Friday, December 23, 2011

DB Sleez at Leopard Studio

Recorded and mixed local "sleaze-rock" band DB Sleez at Leopard studio this month. This hard rockin' quartet from Poughkeepsie, NY contacted Leopard Studio about recording there, and Leopard owner Jimmy Goodman called me in for engineering and production work because he felt it would be a good match. I went to see them in November at The Chance Theater and liked what I heard. These guys are loads of fun in that classic 80's glam-metal style. They don't just look the part, they live it! When I heard their songs "Sixty-nine" and "Could Have Left Me A Beer" I knew that this was going to be a fun project.

On day one we tracked drums and rhythm guitar for 6 songs live with lead singer Chaz putting down scratch vocals in the control room. In the drum room I used my Shure SM81's as overheads, Electrovoice ND-868 on the kick, Shure SM-57 on the snare and Sennheiser MD-421's on the rack and floor toms. Also had a single AKG C-414 as a room mic. The overheads ran through API 312 preamps and then were compressed through the Distressors, the kick was also API and compressed with a DBX 160A. Snare mic went through the Avalon VT-737. Tom mic pre's were the Soundcraft Ghost. As we were getting drum sounds I soon realized the importance of the cow bell in this band's sound ("I say more cow bell!") so I mic'd that with an SM-57 as well. The guitarist, named X-Bomb, played through a Marshall guitar rig that was mic'd with a 57 and a Neumann TLM-103 through SyTech preamps. Drummer Jesse and X-Bomb played tightly together and grooved really well even though X-Bomb was a recent addition to the band, and it was decided that we would track basics without a click, to give the recording more of a live feel.

By the end of day one we felt we had had a very successful tracking day, but after further review on day two we decided to re-cut one song, called "Rock And Roll Sleazy Mother Fuckers". After re-cutting those we went on to overdub bass guitar. Bass player Kenny C. rocked the house with blistering fury playing a Firebird bass through an Ampeg SVT rig. I ran a DI and mic'd the cab with a Sennheiser. After tracking bass X-Bomb was up again for overdubs. We doubled rhythm guitars and tracked leads. The leads really pushed the band's sound over the top, with X-Bomb placing awesome fills and licks throughout the songs as well as in the solo breaks. By the end of day 2 all the instrument tracking was done. Over the course of the following week Chaz came in for a couple of 2-3 hour vocal sessions. I had recommended tracking vocals this way because I wanted his voice to sound fresh on every song.

We spend the next full day session mixing, and the band brought copies home to listen to. Some changes were discussed and a couple of short tweak sessions followed until we had an ideal mix in the can. I took the final mixes home and began mastering them in Izotope Ozone4. I believe the album will be completed before the new year and released in January. Great guys to work with and a really fun project. ROCK ON! \m/

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