Miles Away - Drum tracking / Beer Spilling / Pizza Craving / Disco Dancing

Getting Started

Originally Posted by shollwedel View Post
I’m pretty new to all of this, but you’re basically my idol when it comes to recording. You consistently put out quality records, and I know that you just recently moved into a real studio but for a while were working from a basement. How did you manage to do all the recording in one room with minimal treatment and still have everything sounds so great? 
Also, how did you train your ears to know to look for whatever quality it is that you look for?

Well thank you, that’s very kind of you to say! A basement just like any other place, is still just a place. It has it’s own sound and depending on the basement that sound will vary just like anywhere. I did do some light acoustic treatment when I was working out of a basement that I think helped? Honestly back then I was coming more from a place of experimentation than I was knowledge.

As far as putting out records that people liked so early on, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I had already been in bands for 10 years when I started recording. At that point I had already personally recorded with very solid engineers and had some familiarity with the recording process by doing so. My aspirations of just wanting to be a “band guy” left me with a nice foundation for being the type of engineer that knows what other “band guys” are looking for out of their records, because likely it’s what I was looking for as well haha. 

I also come from a back ground with computers and video games which helped me acclimate to working in a DAW pretty much instantly. I used to be obsessed with the music creator in the game “Mario Paint” for Super Nintendo, little did I know composing and recording with a computer would be turn into and entire career. 

(click this link to see Mario Paint)

No matter what you will develop a sound of your own, you won’t be able to help but do it because everything is filtering through your ears, your influences, and your specific experimentation. That is provided you are a passionate hard worker that doesn’t mind 70 hour weeks for the rest of your life (not joking). It’s not having the answers that is the frustrating part at first, but until you have made all the mistakes the “answers” won’t have value or weight yet. You don’t want someone to tell you the HOWS, it’s all about the WHYS. When you get to the root of things you learn “why” you would do something a certain way, this makes for a much more flexible and fun way to record (or do anything probably). The only piece of “magic gear” is between your ears.

Cheesy ending to my rant time,

It doesn’t feel like work if you really love it. Two mediocre movies that had an unexpected effect on my life were “Field of Dreams” and “Yes Man”.

If you build it they will come, and when the come, say yes.

Foreign Tongues - “Wishing Well”

New Native Wildlife Video is rad. Mastering by yours truly. 

PunkNews: We’ve happy to premiere (most of a) brand new song from No Trigger's upcoming album, Tycoon. The record is due out February 21, 2012 and is their first since 2006’s Canyoneer.

The new song accompanies a teaser video with footage from recording and other band-related shenanigans.

Have Heart Live: behind the scenes of the final show release

Someone on GearSlutz recently asked me how I recorded Have Heart’s live show, so I thought I would include my response here.

Have Heart Live was nothing short of a giant cluster fuck. The sound people did NOT want to deal with me.  We knew the show was going to be pure madness, so getting near the band was pretty much not going to happen.  

I had to hang out near the front of house board, but they didn’t have any way to split me off the mic signal before it hit the board. I got something after the gain adjustments, but before his effects. The tricky part was when the FoH engineer wanted to pull something down or push something up in the live mix – it affected my signal, too, so I had to monitor like a madman.

Another problem? It was Have Heart’s last show. Complete carnage. So on top of all the other difficulties, there were a couple hundred kids on stage, pushing mics over and causing, what we will call, a “less than ideal recording situation.”

Anyway, I took it back to the studio and started digging in.  As I suspected, it was a mess.  Even though the crowd was crazy loud in that room, I still didn’t have enough of it.  Pat, god love him, didn’t sing into the mic that much. It would have been fine for the DVD because you’d be able to see him pointing it out into the crowd but for the vinyl? Not going to cut it.

Bridge 9 toyed with the idea of having Pat come back into the studio to fill things in, but I pushed against the idea because it is, after all, a live record. I think it was about that moment in time, vocals or no vocals.  It would be weird for the vinyl to have vocals in spots where you could clearly see he wasn’t singing on the DVD, never mind the impossible task of trying to “tone / vibe” match.

What we were able to get our hands on, however, were audio rips of some people who had been filming the show.  I had to be really careful with phase and exactly where I lined these up with my original recording.  I did some high and low passing to help tuck these into mix better.  This REALLY helped crowd volume and gave the whole thing a more three-dimensional feel.

With a live recording, some of your usual “go-to” techniques are going to fall flat on their face because of the excessive amount of bleed and phase problems you’re going to have.  The trick is to be smart and conservative.  There is a good chance your guitars are going to have a ton of cymbal and vocal in them, EVERYTHING is going to have a crazy amount of sub-bass, and your vocals will be inconsistently sung into a painfully beat up old sm58 or something.

It’s not about completely eliminating these elements though — you just want to sort of massage them together, bringing the better elements forward a little bit more than you normally would. The elements that hurt will get pushed back a little further as well.   

My FATSO and my dbx162 both made an appearance. They are both adept at taking off that “digital” edge, if you will.  The transformer in the FATSO was crucial for rounding off that crazy sub-bass in a real musical way.

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This is my wife’s blog.

During a recent, let’s say, heated discussion, the phrase, “your life is perfect,” was thrown at me.

As in: shut up, you have no right to be upset with me because my life is not perfect and yours is.

Out of the whole argument, this is one moment is what really stood out to me. Because my…

Getaway Recording: How I got started and where I’m heading

The first time I really recorded, I was 19-year-old and playing in a Boston-based band called Pictures of Gabriel. We went to God City to record with Kurt Ballou [Converge]. Back then, God City was in Norwood, MA in the back of an industrial complex. Over all, it was a great experience, but when all was said and done, what really stood out was how cool the process was. Over the next few years I went back and recorded with Kurt several times, taking mental notes and getting that same feeling during each and every session.

I was at Guitar Center in late 2003 and, on a whim, I picked up a four-input interface made by Echo called, “Mona.” The idea was that I could record some demos for my band to help us write. Little did I know that within just a couple weeks I would be totally hooked, spending whatever money I could get on new microphones, cables and the millions of other little things you need when you first start recording. Within a month I started recording demos for my friends’ bands and a year and a half later I was able to leave my IT job to pursue a full time career in recording.

I actually did a ton of hip hop at first. I was relatively unproven at the time, so it wasn’t always easy for me to book long sessions, but there were a ton of guys who just wanted to book three or four hours to rap after they got out of work. That’s what kept me afloat at first. Over time, I’ve been able to get my foot in the door of the Boston hardcore scene, starting with the Hammer Bros, which lead to Shipwreck, Soul Control, Verse, Cruel Hand, and Bane.

I’ve always put what is right for each record ahead of everything else. I figured that as long as I put out the best sounding records I could, without worrying about time constraints or money, the rest would come later. When you’re trying to stand out against thousands of others doing the same thing you are, it’s important to put the needs of your clients first and to try to match your vision to theirs. That’s what I did and that’s what I still do today. I try to use my experience as a vessel, getting me to the destination in the musician’s head.

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse at the past, I would like to offer you a glimpse of the present and future. I’ve built a new website, which will help you listen to the artists I’ve recorded, keep up with my latest projects or book time to work on your own project — whether you are on your PC, smartphone or tablet. In the coming months, with any luck, I’ll be building a brand new studio.

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Citizen posted their album Young States on Band Camp today. Check it out.

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Here’s a little “studio update” video from Counterparts. We’re finishing up guitars and moving onto vocals. This record is going to sound amazing.

Their unreleased song, (You Think You’re) John Fucking Locke, will be released on the Labor Day sampler from Victory Records. 

Let the screaming commence…