I recently had the pleasure to work with Los Angeles hardcore band A.K.A. I had know singer/basssist, Emi Tamura, from her days in Cheeto Champ. Cheeto was one of my first freelance clients back in 2010? I think so. I had been bugging Emi for a couple years about getting her main band in the studio so we could do a couple of days recording, have some fun and just crank out these insanely complex lighting fast songs she’d been writing.
I ended up doing one and a half days of basic tracking with A.K.A. in early August 2012, a couple more days later in the month to get the screamed vocals and just 2 guitar overdubs. Not bad for music this complex. I mixed the record at home, first one mixed in the new house, and Emi and I traded notes for a couple of months while I was perfecting the mixes to the band’s satisfaction. In the process, I made a great friend in guitarist/vocalist Max Gualtieri, and went on to work on his jazz quartet, The Anthropic Ensemble, later in the year. That’s another post.
I’m proud to announce that A.K.A. have released their debut album, Golden Chains, on limited edition hand-screened CD’s! This is brutal stuff. I’m not great at describing music, kinda afraid to offend the band by saying that it sounds like another band they might hate. But it’s a cross between hardcore, punk, US black metal, avant-garde jazz. It is intense.
You can download the songs at AKA’s Bandcamp page, or go to one of their upcoming shows and pick up the CD. All 3 members [Emi, Sean & Max] are CalArts graduates and play in a number of bands around the Los Angeles area.
The tracks were recorded live with everyone playing in the live room, no separation. We intended on making it sound kinda like a well-recorded rehearsal or live show. We overdubbed the vocals, mixing amped vocals through their normal live PA setup with regular close-mic’d vocals.
The song “Egg” was also featured throughout the new episode of Shut Up! Cartoons Pubertina series. The episode is titled Blind Date and an edited version of “Egg” plays during the end credits and quietly throughout the episode. Check it out on Youtube HERE!
Head to their bandcamp to hear/purchase the tracks
AKA Live in the Studio 8/2012
Emi recording vox at Pietown Sound 8/2012
Sean recording vox at Pietown Sound 8/2012
Max recording vox at Mix LA 8/2012
Volar Records has just released the Audacity/Big Eyes split 7″ as part of their Singles Series Set. Available to purchase with 4 other limited 7″ singles or by itself.
I recorded and mixed the Audacity side, featuring Kyle Gibson’s song “Bottle It Up”, at Mix LA in a marathon overnight session February 18, 2012. Lots of beer, booze and guests all night long. We finished up the mix around 8am with a final mix of “Bottle It Up” and a rough mix of another Kyle song, “Onomatopoeia”, which has recently been re-recorded by Johnny Bell and will be the b-side to the upcoming Suicide Squeeze “Finder’s Keepers” single.
Here’s a couple pics from the session. Shout out to Erdi, Matt Hart (debut 7″ out now on Ghostbot Records), Bob Diaz, Danny Bengston (Pangea, God Equals Genocide, Matt Hart’s Spicy Lovers). Special thanks to Jenae “Justice” Diaz for taking these and many other photos at my sessions. xox
Thomas & Cameron are bored
Kyle and Matt live tracking during “Bottle It Up”
Matt at Mix LA
Audacity Session 2/18/12
Holy Wow! I haven’t posted anything on here since January 11, 2012
At that time I had just started my own record label, Ghostbot Records, and released Ghostbot Records 001: Pangea Killer Dreams 7″ EP. That pressing sold out of it’s first run and 2 more Ghostbot releases came out in 2012: God Equals Genocide Rattled Minds CD & Man’s Assassination, Man The Big One LP, both of which I recorded & mixed and probably posted about on this site at some point. Well, here we are in March of 2013 and on March 1st GBR004: Matthew Hart From The Backyard 7″ EP was just released and there are at least 3 more Ghostbot Records releases in the pipeline for this year!
2012 was a busy year with lots of new clients and of course old clients playing in new bands too. Some of the groups I was working with last year include: Pangea (still working on producing their upcoming full-length album), Spokenest, Neverever, AKA, American Grizzly, jazz quartet The Anthropic Ensemble (Max Gualtieri leads this band and also plays gtr/sings in hardcore group AKA), a couple of sessions with Fullerton’s Audacity (the first band on the mighty Burger Records) and Charlyne Yi and her band The Rangdangs, to name a few.
A lot of those projects will be seeing release sometime this year, and I will try and keep up to date with all the appropriate links on the Credits page of this site.
Two other big 2012 news items for me were that my wife and I bought a house and we got our first cats, two sisters: Khaleesi & Fangsana. We are smitten and now all we think about are cats cats cats cats.
Pangea’s Living Dummy album, recorded over a few sessions throughout last year, ranks on 2, count ‘em TWO, different year end Best-Of lists: LA Weekly and Get Bent!
Living Dummy was a hell of a fun record to make. We are currently in the studio now, having recorded 11 tracks and planning to work on a lot more throughout the year.
If you haven’t heard the album yet, pick up the LP from Burger Records or the CD from Lauren Records!
And while you’re at it, pick up the new Pangea 7″ EP, Killer Dreams, from my new record label, Ghostbot Records
Pangea’s “Little Alligator” is the lead track on Charlyne Yi‘s benefit compilation CD “Caring is Cool: The Animal Within Us“. We recorded the song spur of the moment on April 17th, 2011. The song features all the Pangea hallmarks fans have come to expect: Buddy Holly like yelps, catchy as hell melody, distorted whoo’s and ooh’s…..basically, a song that is impossible to get out of your head.
The great thing about this disc is, while you get to hear 18 great artists, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Relief International’s Recovery Effort in Japan. From the website: Caring is Cool is a micro-non-profit started by me, Charlyne Yi aka Mrs. Cool, to show you how cool it is to care. And inspire that a little money can go a long(ass) way — so you can BOTH help those in need and get something super rare/righteous for your good deed!
The disc also features contributions from: Fred Armisen, Moses Campbell, Watercolor Paintings, Kit, Daniel Hart, Seth Olinsky, Old Lumps, The Dining Dead, The Hidden Words Auxiliary Band & Choir, The Finches, Bobcat Goldthwait, Kate Mucucci, Grant Lee Phillips & Sarah Watkins, Hi Ho Silver Oh, Warren Fitzgerald, Honus Honus, Tripod, and Wil Donegan.
Preview the album at the site here or pick up a physical copy from CDBaby!
The Cheeto Champ CDEP, Cheeto Champ Gets the Giggles, is out now via Lauren Records. Recorded and mixed last year at Mix LA, this disc features 7 songs of raucous fun and blistering fuzzy punk’n'roll! Listen all the way to the end for some hidden studio junk. All the artwork for this release was hand-done by main Champ Adrian: Block-printed eco-friendly sleeves with red ink, stamped CD’s and gold lyric insert! Be sure to get your hands on this before they’re sold out, or catch the band live next time they play, you won’t be disappointed.
It’s been a long, long time coming for me to post about this two day session. Maybe it’s because I’m still tweaking the final mixes at the time of this writing. I’m soooooooo close, actually I’m gonna finish them up tomorrow (Monday 29th)!
Anyway, Man’s Assassination Man showed up at Mix LA for day one of a two day session on the same day that I retrieved my stolen Honda Accord from the towing lot. I spent the early part of the day taking my boss to the airport at 5am, eating a solitary and wonderful breakfast at Cici’s Cafe, picking up my car from the tow lot and having it towed to my mechanic, Dad & Me Auto, and then selling the car to said mechanic. All before noon! That’s when the real fun of the day began, once the band showed up.
Day one started just like any other session. Band was running a little bit late, which was ok because it always takes a bit more time to set up the live room than I anticipate. By the time the group showed up, I was in the middle of eating my salad from the Tomato Patch and I was 98% ready for them. I have known Man’s Ass vocalist, Justin Hunter, since high school and we had been trying to get his band in the studio for at least a year. He introduced me to the other guys in the band, Greg on bass, Bill on guitars and Adam on drums. Everyone filed in, I gave them a quick tour and we began setting up. As is usual, I spent most time getting drum sounds. I sent all the drums through the Sound Workshop 1280 12-channel console and a Variac to kinda make all the close mics gel together. I tried out the Shure Beta 57′s on the snare and they took some of the pingy-ness out. Awesome! Other mics used include: Shure Beta 52, Sennheiser 421, Chinese Royer knockoffs (haha!) and AKG 414TLII.
The session officially got under way around 3pm when the group went through a practice run of one of their songs. We recorded everything live (except vocals and a few guitar overdubs), just isolating the guitar and bass cabs, but with everyone in the same room, feeding off each other’s energy. The band went through 12 songs in no time. Lots of beer was consumed, lots of cigarettes were smoked, lots of noisy, aggressive punk rock was created. We ended around midnight and I promised to pick up Justin and Bill the next day to record all the vocals and some guitar overdubs.
Around noon, I pick the guys up from the Orange Line Station in North Hollywood, we head to the liqour store to pick up some cheap-ass whiskey and beers and then off to Fab Dog to get some lunch. We head back to the studio, Justin and Bill start to drink and Bill does his guitar overdubs. By the time we get to vocals Justin is a bit tipsy, but he begins to drink the entire bottle of whiskey while he’s doing his vocal takes. By the end he could barely stand up. The vocals came out a glorious mess, slurred, distorted in parts, unintelligible. Amazing and beautiful. Justin said he wants the record to sound like you have the worst hangover of your life and I think we accomplished that. We didn’t do much mixing that night since no one really had any fresh ears, but even the first night ruffs sounded about how the band wanted the final product. I drove the guys home and then my assistant, Jenae, and I hit the Copper Bucket to meet up with Keith and his lady and some beers and darts. We just squeaked in at 1:30 before the place began closing up.
As of now, I think Man’s Ass have found a label to release the 12-song LP on vinyl and I think Burger Records might be releasing the cassette. I’ll post as soon as I know for sure.
Thanks to Jenae for assisting and taking all the photos.
Coming soon from Lauren Records!!!! Cheeto Champ‘s debut CD, 7 dynamic songs full of passion and lots of crunch. Recorded & mixed at Mix LA on February 18, 2010, Adrian’s songs are reminiscent of her work with God Equals Genocide with just a bit more pop/rockabilly influence. Standout track (for me) is “Midnight Sun” with it’s lyrics about the timelessness of that great star and how it dwarfs humanity. And don’t miss the hilarious ending to “Radio Radio” either.
At the end of our session in February, Adrian gave me 3 succulents to take home and I’m proud to say that they are flourishing! Thanks for the great plants and the great music Adrian. I look foward to the GEG session in November.
Well, the LP version of Pangea’s Night of the Living Dummy is finally available for order. Limited to 500 copies, 200 yellow 300 black. The LP is a split release with Burger Records/Ol’Factory Records. This completes the release schedule for the album. The cassette on Burger Records sold out quickly, the CD was released on Lauren Records last week, and last night at midnight came the vinyl. The cassette featured 4 different mixes from the LP/CD version, and the CD version contains a bonus track that wasn’t available on the cassette/LP. Just sayin. The different mixes are the first four songs, which were songs from the last session we did for the album at Mix LA.
I’ve blogged a ton about the recording and the album itself over the past year. It’s easily been one of the albums I’ve anticipated coming out the most. I listened to the test pressing a couple of days ago and the record sounds great. Full of energy and great songs. Especially closer, “Los Angeles”. Anyway, this is the first full length LP that I engineered completely, so enjoy it. And look forward to many more.
Last year on the day after Thanksgiving I recorded 4 songs with the excellent God Equals Genocide at Mix LA. As you may recall, we recorded and mixed 4 songs in 3.5 hours, not too bad. Well, earlier this month the fruits of our labor were released on split 7″ vinyl with Boston’s The Libyans. A Shock To The System/Dirt Cult Records co-release, the split features 3 of the 4 tracks we recorded last November. Crunchy and powerful punk rock with alternating male/female vocals (Danny sings lead on two, Adrian on one) to get your mind reeling and thinking. Buy a copy, you’ll be glad you did. Revel in the speed of Danny’s phrasing on “If It’s All Slowing Down”!
I just went to see them play at All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock, CA last Wednesday and we tentatively scheduled their next recording and mixing session for the 2 days following Thanksgiving 2011. Maybe we can make this some sort of tradition. We’ll be working on the GEG full-length. 12 songs, maybe Daryl will even sing one!