Thursday, June 18, 2009

Studio history. (long winded)

It was 1 knock at my door, from a Santa Cruz Police officer, at 4 in the afternoon, which prompted me to relocate my recording studio. I started out with a very modest home studio, somehow jammed into the one bedroom cottage that Aine and I have lived in for the past 5 years.

One day, Gary (drummer from SambaDá) told me that Len, who had recorded our first studio album, had packed up the studio, and all the gear was sitting in storage. Gary kept on me to call Len and see what he had.

So I called. Len is from the south, (the southern United States, not Los Angeles)... and has the southern hospitality thang DOWN!!! I ask len to buy one of the nice mic's that we all loved. He tells me that they won't sell the mic's, but I can BORROW all of them, (I still have them) and that they want to sell the entire system. I told him that I only have $3,000. They had been trying to sell the system for $12,000...

A couple of days later Len calls back and says: "we'll do it for $3,000." I am shocked, to say the least. The deal includes a custom desk that Len personally built, a computer, monitor, automated mixing board, pro tools software, hardware etc etc etc. Len just says that he wants it to get used. "Do you have a place to put it"

One of the first people I called was my good bro Tai (Nitianda Das Farmer) who just had showed me the neglected 3 car garage below his studio that he was going to turn into a "music room". Tai immediately expressed interest in having me move a recording studio in...

During this time, Marcel (percussionist from SambaDá) really insisted that we call a producer from San Francisco who's name had come up from lots of famous musicians we know (such as Raul from Ozomatli...) I called Greg Landau one night after marcel forwarded his contact info. WIthin a day, I checked my messages and was shocked that he had agreed to work with us, before we actually spoke on the phone.

Greg immediately saw my hunger to learn and took me under his wing. He has showed me how a producer works. It was under tai's house that I started learning how to engineer, how to manage 64+ tracks, how to edit, crossfade, arrange... etc etc etc.

I named my recording studio Shack in the Back Studios. We finished Salve A Bahia (SambaDá's second studio album), then Tai and Kristin got a two month notice that they were going to have to move. So I packed it all up....

After about 9 months, I finally found an 18 x 20 garage on the west side of Santa Cruz. My friend Kelau is a reggae DJ in town and his mother owns the place. I filled the room with carpet... and as much foam as I could. Then I set up my newest configuration (brand new Mac Pro tower, with Pro Tools HD2... ) This is the room where eventually the cops came. I have to admit, I did find two notes over the months... one was very polite. I found it on my gate when I was practicing for an audition with my favorite band of all time, Ozomatli. I was frantically cramming, by playing my ass off for hours and hours. The second note I got was when tracking drums for SambaDa's current album, and I think it said "STOP THE FUCKING DRUMMING".

So when the cops came, I wasn't totally surprised. While in New York with my good buddy Miles Kennedy, he said: "why don't you find a studio in Santa Cruz and just rent out some time?".

By the end of that month, back on the west coast, I had given notice and was set to move into my most current setup....

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