I just finished mixing a solo record by John Lodge of the Moody Blues titled 10,000 Light Years Ago. What a great collection of classic rock songs with that Moody’s sound. Here is a link to the title track 10,000 Light Years Ago – John Lodge It was a pleasure to work with such a legendary artist! The album was produced by my long time friend Alan Hewitt
Here are some pictures of the Earth, Wind & Fire Holiday CD I recorded last year at NRG Studios in North Hollywood, CA. We spent most of the summer and into early fall working hard to make the holiday deadline. We spent a few weeks at NRG (studio B) arranging and recording the basic tracks with many overdubs. All the vocals were recorded at Philip Bailey’s home studio. Horns recorded at LAFX in North Hollywood and strings at Capitol Records Studio in Hollywood.
A few close up pic’s of the setup & mic positioning. It was a full rhythm section session with bass, drums, percussion, keys and two guitars.
The awesome Vintage Neve 8078 (with additional 1073 Mic Pre’s) in Studio B
I started as a professional recording studio engineer in the late 70’s. At that time I entered a world of analog tape recording in some of the best recording studios in the midwest. How things have changed since then. The technological innovation the industry has witnessed in the past 30 years has taken us from analog to a complete digital workflow. I have embraced this change because apart from it, I’ve always believed that nothing will ever replace great technique and creative endeavor. That’s what it’s all about for me – working where technology and art meet.
The book, Recording The Beatles by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew has been around for a number of years now, but it is my go to book for inspiration, perspective and a reminder of my personal history in the world of recording music professionally. It takes me back to my first days in the studio as I learned and tried to absorb everything around me. The book itself is the definitive look at how the Beatles’ albums were recorded, not only from a technical viewpoint but how the technology of that era helped inspire the art of musical creation and performance. I guarantee that after reading a few chapters of this book you’ll never listen to a Beatles song the same again.
Every time I pick up this book and browse through it, it reminds me of all the reasons why I’ve chosen the craft of a professional recording engineer – the profession of a Technology Artist.
We camped out recently for the week at House of Blues Studio in Encino, California recording the new Jonathan Butler record. Jonathan brought in his entire band along with a few guest artists. What a wonderful group of talented musicians!
House of Blues is a great studio nestled up in the Santa Monica mountains above the San Fernando valley in southern California. The studio has a beautiful sounding 36 channel, 72 input custom, all discrete, NEVE console with a 16 channel API sidecar. The outboard gear selection offers both vintage and modern. The studio also had some of my favorite vintage Neumann microphones. It’s one of those studios where you can capture the music through a warm, vintage analog signal path into Pro Tools. Awesome!
All the songs were tracked live – drums, bass, electric guitar, percussion, keyboards and of course Jonathan singing and playing guitar. I think I used every input on the NEVE and a few on the API sidecar! The studio itself had a great sound to it – very warm and natural. There is always something about the wood surfaces of a room that give different studios their character sound.
A big part of my job is setting everybody up in the studio so they are comfortable. I must make sure they’re hearing what they need to hear through the headphones, having a good line of sight with other members of the band and other things like the lights and the temperature of the room. I really tried to make as much of a creative atmosphere as possible for Jonathan and his band.
None of this could be done without having a great assistant engineer to help me out and thankfully House of Blues provided Sada Haru to work with us. The sessions kept all of us really busy throughout the week as we tracked and overdubbed 13 songs.
I’ll be mixing the record at my studio, Red Note, this fall with a 2014 release on Mack Ave. Records.
Pictured here is Jonathan’s band with guest artist/co-song writer Marcus Miller and the legendary George Duke. George co-wrote one of the songs with Jonathan and came in to play on the track during the week we were at House of Blues. Sadly, George died a few months after this recording session. Rest in Peace George, you are missed.