Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SolidTube at Wild One Music

Feb.15. Ah, as I write this, I'm looking out the window and see the first Austrian snowfall since my arrival. Yesterdau ehj sdh iutet ...oh, sorry, I should know better than to type while looking outside! Let me start over...Yesterday was our first day at Wild One Music studio. On my calendar I had predicted the following schedule:

11:00 AM Arrive at Studio for load in. Set up drums.
12.00 Noon Set up drum microphones and line check.
2:00 PM Set up guitar amps for basic tracks.
4:00 PM Begin playing first track(Know Me) Address/correct/adjust any technical issues.
5:00 PM Dinner break(get the band out of the studio)
6:00 PM Begin running "Know Me"
8:00 PM Go Home after hopefully accomplishing all of the above.

How did we do? Well, because this band is very excited to be making their first studio album, and because they harbor mixed feelings as to wether I am a maniac or not, the studio arrival was on time. We have really tweaked the budget to insure ample studio time, but the concept of "roadies" is still in the future. Julio the drummer chipped in by lugging a guitar cable down the stairs to the studio but I thought he got the better end of the deal when I saw Mandana dragging his bass drum case out of the van.

Actually, we met every time deadline. The day went like clockwork...Cuckoo clock that is. We accomplished everything we needed to and by the schedule I had set for us, but not without the cuckoo popping out occasionally to remind us that shit happens...and often. Different snare drums, different mics, bad cables...and the biggest problem, no milk for the coffee!

Jakob the guitarist( newly renamed Chi-Chi) is now officially a rock recording musician. He reached a personal goal by dusting a sweet old Vox AC30. I don't know why I should have been surprised. The amp was sounding absolutely fabulous...and in my experience, that is usually when they give up the ghost. So we went to plan B and set up his Orange head with one of the studio's vintage Marshall 4x12 speaker cabinets, a sweet basketweave loaded with vintage Celestion greenbacks. The Vox is now at the dentist's having a tooth filled and we'll have another stab at finishing it off when we do overdubs.

Mike is playing through his Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. The studio has a great set up that allows us to run the speaker output of the amp to an isolated cabinet. This cuts down the sound level in the room and the entire rhythm section can record together in the same proximity as rehearsals.

The bass will be recorded directly to Protools through an Avalon pre-amp. Paulie got out his great sounding Fender and tested the system. After all of the basic tracks are cut we will run the recorded bass tracks back through a live amp and add that to the mix for space and dimension. Paulie and I will be sharing the bass chair and I've brought a few of my babies along to give some variety to the bottom end. The '66 Höfner Violin bass will rear it's head on two songs and there will be some subtle fretless here and there. I was really happily surprised when I put the fretless Jazz in Paulie's hands. Every once in a while two things collide to make magic and from the first note I knew that Paulie is a natural on fretless.

So, today we will start recording in earnest. This band has never heard themselves in the laboratory conditions of a recording studio. I am looking forward to scanning their faces when they hear how good they really can be.

Feb. 16. Actually, late night between the 15th and 16th. Today was a gas. The band has made Wild One their home away from home and the recording is proceeding to plan. Everyone is relaxed, Chi-Chi(Jakob) has been unable to blow up any more amps, Julio, although playing his ass off, is intriguing all of us with a brand of English of which I am unfamiliar, Paulie is getting his ass hammered between takes by Mandana at the fussball table and Mike's only question is "When do we go eat?"

Wild One Music
is in what I would consider a pretty cool part of the city. Plenty of shops, restaurants and other assorted businesses within walking distance. Among the afore-mentioned "assorted businesses" is an emporium of, well, let's just call their product "personal stress relief and pleasure management services." There is a sort of "menu" posted that looks interesting but the dollar exchange being what it is, I'm opting for goulash and beer across the street. Pity though, a place like that would be handy if we had an infestation of label executives to get rid of.

Tomorrow we will track two more songs and prepare a third in the evening. At this pace we will track the album in five days, have plenty of time for Mandana to deliver killer vocal performances, and the guys will get to set up a nice assortment of guitar amps for overdubs. Ah, it's a rough life, but somebody's gotta live it!

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