At work in the new studio
It has been a dream getting the studio up and running and getting to work. We christened the space in June with a session with Grand Kid, the project of Dan Kleederman, guitarist for Julia Anrather, bassist for Zenizen, formerly of Throw Vision. We also had a three-camera film crew on the session, so Dan could make a live video EP out of it. Dan and his band (Chris Connors on bass, Alex Goldberg on drums) slayed. We got killer drum sounds, and I can't wait for them to share the footage.
We have also been working hard at the Julia Anrather record. We have 3 songs in the can, having tracked tons of guitars, bass, synths, vocals, & programming up at the studio this month.
Very excited that Tiff Ortiz has released the first track of a record that we recorded last year at Seaside Lounge. It's really great material, which we had a blast recording. Chris Connors produced, and also played bass. Jake St. John played drums and MAN did he play them.
Starting to book up the Fall at the studio, and can't wait to keep figuring this place out.
2017 comes to a close / Bandcamp Top 20!
So much to be thankful for over this last year. The Tica Douglas record finished the year strong, earning the #11 spot on Bandcamp's top records of 2017. Bandcamp has been such an amazing champion of the music. They really got it from day one. Tica having released so much early music via Bandcamp made it especially meaningful. It was bonus cool that our friend L'Rain, whose record was made with my pal Andrew Lappin, was just a couple spots away (#9) on the list!
After slowing down over the holiday season followed by a brutal cold spell, we are finally nearing the final stages of construction! We are on the verge of insulating and sealing things up, so I can get to work on the booth & wiring. Should be operational by May!
Work is happening on the Julia Anrather record. We've got 5 tracks nearing completion that are solid fire. Feeling so good about Julia's new writing and the work we're putting in to add the right production. Trying to make something that reflects Julia's process and unique spirit, and gathering inspiration from all kinds of places. Can't wait to start showing things.
Our record is basically done and I'm v excited to release it soon. Sam and I just can't stop tinkering.
Construction has begun on my studio in New Paltz. It has been a long, complex experience getting all of my designs together and OK'd with the town and pouring a concrete foundation, but alas, sticks are finally in the air! We're working with a friend of the family, Niels Vestergaard, a very capable builder from Kerhonkson via Denmark, and his song Jakob to make the structure a reality.
The basic concept for the studio is to bridge the gap between a project studio and a full tracking studio. The layout of the 800 square foot structure is mostly an open floor plan. The main live room area will be roughly 20x16, with 9 ft walls sloping up to a 16-ft gabled ceiling. Can't wait to hear drums and pianos from those rafters. There's also going to be a 10x8 booth along the side of the tracking area, with abundant sight-lines into the room. It's big enough for a tight drum kit, or a bank of guitar amps. There's also a 5x8 closet/iso chamber next to it which will have through-lines wired into the booth. The idea is that a four piece band can comfortably track with total isolation. More if we get creative.
Right now the plan is to have the control room continuous with the live room, but the goal is to eventually drop a wall down from the loft we're building above the control room area, to box it in. Either way, it'll be a 12x16 area with a 10 ft ceiling.
The main focus we've taken in our planning (in addition to minimizing right angles and crafting a functional, flowing modular studio) is making sure that the studio is a really nice place to be. The structure abuts our modest (but very refreshing) saltwater pool, and we plan to rig up speakers outside, so we can listen to mixes from the water. There are french doors leading out to the pool that let tons of light into the booth window. The main wall across from the booth (left) is full of big, bright windows. The only wall that I left mostly blank, for treatment purposes, was behind the desk.
I'll continue to post more photos & thoughts as we get into wiring and sound-proofing the interior!
SUMMER 2017 / FALL 2017
OCEAN MUSIC: I spent the summer doing a lot of tracking for Ocean Music's latest full length record. Ocean Music is helmed by Richard Aufrightig, who also plays solo as Field Poet and is an incredible songwriter whom I've respected for a long time. The band has been playing out a ton and sound great together. We went up to The Building in Marlboro NY and did a week of all-live tracking. And then brought back a very alive, very vibey record to put the finishing touches on in the city. D. James Godwin (LZNDRF, Bob Weir) is doing the mix.
SOUND MIXING: Had the chance to mix a couple of great short films this season, including Noah Hutton's "Random Legal Move" (feat. Devika Bhise and Arliss Howard), which is part of a film project by the Imagine Science Films. They gave 7 film-makers budgets to make films following certain parameters. Noah made a compelling thriller about AI. The mix was a really dynamic one, driven by a pulsing, dramatic score that Noah composed and performed. I also mixed a short directed by Luke Slattery, featuring Bradley Michael Hall (The Mayor). It's kind of a short epic about a man charged with a divine purpose. It's full of great actors.
TOKYO DRIFTWOOD: Sam McDougle and I wrapped tracking on our debut full-length as "Tokyo Driftwood". We recorded 9 songs upstate in our house in New Paltz. We set up drums underneath the stairs, and recorded guitar amps in the furnace room. We memorably had a weekend with AirBnB guests staying upstairs, who got to be serenaded by Sam laying down violin parts. Finally getting down to mixing it this Fall. Looking forward to being mastered by Thanksgiving.
TICA DOUGLAS/NUTSHELL/TIFF ORTIZ/FABRIS: Amazing run of press for Tica Douglas' "Our Lady Star Of The Sea" -- Interviews on MTV, Bandcamp, IMPOSE. I got to spend this season in the studio with some incredible artists, including doing full-band tracking for Nutshell, who's recording an EP and full-band tracking for Tiff Ortiz, who's also doing an EP. Also got started tracking a full length for Julia Anrather (Fabris). All were recorded at Seaside Lounge.
This month (January), Tica Douglas' first single, "The Same Thing" was released. It's the first single off of "Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us", Tica's debut on Team Love Records (available now for preorder on Vinyl & cassette!). Tica and I made this record together over a string of long, deep sessions this summer, in various locations in upstate New York and in Brooklyn. The record was the first time we took a crack at producing tracks with layers of guitars and vocals and all sorts of complex arrangements, while maintaining Tica's beloved, intimate sound. Tica and I had done both of their first two records together in a lot more of a whirlwind fashion, and we thought these songs wanted to be a part of a record with a different vibe. As a result, I think Tica's musical voice really shines on this one. Jonny Schenke mixed and mastered the record, and brought out both the raw immediacy we were going for, but also added some flourishes to existing arrangements. It's a thrill that it's coming out on Team Love Records, a label I've been a big fan of since they put out The Felice Brothers' debut record. A couple of more singles are gonna be dropping, with the record coming out in May!