Sunday, October 12, 2008


My weekend tracking session with Java Jel at Leopard Studio went really well. Java and I are actually highschool buds. I recorded his first demo like 20 years ago. Java plays guitar and sings. His songs are catchy and kwerky and funky and fun. Java has had a long career of writing and performing and has recorded with several bands, one of which I got to record at a studio in Dobbs Ferry several years ago. I'm really excited about producing an album for him. Day one was certainly productive. In the first hour or so we recorded an eight song live acoustic demo. I used Leopard's Lawson L47 for vocals, though it did pick up pleanty of guitar as well. Pre-apmed and compressed with the Avalon. I suplimented the guitar "bleed" with a Shure SM7 on the guitar, which got a round tone and very little vocal bleed. The combination sounds great. I also had a stereo room mic pair of AKG C-414 set up and I tracked those as well for some natural room ambience.
At about noon drummer Larry Lubkurt arrived to meet Java for the first time. Larry played Leopard's house kit which I mic'd with a similar approach to how I'd previously recorded that same kit with the Anderson brothers. I used two Neumann TLM103's for overheads as before, as well as the Oktava 219 on snare, but in the kick I used an Electrovoice ND868. All four mics went through API 312 mic preamps, kick and snare were compressed with EL8 Distressors. I also used two AKG C-414's for stereo room mics placed in front of the glass. Room mics went through the Neve 1272's. I set Java up in the control room with the Lawson L-47 and my vintage 70's Fender Telecaster. The guitar amp was in the lounge, my 1963 Ampeg Gemini I, with the Shure SM7 off-axis at the grill. The tone I got on the guitar was wonderfully round but at the same time raw. For a couple of the songs I cranked the amp for more grit.
Java cut scratch vocals in the control room as he cut a rhythm electric guitar track. He taught Larry the songs along the way, and we did a couple of takes of each of 12 songs in about six hours. Shortly after Larry left bass player Mike Hamel of DOLOR arrived to cut bass tracks. He learned and recorded 11 of the 12 songs in just about 3 hours. Both Larry and Mike came up with great parts and the spontinaety of this production approach gives the recordings a realy great live feel. Both of them are great guys who I've worked with before, and they're outstanding and gifted players. They both hit it off well with Java and the groove really jelled (sorry, I couldn't resist). Now with a good basic rhythm section down I can work with Java on lead vocals and guitar and keyboard overdubs. We'll pick up on that in November.