the studio journal

Tuesday November 3rd 1:15 AM

We're staying at this place across the railroad tracks called Lake Fairbanks. The apartment owner Travis seems cool. He owns a pesticide business and fed us lasagna. Wait. Maybe he put poison in the lasagna. It was tasty, though. I'm about to eat some more. 

Tuesday November 3rd 1:04 PM

We just got out of the first recording session at Full Sail. The studio is majorly awesome. We're recording to platinum studio master audio tape and then dumping to pro-tools for overdubbing. Juan "Pericles" Covas is our first instructor. He recorded Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Tito Puente, and various other island legends. He's on us about details we never think about. Use the same tuner for all guitars. We had a difficult time adjusting to the click track. Basically, Trevor plays to the click, then Dave and I play to Trevor's guitar track.

Juan is a purist and believes that correct microphone placement and good ears are the only things you need for a good recording. He's got two kick drum mics, two snare drum mics, one for each tom, one for the dummy snare, one for the hat, two overheads, and two in a 110 degree angle behind the drummer to catch the "drummer's ears." He says he once recorded a 40 piece orchestra with one microphone, and it would have been twice as good if he'd had two. My bass is going through a Teletronix Leveling Amplifier Model LA-2A. He called it "the tube compressor."

On an unrelated note, Pollo Tropical is exactly 100 times as good as Burger King. I got a quarter chicken, black beans and rice, and a roll for $4.04. That's where we're eating every day.

Tuesday November 3rd 10:43 PM

Travis has been the most excellent host imaginable. He's dragged an ethernet cable from his apartment to ours, he's provided us with speakers to listen to music, and he's dug out some fishing poles so we can fish in the lake. He might actually be planning to kill us.

Wednesday November 4th 10:09 AM

The studio today is a warehouse. Yesterday we were in a magnificent rhomboid room with walls of speaker mesh that magnified the tiniest sound and deadened the harsh noises. We're recording guitar, auxilliary percussion, and vocals today. Juan could tell that Trevor had not tuned his guitar with the same tuner as yesterday.

Wednesday November 4th 1:17 PM

Because of anti-piracy laws, we can't give the tracks we just recorded to any of the students or Juan to mix until Michelle releases them to us through the U.S. Mail. We got some contact info from the kids who recorded us. I'm now in the light storage hallway on the upper deck of Studio B. There's a spiral staircase leading to a small balcony over the mixing console. With all the light hookups, I wonder if this is a performance space or something.  

Wednesday November 4th 3:01 PM

Juan just made Trevor sing with a pen in his mouth. It improved his enunciation and diaphragm control. This pen is kind of gross now.


Wednesday November 4th 3:53 PM

Kim got the idea that if we switch vocal mics and hang one above Trevor so that he sings up to it, we might get better takes. It made an enormous difference. Drums are loud. Even recorded drums.


Wednesday November 4th 6:50 PM

Trevor just told me to write this down. Every bar that we book a show at we should send a CD so they can play it in their bar as build up for the show. We got a rough mix from Juan at the end of the session. They need to be mixed. That said, I'm very impressed with the quality of the sound. The tube compressor sounds wicked. I overhead Dave's dad telling him to take notes during the session. I doubt this is what he meant. 

Thursday November 5th 2:30 PM

Today's sessions are with Chris Jay, former sound guy of Sublime. He put this wacky thing called a sub-kick on Dave's drum which catches frequencies lower than the human ear can detect. So the whales can rock out or something. My bass went through an Anthony DiMaria ADL 600 High Voltage Tube Amp with a fast attack so it comes out all smooth and thumpy. I recorded the bass track for Dirty South in the control room with Chris and five students watching and Dave and Trevor trying to get the van keys out of my pocket. 

Chris does some booking at a place called Will's Pub. I think we're going to check it out on Friday. He told us a story about this stray hippie chick who tried to hitchhike across the country with three dudes and a kitten. The other three made it and the kitten ran off in Georgia, but the hippie chick is in New Mexico jail for "aggressive panhandling." 

Thursday November 5th 6:32 PM 

A recent memory. We were recording guitars and Jake clicked the talkback button and said "Hey Trevor, could you tell James to move the mic closer to the cone?" Trevor said "Who, what now?" 

So Jake said "Tell that Emo kid to point the microphone at the speaker." Immediately Trevor turned to the emo kid and everyone in the control room exploded laughing. There followed a series of savage punchlines about Emo kids, with the penultimate "sister's pants" joke being topped by "His sister would have a hard time pulling off that bulge." 

James came in the control room at that moment and said "Who's sister, what bulge?" and we exploded again. Chris said "Before you leave, you need to punch everyone in this room.