Phil Collins sure loves his gates

I can safely bet that when you hear the word gate, you don’t immediately think of Phil Collins. Sadly, myself and plenty other recording engineers out there might.

It’s pretty normal to think of a gate as something that opens and closes, allowing things to pass in and out. Well, in the audio world, this is exactly what a gate does.

Let me sum it up really easily for you. Everyone knows the badass drum part on “In The Air Tonight”. DO DO, DO DO, do do, do do, do, do. That spotlighted the use of gates (more accurately gated reverb) on drums.

And Phil Collins was, and still is, the god of using gates.


Going inside: Jon Brion’s “Her Ghost”

Jon Brion’s influence on music is one that can’t be overlooked. A very early post of mine stated “Jon Brion is God. This is not up for argument.” Strong words I still stand by.

I’ve ranted on and on—in many posts—about my admiration for Mr. Brion. This post is a little different. I want to take a song from his only solo record “Meaningless” and break it apart—provide a little background into the admiration I’ve grown for the song writing and production genius of Jon Brion.

From a guy who has lived in Boston for almost a decade. this song has a close place to my heart. “Her Ghost” is a track from “Meaningless” written while he was a Boston resident. I can create an amazing mental picture of him in a Boston apartment pouring his heart out over his thoughts of this woman he sings of.


Being Peter Katis


photo by Michael Murray from the calcutta blog

Bands like Interpol, The National, Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Fanfarlo, Mates of State have all become widely known, recognized, and loved amongst the music scene. They’re all great musicians who write great songs.

But there is one strong glue that holds all these bands together and has helped put them into our line of vision (or ears). That man is Peter Katis of Tarquin Studios. And guess what, he does it out of the comfort of his home.

I’m a sucker for the man behind the scenes because my entrance into music was known that if I was lucky, I would be the man credited in the liner notes. This is the life of a record producer/engineer who does it not for the money, but for the love of his craft. (more…)

One night is all it takes

jaymccarrol[audio at the bottom. listen while you read!]
I consider myself an extremely fortunate man when it comes to the musicians I have been able to work with. The top of the list might be Jay McCarrol (not to be confused with Jay McCarroll)

Jay is one of the most unassuming musicians you will ever meet. He sits down at a piano and instead of playing one of his songs (which he almost refuses to do if there is an audience) he will serenade you with Disney songs, video game scores, and my personal favorite, Jurassic Park scores. (more…)

Trust your engineer

tom-dowdMost average music listeners don’t know what an engineer does. This honestly, is how most of them like to be known. If the engineer does a great job on an album, the people who really care will take the time to seek out who put to tape the amazing sounds the band was creating.

The average music listener will pick up an album, listen to it, and say yey or ney pretty quickly within the first track or two. And I KNOW this has a lot to do with what the engineer has done to it. (more…)

Mixing is the butter on your Lobster

reel to reelMost people know what they love when they listen to music. Some love the vocals, some the vibe, some the drums, some the nostalgic feeling they get when they hear a song.

Not many people understand the art of mixing music. When you tell most people that your are working on mixing an album they think you are a DJ. Not. The. Case.

Mixing an album in professional recording terms can mean a million different things. I can only type so much… (more…)

My journey with a Fender Rhodes

stage73-RhodesYes, I went to Berklee College of Music. And I studied Music Production and Engineering. Does that give me any credibility about my opinion of music? You decide. (and actually let me know because I am still wondering)

All that I know for sure, is that I was exposed to some of the most amazing musicians and musical minds I will ever meet. One very underrated musician at that school was Jesse Parmet. A great friend of mine and all around amazing guy. He was soft spoken but the passion he had for making great music is unsurpassed in my eyes. If Motown ever came back around and needed a session guitarist, Jesse would be the creamy white center of the Oreo guitar section Berry Gordy assembled. (put ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown’ on your Netflix list if you missed that reference) (more…)

Woods, Lake, Fire, Beer=Great album making

Japhy Ryder-No Consequence

I have been fortunate to have some amazing recording experiences in my life. One that will always stay with me is the week I spent with Japhy Ryder recording their album ‘No Consequence’.

We took over an abandoned house on a lake, setup a mobile studio, and traveled by canoe/paddleboat to get to the studio most of the week. It was a long trip down the mountain from the studio to find a convenience store to supply us with enough beer, but in the end we walked away with an amazing album that we were all proud of. Not because of the final product, but more for the experience of making it happen. When you can setup by a fire in a large wood paneled room and capture musicians playing their hearts out, you walk away feeling amazing. (more…)