Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nathan Dennen

Nathan has been talking to me for years about recording his first album, and now we are in full production for an album that has grown into one of my all time favorites to work on this far. My wife gave me some feedback early on, saying "that sounds great," before we were even close on some rough mixes.

Nathan's approach has been inspirational for me because he takes a very relaxed approach to recording. We tracked bass, drums, and piano in the same room, with minimal isolation. We used the old funky piano in the studio, to get that "bar piano" sound, and instead of bringing a "percussionist" to play along with the original takes, we set Nathan loose with bass drum and tambourine. The bass player and drummer are close friends of his who are in it for the love, I can hear it in the tracks.

We have done overdubs with Cello, Hammond Organ, Rhodes, and even Nathan's infamous mouth trumpet!

This album seems to be made for the old analog outboard gear in the studio, giving a very warm, retro sound to his songs. What I love most is Nathan's raw approach. It's many times a fleeting freedom that many bands have "made it" seem to lose track of after a taste of success. Nathan is fully immersed in his music. It's a gift to be a part of.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Analog Rules: Afro Funk Experience records to 2" tape.

Today, the Afro Funk Experience came to Paradise Recording to start an album. We recorded the band live, to 2" tape. Because the band knows it's material, is full of incredible players, and plays funk music, it seemed more than appropriate to track this album to tape, using our Studer A-800 MKIII.

This was one of my favorite sessions in quite some time. For anyone who has noticed that music doesn't really sound like it used to, it's not hard to imagine that by using vintage techniques, or even better yet, vintage equipment, we can make music today that has an old school vibe. It was so refreshing! We set up the band, got our sounds, and then just started rolling tape. The band sounded great, and there's no "how do we make this sound good?". It sounded good as soon as the band was listening back in the control room. No gimmicks. No plug ins. No re-amping. No auto tune, and no computer.

Unfortunately, there are so many possibilities with digital recording, it's so easy to "fix" music now, many musicians have become lazy, and the soul of music has suffered. "Oh, we can just loop that", or "can you fix my pitch" are just some of the ridiculous questions that have now become all to common in the studio.

The Afro Funk Experience did today in our studio what real music is all about. Many songs were done in one take, and all played totally live together. The end result is simple. Music is supposed to feel good!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Studio Projects 2011

Today, John and I got the Studer MKIII (2" 24 track) up and running, and recorded drum loops for a company named "Future Loops" out of Portugal. Next, we will mix down to the other Studer, the A-80 (1/4 inch 2 track) and bounce it directly to the B2 Bomber. I am in love with the tape sound. I can't wait to get that Mothership for mulit-channel tape transfer! I will post a link to beats by Future Loops soon.

The 24 track is sounding amazing. Some of our next sessions will be with the band  Afro Funk Experience, which will be live, to tape. In addition, I am going to be producing "These Boots Are Made For Walking", which I will record to tape with a live band as well.

Other projects include Emmett Peixoto's new album "Unattainable" which features Emmet on vocals/guitar; Jeff Hayashi guitar/backing vocals/producer, Bobby Hansen electric bass/Hammond Organ,  and myself on drums/keys/engineer. (Rich and I are currently mixing down to 1/4" tape). Special guests included Barry Phillips on cello and Heather Houston on backing vocals.

Naomi Wilder (aka Victory Sweet) also released "Chicky Wok" this last month... check out the video HERE. I am in pre-production for another song for her to be released later this year.

Nathan Dennen is also doing an album... an incredible sounding, piano-centric collection of tunes... I can't wait to see how this turns out.

Happy New Year! 2011 is looking like it will be the best, busiest year our studio has seen!

Paradise Recording Update: January 2011

For the last 6 months, we have been so busy, it's been impossible to find the time to post anything on the blog.

While running Paradise Recording, I have also been working for Burl Audio, as Artist Representative. This past November, Burl Audio presented at Audio Engineering Society in San Francisco. We released the Mothership, a multi-channel converter that we believe will change the course of recording history.

We threw an awesome party at the Great American Music Hall on Friday night after AES's opening day, which many people said was the best AES party, ever.  Since AES, Burl has taken on a tremendous momentum. Poeple all over the world are discovering the sound of the B2 Bomber.

We have also been working very hard keeping the studio in top shape, getting the tape machines working, swapping patch bays, building a computer room, soldering studio cables, producing albums, mixing, mastering... in other words, never a dull moment.