Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taylor's New T3-B

Wow! This is the sickest guitar I have ever played. Bob, the A&R guy down at taylor ( has sent SambaDá a pair of brand new Taylors to check out. In about the first month we got this guitar, it has been to New York, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Idaho, and recorded in the studio with me.

The trememlo is BUTTER, and the sounds from the pickups are incredible. I am totally blown away. I was getting sound that I never have heard come from my hands, and the build of the guitar is immaculate.

I HIGHLY recommend you try this guitar before you go out to buy a gibson or gretch... Check this out!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Levy Sisters

I was hired by these girls father to produce 2 tracks for Alex (left) and Julia (right). When SambaDá was in Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Festival, we had an 8 hour session at 5th Street Studios to record a demo with these girls. (

The song selection was quite last minute as it turned out, and we finally decided on an original tune by the girls dad (Van Levy) called "your eyes", but we took some time to figure out the second song. We wanted to do a cover song that showcased the girls' talent, but also brought the strengths of SambaDá's percussion and funky sound.

A family friend suggested "As" by Stevie Wonder. I don't think they could have come up with a better track. We did the initial tracking that day in Austin, but now I have gotten my hands on it, we have added Tammy Hall on Fender Rhodes, (left) and Reuben Rodgers ( on Electric Bass.

These two musicians are above and beyond. It is honestly a humbling experience working with both of them. I was pleasantly surprised when both of them seem to have such a great time... 

Anne from SambaDá has been an incredible support for me during the process... she patiently waits for her turn to record...  For the Stevie Wonder song, she spent 2 full days in the studio helping out before she got her turn to record. We did most of her tracks in less than 90 minutes, and I think it might be the best work I have ever heard from her! FONKY... that's right, FONKY! To really add the Brazilian flavor, Marcio Peeter from Bahia, Brazil helped direct and record the percussion.

Tonight, I just put the final major tracking down for the song "Your Eyes", which was sung by the younger of the two sisters, Julia. Anne started at 3:00, and we did Bari, Tenor (2 tracks) and Flute.
Then, I decided we needed a little tambourine, cowbell (who doesn't need COWBELL???) and a little shaker (literally, it is a very small shaker)

I am very impressed with these two young girls, and have had lots of fun... I have worked my butt off because I feel that the music deserves it. Ahhh... now to sleep to get ready for another day....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Next Generation

We were doing a dance workshop in Seattle, WA, and we had 3 little girls who played shaker with us. This little heart-melting darling in the pink skirt turned around to me at one point and asked:

"Do you think that I could be a drummer someday?"

I told her that she could be anything that she wanted... she just has to do it. Then I had her play the drums... She was a natural of course... I love opening doors... Here she is... probably her first time on the drums.

A total natural with a beautiful spirit. Her little sister came and gave me a hug when I knelt down to say goodbye. She is the percussionist in the middle... her little shirt says "Baby Got Barack"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Soundcraft GHOST mixing board gets fixed at Paradies Recording

The other day I was caught with my pants down (so to speak) when the mixing board in our studio wouldn't turn on. I was getting ready to "build the mix". I had turned down all the channels, and was going to get a kick drum sound, mixing together the two mics... the inside and outside mics, but it was like putting your foot on the gas pedal, with the car just staying put.

I checked the power, and yes, I had turned it on... I didn't know what to do... I sent the musicians home, and called Rich (he was still in Austin Texas). It took some time till he got back, and we pulled the board off the desk, flipped it over and took off the bottom:

I am not going to do this without rich... who is an electrical engineer. Someone once told me "in the old days, and engineer knew how to fix any problem that came up... not just someone who points mics at things and gets a decent sound..."

Rich is a real engineer in this case... I just point microphones. Anyhow, we were able to hook up some meters that had been previously unplugged, and fixed the problem so the board is rocking again. Here it is again last night: fully operational.

While the board was down, I had the unfortunate opportunity to record with headphones for two days... my ears were NOT happy after this... and after I pulled up the mixes into the speakers once the board was up again, I heard lots of things that I would have dealt with had we been listening through the speakers...

This week, I finished an initial mix of "Mare Cheia" by the Brooklyn-based Brazilian American band "Nation Beat". I also made some mixes for the album "Fools Gold", by Jan (pronounced YAWN) Broek, the father of my best friend and first bass player Jericho. I feel that I am paying rent for the year I first started playing drums, and his office and living room were our rehearsal spaces...

Tonight I am going to start mixing vocals for the Banana Slug String Band album, "Only One Ocean" with Jonathan Arthur, who is arranging all the vocals. Jonathan Arthur produced the last 2 albums for the Slugs... it has been nothing but a pleasure to work with such an incredible vocalist. I never stop learning from the old pros around me all the time...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Johnny B. recording for "Chicky Wok" by Nicole Naomi

In another adventure into sound at Paradise Recording: The Rolling Bomber!

Johnny B. is what I call a classic cat. He came into the studio to record bass drum for the track I am producing for his girlfriend, Naomi (more about her later)... Johnny is laid back, and not in the studio to make a scene. Here is johnny in full swing in Paradise:

The drum is called the Rolling Bomber, from the 1940.s. Johhny B says that it's from the era of the WWII metal recall... so the lugs are made of hardwood (rosewood?). This was a BEAUTIFUL old drum. 28" by maybe 12" or so...

We used two D112s, one on front, one on back, and a Neuman U87 to get some of the resonance of the attack head. We got a great sound. The track will be released in a couple of months...

Monday, March 1, 2010

SambaDá has finished it's new album GENTE! : for track listening!


I have been getting more and more comfortable in the studio. Things are starting to click. But then I find that my "huge realization" was actually just a small part of the beginning of understanding the studio I am working in.

Lately I have been redefining what I am doing in the recording studio. I am loving the beginners mind approach with every artist who comes in. I ask : what do you want to sound like? Sometimes they have NO IDEA and don't even want to start to have an opinion about what mic to use, mic placement, or what pre amp to use, etc.

We are DONE with SambaDá's newest album, Gente. We are playing this weekend in Santa Cruz at Moes Alley, for 2 nights. I can't wait.

I am in the final stretch for the Banana Slug String Band's next album "Only One Ocean". This has been an epic experience. Brett Dennen donated his voice for one of the songs, which is quickly becoming one of the best songs on the record. It's understated... Bass- (Doug Dirt) Drums-(Will Kahn) Piano (Zach Gill) and vocals (Brett Dennen). The track also has a group of about 9 fabulous local children from Santa Cruz.

Also, Naomi Wilder has been in the studio... she is totally fun to work with and has lots of crazy ideas. She is a nut. It has been a blast working with her. We had in Marcio from Bahia, Brazil to play percussion. Then we did a track with 6 people stomping on the ground and clapping their hands. It is RAW!

More soon...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010