also consisted of some fairly heavy tech-work at Bisquiteen. J decided he wanted to get the Apple Trackpad, which required an OS upgrade. One thing led to another and J decided he wanted to go ahead and upgrade to Pro Tools 9. So while I was there loading in new software and making all of the upgrades, I decided to modify our current patchbay system. Currently the patchbay is labeled according to the make/model of each piece of equipment wired to the patchbay. We've decided that this cluttered and confusing system must go and have decided to use a number/letter grid system.

In other news, the new recording studio is shaping up very nicely! All of the framing and first layer of drywall is complete in the recording studio. The drum room and two main iso rooms are up and look fantastic. The insulation is being added and the next steps are a second layer of quietrock, greenglue, and a third layer. We're aiming for a late October opening, of sorts. The practice spaces will begin very soon and should be ready around the same time.

Here is a look at the drum room and two main iso rooms:

Here is the length of the live room with the drum room and iso rooms in view:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Studio

When Bank Row Recording closed, I quickly began my search for a new home. I finally got in touch with Mark Miller (Slaughterhouse Recording Studio) only to find out that he and I were in a similar situation. We decided to join forces and build an incredible new recording studio/music complex in Easthampton, MA. There are two sections to our complex: the recording studios and the practice spaces.

Recording studios: Mark and I realized very quickly that we needed our own control rooms. We have unique collections of equipment and use different techniques to get the results we want. We've put extra thought and care into the soundproofing of our studio to insure that sound transmission will not be an issue. The studios will encompass approximately 3,000 square feet and include a lounge, flex room, storage, two control rooms, many iso rooms, a drum room, and an enormous live room.

Practice spaces: Mark and I both saw the need for a music rehearsal complex in the Pioneer Valley so we decided to use some of the space available to build 10 spaces. Each space will be about 20'x17' and will be walled with quietrok to add a bit of soundproofing. These spaces will be on the ground floor, down the hall from the recording studios. The access will be 24 hours, 7 days a week and will include key-card entry into the main complex and heavy duty locks/doors to each individual room. The spaces are centrally located off the bike path in Easthampton and will be safe/secure. We've managed to drum up quite an interest in these spaces already, and only have a few left. If you're interested, please reach out.

We're hoping to move in early October and start recording half way through the month! The construction of the practice spaces is on the heels of the studios. Stay tuned for updates.

Here are some pictures of our progress in the recording studios:

Standing in Mark's control room: the full length of the live room.

Standing in the live room: looking at the front wall of my control room.

Standing in the future drum room: looking at the entrance to one of my (2) iso rooms.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bunny's A Swine test pressing is in!

Bunny's A Swine is a band from Northampton, MA. They are Candace/gtr vocals, Emerson/gtr vocals, and Dustin/drums vocals. We met via the Happy Valley Showdown two years ago and as winners, they earned a free day recording with me at Bank Row Recording (RIP). We bonded, had fun, and made Literal Breakfast - their most-excellent EP! They're one of my favorite bands around and I'm very excited for their new record.

Today I was able to spin the test pressing of their forthcoming full length, recorded and mixed by yours truly. It was a pleasure to work on, and hearing it back on wax was quite a reward!

Recorded - Q Division/Eastworks space
Mixed - Eastworks space
Mastered by Carl Saff.
Lacquer cut by Lucky.
Pressing at URP.

Get psyched on this one!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mixing with The Snakes!

NYC's Snakes came up to Amherst to record at Bisquiteen back in May and I spent the last two days mixing some of these recordings.

The band couldn't attend so I mixed ITB (in the box). We got pretty gnarley sounds at Bisq., plus we had a fairly low track count. These factors definitely made ITB quite alright!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Hello and welcome to my blog. I plan to use this space as a way to keep you readers informed of some of the more interesting (hopefully) parts of my day-to-day life as a recording engineer, musician, and lover of music. I've never "blogged" before so bear with me as this process evolves. I also plan on keeping this page updated with construction progress of the new recording studio that Mark Miller and I are opening together this fall. Dig it.. if you will.

On Friday 9/9/11, the wonderful Kim Gordon and I had a session. She came armed with a small mono tape recorder, loaded with a cassette containing about 15 minutes of solo vocals and 20 minutes of live basement jams (John Moloney, Bill Nace, Kim Gordon). The goal of the session was to choose the coolest jams and to give the recording a stereo image. We tried a few different things but nothing was giving the depth that we were looking for so, of course, we decided to try the Memory Man. No surprise, there. It sounded just right.

Tonight, I ran into Bill Nace over at Feeding Tube Records. He handed me a copy of "Fever", a compilation put together by Dennis Tyfus. It's a collection of artists covering "Fever." This past spring Bill, Kim, and I mixed their contribution to this record. Their band is called BODY/HEAD and are the first track on the record. Order yer copy here.

In case you're not familiar with Feeding Tube Records, it's a fantastic record store/label located on King Street in Northampton, MA. They are a large part of the local music community as well as a client of mine. They are planning on having these sweet T's available, too!

Shelby totally digs it!