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!