First of all, fast food isn’t healthy. Big whoop. You already knew that, and if you didn’t, well, you’ve got some studying to do. I’m not defending fast food here, so send the angry emails somewhere else. I’m at a healthy weight, good BMI, my blood pressure is great and I get plenty of cardio. Therefore, I am allowed to eat fast food when I feel like it.
Moving on, I’m a big believer in trying new things. Fancy new marketing promotions are often quite effective on me. You have a delicious new product that I haven’t heard of before? Great, sign me up, I’d love to have it! Except, recently I’ve been noticing a trend. Instead of a twist on an old favorite, or a fancy new sauce or inclusion of some gourmet variation I’ve been seeing what I suppose is the lowest common fast food denominator.
The all new burger with more cheese, more bacon and this time they put, wait for it, RANCH DRESSING on it! How creative, I’m sure our taste buds don’t know what they’re missing… Just when you thought Wendy’s had run out of ideas, they put 4 times the beef and 4 times the bacon on their bacon cheeseburger. Sounds tasty right? Eh, not so much. Even Krystal tried putting ranch on their “Chiks” to add variety.
It seems all the fast food joints think they can just add bacon and slather on ranch dressing and you’ll come dining in droves. I for one am sick of it. There’s a whole culinary universe out there to be explored. So many sauces that could be used in place of ranch dressing. So many toppings other than bacon & cheese. You’ll see mushrooms from time to time, but do you really trust a fast food joint to serve you decent mushrooms? How about a chicken sandwich made with olive oil & rosemary. Perhaps a burger with aioli sauce and sauteed onions or zucchini?
There have been a few great ideas, and they’ve all been removed from the menu in favor of the sandwich with more meat, bacon, cheese and ranch dressing. Some of you may not be old enough to remember Wendy’s “French Onion Grill”. It was the best sandwich ever to be served by the chain. It didn’t have bacon or ranch dressing on it. It was just a delicious grilled chicken breast topped with sauteed onions and cheese. I used to go in there with my best friend every week. Then they cancelled it and we stopped. Eventually they came out with a sandwich that had a tangy ‘mid-western’ type sauce, the wild-mountain something-or-other. It was great, but alas they cancelled that too so I stopped going. Now it’s a steady stream of “all new” bacon and ranch slathered junk, so I don’t bother with Wendy’s much.
Arby’s came out with a gyro, complete with tzatziki sauce, and the combo was only $5. Never-mind the fact that the meat was that fake stuff that is somehow legally allowed to be called “beef”, it was the only menu item I was interested in. I went in there once a week while they had it, but then they got rid of it. Eventually they released the Angus cold cut, a decent sub sandwich with lettuce, onion, tomato and yellow peppers. Someone must have decided they had too many semi-healthy items on their menu, because at this time you can only get that Angus sandwich with 3-cheeses and bacon, or Philly cheese-steak style. They cancelled the only one I had been ordering.
I’ve just returned from Hardees where they used to have cheese fries. If you want a mediocre hamburger with calories hidden in every nook and cranny (most places butter the buns these days, don’t you always add butter to your buns when you grill hamburgers?) there are plenty of choices. But if you want some delicious cheese fries then your options are limited. The kind woman behind the cash register informs me they’ve gotten rid of the cheese used to make the cheese fries. So I know have zero reason to ever return to a Hardees.
Why bother coming out with new products if you’re simply going to cancel them after you win over new customers? If you think that luring me in with something yummy and then cancelling it will result in the ordering of regular menu items I have a bridge in NY I’d like to sell you. The good-will you fostered turns into bad blood after you remove the only thing that’s been getting me into your restaurant. Perhaps I’m just a sucker, I’ve been known to be incredibly trusting (read: gullible).
A few pieces of advice to the fast food world at large. Start coming up with creative culinary offerings. Bacon and ranch may work in the short term, but you could be doing so much more – delight us with your chef’s imaginative creations, check out a cook book and learn about all the numerous sauces and vegetables than can be incorporated into sandwiches. If you come up with something great and it’s a hit, don’t remove it from your menu, keep it around. Most of us never voice our outrage over this stuff, because let’s face it, what kind of idiot has the time to write blogs about a lack of decent fast food choices? If you get rid of the one thing that someone came to your business for, most will just simply go elsewhere without a second thought.
When I was younger I had trouble sleeping, I’m still very easily awoken. As a result I spent a good bit of time researching sleep; ways to fall asleep more easily and eventually things like dream recall and lucid dreaming. It may sound cheesy, but the dream journal is the best way to enhance the recollection of your dreams. Be warned though, there are some incredibly scary things being mulled over by your subconscious mind from time to time; drifting in an endless sea of dead fish, arriving at the end of time, having a dead body in your house and other such fun filled scenarios.
Anyway, this particular nightmare isn’t exactly the most frightening thing in the world. It’s simply one that I keep having over and over and when it happens it feels particularly strange, like a Lynch film where your reality is completely different, yet memory from another world persists. So here’s how it goes: I dream that I’m late for school, and I’ve been oversleeping for a long time, as in weeks. It’s so bad in fact that I’ve completely missed a class or two, just never showed up. I always make it in time for this one class, and I’m always nervous that the teachers will get together and figure out that I’m dodging the earlier classes. This dream will skip around from being at home and rushing out the door to sneaking on campus to prowling around the school past classrooms I’m supposed to be in. The perceived time in these dreams can be a few hours, days or even weeks. It’s like when you go under anesthesia, it just goes black and you awaken at a new time.
What’s really odd and mind boggling (at least while I’m experiencing it) is that my mind from the present time fights with this flashback to being a student. In the dream I’ll be thinking to myself, I have two degrees, why am I going to school? These little “tells” can awaken your conscious mind inside the dream, this sometimes makes you feel really drunk or high as your motionless body in bed struggles against the one in your mind that’s walking, driving, etc. I’ll be mentally and physically between worlds as it were, and it’s very frustrating. It’s great to wake up and realize I’m not late, I’m not going to fail a class and all is well.
Full disclosure: I don’t like waking up. I sleep until the very last minute and get ready in a flash. I prefer having no set time at which to arise. So this could all simply be a manifestation of guilt from not being an early bird, but in response to that old adage I always say; “The second mouse gets the cheese”.
Over the weekend I finally made reservations for Winter Music Conference in Miami, which takes place around March 24-28. DJ Notech is traveling down with me, we’ll both be there as representatives of Steamtown Records and in our capacity as DJ’s/Producers/Performers. We look forward to meeting many new people and expanding our network. To anyone else attending, hit us up through email/twitter/etc. and let’s meet up! WMC is probably the most fun week of the year to be in Miami
In other news I’ve been playing a lot of guitar lately. Took my Jackson RR3 (Randy Rhoads signature) guitar to have Dimarzio pickups installed. Also bought an Alexi Laiho 200 signature ESP/LTD guitar for a ridiculously low price on eBay. I wasn’t in the market for another guitar, but the Alexi signature is pretty awesome, and I honestly didn’t think I would win the auction at that price, I woke up the next morning and looked at my phone; “hrm, looks like I bought a guitar last night”. I’ve since installed the signature Alexi pickup & preamp combination. Had to get out the soldering iron and strip some mic cable to make the installation possible. Apparently I got one of the older ones where the cables were too short for a flying V. Anyway, the guitar is a precision shredding machine, and it does other sounds quite well too. I picked up the Dethklok tablature book, the guy behind the music is an incredible player and jamming to his songs is enhancing my style. Heavy metal has an interesting influence on my electronic productions. Melodically I like the same things regardless of the style of music.
Hope all is going well for you all, can’t wait to see some of you in Miami next month!Read More
Well here we are, living in the future, still no flying cars… I’d settle for automated cars, then I could at least make use of time on the road, plus there wouldn’t be the pesky need to remain sober. As I move into the future it amazes me to think how fast time really does pass, and how slow things change. Here’s hoping things will continue to get better on all levels!
Anyhow, so it’s been a while since I let you know what’s going on. I’m sure you’ve been anxiously awaiting another exiting post, so here we are, the wait has ended
In the last couple months I’ve been focusing on taking Steamtown Records to the next level. We’ve begun talks with a new distributor, gotten some releases up on Juno Download and we’ve added another artist to the roster. We’re still a fledgling label, so right now we’re very open to new artists and all you have to do to get on our promo list is ask. Send new music to: submissions at steamtownrecords dot com, or use the Soundcloud drop box on the right panel here to send stuff directly to me.
The ‘Strange Attractor’ EP has been receiving support from Duane Barry & T R O, I’m very stoked to see those tunes finding their way into the hands of such talented DJ’s/Producers. The forthcoming (and long overdue) remixes of ‘Anything More’ and ‘French Ghost (le reve)’ are finally finished, you can hear them on Soundcloud and reserve them on Juno Download. Official release date is Jan. 22, 2010
A few weeks ago I did a DJ set for a small benefit show at the Graveyard pub in the East Atlanta Village. We helped raise money to help an incredibly cute and friendly dog get badly needed and costly surgery. It was an interesting afternoon to say the least, I wound up backing up Elemental Emcee of Dropbombz on my Ableton rig, I even did some scratching with delay feedback and did some ‘yes-man’ style singing/rapping. Then I played a set of slower & softer music, since it was early in the day and the crowd wasn’t looking to get blown up into a late night dancing frenzy. Later that night we checked out a local metal band called ‘Royal Thunder’. Turns out I went to high school with their singer & bass player. She’s got some serious pipes, and the band overall was very solid, if you like that sort of dark throbbing metal then click here for their myspace page.
I’ve been spending lots of time in the studio working on my forthcoming album “Par for the Curse”. I may post some videos of behind-the-scenes action soon, stay tuned.
In other news DJ Notech is stepping things up. He’s been helping me run Steamtown and soon he’ll be dropping some new DJ mixes and hopefully some original productions. He, along with Adam Bomb & Funk’s Not Dead tore up the Highland Inn Ballroom for NYE, there should be some video clips surfacing soon (shot by yours truly). You can catch both of these incredibly talented DJ’s every Tues. at Estoria & Thurs. at the Highland Inn Ballroom (both Venues are in Atlanta, check Facebook for events listings).
Well, I just crossed the 500 word mark. Management says I should try to keep posts around 500 or less. So, I bid you adieu, I shall try not to wait so long before my next post.
All the best to you and yours for 2010!Read More
It’s been too long! I apologize for keeping you waiting! You see, when you live in an old country house, time literally slows down while the world keeps moving. It’s been documented, this phenomenon is real, ask my room mate.
Anyhow, so today I am 28, and it does feel strange. I don’t feel that old and not so sure I look that old either. I wonder, if we didn’t have calendars, clocks and the like, would we know how old we are? Sure we could be using the stars to keep track of this like ancient cultures, but I wonder if there ever was a civilization that said ‘to hell with this’ and just lived their lives and didn’t bother to pay attention to time. I saw a documentary with Michio Kaku, one of my favorite theoretical physicists, and he did a little ‘on-the-street’ test where he asked people of different ages to count to 1 minute. The result; older people counted much slower. They were shocked to discover a minute had passed a good while before they finished counting. Younger people counted much faster, and thus, experienced what they thought was a minute with time left to spare. This leads me to believe that our perception of time speeds up with age so it feels as if each day is going by faster. The trick is to count fast, then you can slow time back down and have more of it, I think it works like that. I’ll let you know in a few years.
So, lots of things have been happening. A jam room has been constructed at my country house. A nice old school one with real drums, big brass lamps, flashing lights, a disco ball, X-mas lights, candles, an organ, keyboards, computers, guitars and a bass. The room used to be full of old electrical components, somehow we managed to have the owner of those take his stuff home ;p
There have been a few sessions back there with myself, DJ Notech & Nathan Isaksson. I’m looking forward to more. Eventually perhaps we’ll put up some video footage, or who knows, maybe an actual live performance will take shape, that’s the ultimate goal, but don’t tell management yet, they’re worried I might run away with a metal band if I play too much guitar, bass and live keyboards.
The fabled remixes of ‘French Ghost’ and ‘Anything More’ are really going to come out soon, I promise. I can go ahead and say sometime in November (this year, 2009). I dropped ‘Anything More’ last Saturday during my DJ set at a warehouse called “Skylab” in Atlanta along with DJ Notech, DJ Real & Corey Von Waters. That spot promises to be a hell of a late night venue in Atlanta. Look out for future events there, all parties involved seemed to have a blast, and it’s such a nice place, looks & sounds spectacular. I met a wonderful sound man, photographer and DJ there as well. DJ Greg McLeod brought an organ levitating sound system and kept it sounding nice all night. He also saved me with a 12-volt power supply and tool some beautiful pictures throughout the night, you can find them on my Facebook page (click here)
In other news Scarcity Records last released their first single “Thinking of You” by Mesmer & DJ Zinn. It’s been getting great reviews all over the place, it’s got remixes from myself, Takomo, Yreane, and Quentin. There’s another mix you can pick up for FREE by Adeser. All the mixes are honestly very good, Mesmer (founder of Scarcity) has managed to surround himself with a diverse collection of incredibly talented producers. I look forward to working with him & Scarcity in the future. You can pick up the release at Juno Download & Beatport. This track was a lot of fun to work on as the original melodies and vocal hook were already really appealing to me.
That’s the news for now, I’ll try not to wait so long before my next post. Until then, have fun!
I finished the record in July 2009. The 40 minutes of music you’ll find ‘inside’ are the distillation of my most ambitious musical efforts over the last several years. Musically speaking I’ve been on a strange journey. In my early years I was all about being a rock star and playing electric guitar. Soon I’ll post some video’s of my earliest “band” performing in 1995 when we were all about 13 years old. Anyway, I moved onto playing keyboard an epic rock band and then eventually to a LivePA after getting hopelessly engrossed in the world of electronic music. After that I was exclusively focused on producing dance music singles. I certainly haven’t stopped, but the idea behind doing the full length album was to create music with no preconceived notions and zero restrictions. I didn’t stay within any boundaries with regard to tempo and I didn’t worry about doing “serious music”. I allowed myself to have fun musically, even if some of it is lighthearted and runs the risk of being called ‘cheesy’, ‘foofy’ or ‘fluffy’. Hence, the song “The Fluff Dreams are Made of”.
So, as a musician and producer I can honestly say it’s liberating to simply make the music that you’re hearing in your head (or feeling in your body). With dance music there’s the very necessary aspect of crafting the track in a way that will make it fit with the current state of the scene. If it’s too “creative” then it becomes difficult for a DJ to fit in a mix. And as a DJ myself I understand this, it’s not a problem exactly, in order to create a coherent mix you need songs that walk a line between variation and consistency. This is what enables you to keep the mix flowing while keeping it interesting and fresh. I look at it almost like zooming out of time. A 5-8 minute track becomes your verse and the next song your chorus. The movement of the music goes from being a collection of 3-5 minute “songs” to a single “mix” that might last anywhere from an hour to several hours. It seems to me that many electronic music producers at some point want to stray away from the constraints of dance music, creating albums that draw heavily from their dance influence but at the same time allow themselves an element of freedom. Producing dance music is unique in that the end result will be treated as a building block by DJ’s trying to mix with it. So you have to be making active comparisons with what’s being played as you produce. I love dance music, but as a creator that is limiting.
Moving on, the title of the album was lifted from one of my favorite shows, ‘Doctor Who’. It’s one of the longest running shows on television anywhere. In my opinion it doesn’t get old. For those who’ve never seen it, the show follows the adventures of an alien ‘Time Lord’ who has a living machine that he travels in called the T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space). This machine is often described as being “Bigger on the Inside”, since although it appears to be a historic British ‘Police Box’ (phone booth) when you step inside it’s actually quite spacious. He journeys through time and space, usually helping people, solving problems and saving people & planets. He always uses his wit and intellect in preference to violence. All in all the show captures a good bit of the philosophy I try to have toward life. I’ve extended the meaning of the phrase to apply to us as individuals. This is because although we can tell a good bit about each other from the outside, there is infinitely more on the inside. I also think many people look outside themselves for validation in life, not realizing that we are all “Bigger on the Inside”. It’s really an invitation to explore your mind and get to know yourself. This has been a major concept explored in philosophy for an incredibly long time.
Essentially I’ve set out to create a concept album of sorts. Each song is the musical expression of me allowing the songs to breathe and take me/you where the ‘song’ wants to go. This is why I didn’t turn away from dramatic interludes and complete shifts between electronic and acoustic instruments. It may only be 10 songs clocking in just under 40 minutes, but the record feels much larger once you step inside. The song ‘Total Perspective’ is also a sci-fi reference, from the ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. It refers to the ‘Total Perspective Vortex’, a horrible torture device on ‘Frogstar World B’. The machine is supposed to show you how insignificant you are in proportion to the universe. It’s a very cool concept if you ask me, and as most things in the ‘Hitchhikers Guide’ universe it has a humorous twist.
I suppose it had to come out sooner or later. It turns out that I am actually a huge sci-fi fan. Now, I haven’t memorized the lines to Star Wars, I’ve yet to don storm trooper attire and I cannot speak Vulcan. However, I’ve seen every episode of ‘Alien Nation’, ‘V’, ‘Star Trek’ & ‘Star Trek TNG’, ‘Stargate’ (SG-1 & Atlantis), ‘Farscape’, ‘Lost’, ‘Firefly’ and ‘Battestar Galactica’. I’ve listened to all the radio shows of ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ and I’m still going through Doctor Who episodes from the 70′s & 80′s. I’ve read several ‘Larry Niven’ (author of Ringworld which inspired the game Halo) & ‘Jerry Pournelle’ books (great hard science fiction). I guess what I’m trying to say is I absolutely love the science fiction genre. It explores such wonderful possibilities and has no limits. Assuming you’re dealing with a well written story then you can look past the aliens, time travel and futuristic technology. At the heart of most good sci-fi is really just a story about the human condition, with all our hopes & fears couched in something a little more interesting that what you find in every day life.
There seems to be a connection between electronic music producers and science fiction. Whether it’s James Zabiela playing with his Futurama & Dalek toys (which are awesome btw, I have a set on my console), Orbital sampling lieutenant ‘Warf’ from Star Trek in their track ‘The Mobius’ or another turntablist using the imperial march from Star Wars the connection is there. I think the same types of people who are drawn to create music with spacey technology have an appreciation for stories that challenge the status quo and push the limits of imagination. Honestly, I first remember hearing science-fiction inspired lyrics from the ‘Pixies’. Frank Black (or Black Francis) has always had a penchant for the genre. Even 311 likes to incorporate lyrics that delve into the realm of science fiction. So I guess Sci-Fi has got it’s tentacles wrapped around music in general.
The recording for ‘Bigger on the Inside’ was done almost entirely in my country house in Dallas, GA. Several guitar tracks were recorded back in 2005 when I was living in Orlando, FL. I started ‘The Fluff Dreams are Made of’ back then as a ‘fun’ diversion from my more ‘serious’ endeavor of producing dance music. After moving back to GA that seed turned into a fully fledged tree and I had to go where the wind blew, which turned out to be crafting a full length album of similarly inspired material. Some of the guitar from other tracks was recorded at the beach, oceanside on an M-Audio Micro-Track. That was an interesting setup. I had mp3 copies of rough mixes on my iPhone which I listened to on headphones. So I was able to play acoustic guitar with a monitor mix and capture the ambiance & air of the beach along with the guitar. it’s nice to record outdoors because there are no walls (so very few reflections). I’m almost always pleased by recordings done outside.
Many of the songs on the album began as jams. I would get a basic beat kicking and then head over to the keyboard and start playing. Once I got a basic riff or progression I would roll ‘tape’. I then sit down at the workstation and start removing parts that don’t fit or have bad timing, etc. The various segments of the song get arranged into something that resembles a song. I consider this style of working to be similar to keeping a notebook which you constantly jot down thoughts in. You’ll find sentences with a line through them, things written sideways and crazy little pictures drawn here and there, except, all of this done with sound.
Every song on the album gets me exited, and rest assured there were plenty of sessions featuring me jumping around the room like a kid on X-mas morning. I firmly believe the music you make should make you wanna jump around, if not, then how will it do this for others? And if you haven’t had a silly dance session where you’re thankful there’s no video evidence then I implore you to do so. As adults we get so far away from acting with silliness in our hearts. Everything is so serious, and if you ask me it’s unhealthy. My sister has a 1 & 2 year old and watching those kids reminds me of what we’ve lost as we’ve grown up. Do yourself a favor and try to remember what it was like to do a little dance because you can’t control your exitement. The joy of such small things are more than a 2 year old can contain. His joy explodes forth in physically visible expression. That’s really at the heart of my motivation for rediscovering music made strictly for listening and dancing, and not for DJ mixing. The desire to simply have some fun and enjoy oneself.
Several of the tunes feature other artists, something I hope to do infinitely more of. Working by yourself can get boring, and honestly, sharing yourself with others is one of those things that can bring you a limitless supply of joy, assuming it’s a two-way street. The song ‘Restless’ had a few spots that seemed lacking, and I wasn’t coming up with anything. So I called on my friend Ryan D. Cagle, who rocks on the banjo, to add something. I instructed him to just play what he felt, which he did, and the results pleased me tremendously. I love mixing things that don’t seem to blend, such as funk inspired rhodes piano with banjo and a contrasting horn section. Perhaps the first artist other than myself to record on the album was ‘Muhammad Darwhiche’ of All One Soul, or Kyma. We were just in the studio doing some aimless recording when he played most of his song ‘D.O.C’., and once I heard that guitar part, I knew I had to do something with it. To my delight, he was cool with letting me create a derivative work out of his pre-existing song. Towards the end of the record I recruited the unique voice of Nathan Isaksson for the songs ‘Bender’ and the title track ‘Bigger on the Inside’. In addition to singing, Nathan also programmed the beautiful chorus melody from ‘More Than One’. That instrument, which came from an Alesis QS-8 was originally performed by myself. Then I went back and removed portions that I didn’t feel served the track. This left me with a hole in the chorus which Nathan thankfully filled.
About the lyrics on the album; me and Nathan were in a rock band together from the mid to late nineties. So we have a background working together musically. He’s sung for me before on ‘Energy Bath’ and the title track from ‘Strange Attractor’. Funny story about that song, Nathan downloaded the wrong song and recorded vocals for it. I then time stretched and pitch adjusted it to make it work with the new song. Somehow this actually worked out without forcing it much, the pitches all fell into place. Anyway, for ‘Bender’ & ‘Bigger on the Inside’ we began with a discussion about the meanings and themes I was trying to push for nonverbally on the album. Nathan has an excellent ability to pen lyrics that strike a chord and avoid sounding like the drivel you hear on the radio. He also manages to make his words function on multiple levels, so the listener can derive their own meanings which will evolve with each new listen.
‘Bender’ is essentially about allowing yourself to live in the moment and enjoy yourself. It’s an invitation to feel the sounds around you (the lyrics say “can you tell by the sounds around”). Also, and this may be my own idea superimposing itself over Nathan’s idea’s. He says “it’s the same song” at one point. I have this theory that there is a creative fountain flowing through the universe like neutrinos. Sometimes when I’m going to sleep I can hear this music, and it never seems to stop, but it’s ever changing, always sounding like exactly like what I want to hear at the moment, from classical to techno. This leads me to believe that good music all comes from he same place, in a way. This fountain can be tapped into by anyone and for anything. It’s why after thousands of years we’re still creating new and wonderful art. So to me it’s saying that there’s a universal song (the same song) that’s been playing since the beginning of time, but it’s the longest and most diverse song imaginable, and if you can allow it to get inside you it’s like becoming an explosion. And that’s the feeling I get when I “hit the floor” and let loose.
‘Bigger on the Inside’ focuses on feelings of self doubt and triumphing over them through looking within yourself. It’s got a line in there; “it’s too late, you can’t change fate, betray the things you said to yourself”. This is literally suggesting you betray the side of yourself that gets down about life. That line sticks with me , in life it can seem like some external force has pre-determined your fate. And many of us get in a state of mind where we feel for one reason or another that we cannot change something about our lives that we wish we could. I like to think the future is full of limitless possibility. If you look for it you can find many examples. If you allow yourself to, you may find your life taking you places you never thought it could, both literally and figuratively. The song is really a motivational pick-me-up tune that will hopefully shine a bit of light on you when you’re down about yourself.
A little bit about the gear, the live electric bass is an old Rickenbacker that has been played by myself and friends since the early nineties. It was tracked sometimes directly and sometimes through a bass floor POD and a Groove Tubes Brick. For some of the later sessions I picked up a RME ADI-2, this thing helped with monitoring and recording clean pure signal immensely! The acoustic guitars are mostly a Takemine & possibly an Ibanzez. Both were under $300 because I like having a guitar that you can leave lying around the living room or carry with you into the forrest and not be worried about a nick or a scratch. I used Stereo MS recording for some of the acoustic sessions. On at least one session I even used a cheap old Telefunken mic that was originally designed for use in a corporate office. For Nathan’s vocals and most of the guitar tracking I used a Shure KSM-44 and an Audio Technica 4050. Although mostly buried in the mix you’ll occasionally notice things like a toy keyboard, a ring hitting the table at the beginning of a guitar take, a kids voice changing megaphone and all sorts of other little noise making odds and ends that I keep around the studio.
I’ve got a small flock of synthesizers which appear on the record. You can hear the sounds of the Roland V-synth doing most of the edgy stuff, the smoothness of the Alesis QS-8 doing piano, keys and the bells from ‘Dump Truck’. The Emu XL-1 and PX-7 found there way into several tracks, providing bread and butter, like on a tasty Cuban sandwich. I also used a Novation X-station for a few pads. The latest addition to my arsenal was the Dave Smith Instruments Mopho, which was used for the talk box vocals on ‘Bender’ and for various little solo riffs throughout the album. There’s also a few soft synths going on, like the Novation Bass Station & Arturia Analogue Factory.
Everything was mixed and mastered on a PC with incredibly heavy use of the UAD plugin suite. It’s wonderful that we live in an age where you can run multiple instances of a $5,000 EQ via a $250 plugin. The engineers at UAD are next-level in their execution of emulating classic gear. The more you read about engineers and producers who worked on classic recording the more you’ll see names like LA2A, 1176, Fairchild, Neve, Pultec, etc. It’s difficult to quantify, but much of this gear really sounds phenomenal despite certain limitations. In many ways the limitations of old gear were what enabled you to move forward. Currently the possibilities of modern equipment are so limitless that it can be difficult to focus and get things done. For instance, when EQ’ing with a graphic EQ it’s impossible not to let the visual representation affect your decisions. With music you really have to just close your eyes sometime and listen. This doesn’t just apply to engineering. To really appreciate music it’s can’t just be background noise, or something you put on while you’re doing something else. Try sitting down and listening to music the way you watch a movie. Turn it up loud and remove distractions, just enjoy the ride.Read More