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Violet Ray EP, the pianist, new gear, and WRUW 

http://www.fawm.org                                             http://www.wruw.org                                               http://www.facebook.com/violetraymusic

Hey!

So, I hope that your holidays were good.  Mine were great and kinda sad, as we began the process of saying goodbye to a dear person in the family.  However, the good was very good.  The Violet Ray recording is coming together nicely, although I ended up mixing and mastering 2 songs for their 1st show on December 23 and then finished up on the last 3 after that in a separate mastering session.  Well, they don't really match up, as they were done at different times.  But, that will happen.  However, I don't finish until I am satisfied, so I am going to finish that up this weekend.  The nice thing is that the project went very well and the results are going to be fantastic.

I also got to see both DD Moto and Violet Ray in a concert together and they were both GREAT!  Crazy to see them live playing the songs that I know so well.  I love how they just get down to business and don't mess around.  No fluff...just rock.  It kind of felt like a reunion, of sorts, as I have recorded both of these bands' releases and I got to see some great friends--Jay, Rich, and Josh...and Jay's wife, Paula, too!  Great people and it was long overdue for all of us to hang out.

February is coming, so I am going to be taking the month off to write and record my own music.  If any of you are songwriters or have thought about doing something incredibly creative, I would suggest that you join me (and 3000 other across the globe) for www.fawm.org.  It is a songwriting challenge where you start on February 1 with nothing and attempt to write, record, and post 14 original songs in the 28 days of February.  Sounds crazy, eh?  Well, it definitely is worthwhile and probably is the most satisfying thing that I do each year musically.  Some people do 1 microphone recordings, EDM, or sample based music.  Others, like me, do full on demos recorded entirely with microphones.  I try to put out the best songs that I can with the best production that I can manage....but, it is basically a new, finished song every 2 days, so some little things have to slide sometimes.

New Gear!

CAD D12 microphone-Kick, bass, floor tom, etc...

ART Head Amp 6--headphone amp that has lots of clarity, volume, and mix options

2 Shure M267 mic preamps with level lock limiters from the 1970s--I have been trying these out on kick, snare, and bass...pretty cool!

AND>>>

2 Tesla/Telefunken EMP124 channel strips from mixing consoles that I am working on setting up in a rack.  SUPER COOL!  Who knows what all will sound good with these, but I just love the idea of old console channels with the input and output transformers, along with a "pultec-esque" eq section on each channel.  

Oh, I forgot to mention....I also got 2 Unidyne 454 mics, which were the predecessor to the Shure SM57.  Those are too cool and really have all of the best qualities of the SM57, but with an added warmth that the 57 lacks at times.  They are great on many things and I am super happy to have a pair.  

Continuing projects:

As far as other projects go, I am working on mixing/editing/mastering the entire works of a pianist in Cleveland who is in steady decline with dementia.  My job is to take his recordings and to mix/edit/master them to be preserved before he has the ability to play them or articulate what he has written and played.  Pretty deep and important project.  I never thought that I would have this role with these stakes....

Another project that I have been working on is editing/converting about a million sound clips of famous and not-so-famous musicians and bands for WRUW 91.1 FM Cleveland.  I love that station (and always have) and was very happy to help.  The project is nearly finished, thank goodness!  The sound clips were all on Minidiscs, jumbled all together, and I am putting them into WAV form to edit and then converting them all into MP3s for them to play on the air.  It was kind of cool to run across Elvis Costello saying "Hello, this is Elvis Costello and you are listening to WRUW 91.1 FM Cleveland".  

I am scheduling for the Spring, so let me know what you are looking to do.  My schedule gets tight pretty quickly, so let me know about the live gig recording plans, especially.

Best wishes to you!  Don't forget--  www.fawm.org

Rob

Tis the season....For RECORDING! 

Greetings to everyone, 

Tomorrow, I will be meeting with Violet Ray at their house in the Cleveland area for a planning meeting about their upcoming recording.  I am excited, but have too many thoughts to express.  I hope that I will be able to ask the right questions and listen for the answers that will give the their insights and goals.  It is so easy to have aspirations of my own, but the bands' wishes are the most important!   I still currently play out and record,so I am in the same boat when it comes to publishing the music that I am a part of.  Most of all, I want the band to hear the recording and be proud, but there is SO much that goes into it in order to make that possible.  In terms of my own music, I was just mixing a song that will probably never see the light of day that I wrote and recorded nearly 4 years ago.  However, I was focused on improving something that I wrote and recorded in a serious rush.  I really should post before and after clips...Well, maybe I will....

 

On a completely different note, I have been thinking about the studio scene a bit....  I read, watch, and investigate a great deal about recording and find that there are several different teams.  One team are those who just want to dabble and that is it.   They don't even care if their music/recordings get out at all.  I can't relate to those in the sense that I always write and record with the intention that the songs will be heard by others.  Now, I am not the sort that writes songs FOR others, but my intention is for my songs to be of a quality that others SHOULD hear.  I really just want others to hear them...I don't even care if they buy them.  I just want the songs to be heard. I have no problem with this team....     

Another team is one that says that everyone should record with the best names in gear or it is utter crap.  Some of those names are Neve, Neumann, API, SSL, Universal Audio, and such.....  Well, those names are really nice and the sounds are even nicer, but LET'S GET REAL....(Go ahead with your "sour grapes" argument)  .At least in Cleveland, the only bands who are consistently being paid are COVER BANDS.  Cleveland IS NOT the "Rock-n-Roll Capital" any longer....it does not really support local music (please comment....I will answer).  People who play original music do it because they would do it regardless of being paid or not.  In fact, many times (this happened to me so many times and even recently) the bands playing a show will decide to give their pay to the band or artist that is on the road or who has traveled the farthest.  What I am saying is....When you go see 3 or 4 bands, there is a very distinct possibility that the 2 or 3 bands have decided to give all of their pay (often $25 or a little more) to one of the bands on the bill.  So, how are they going to pay for a studio who is charging thousands for a recording?!?!?  I will not charge for my recording like that ( I even barter for recording).  I also disagree with the notion that good sounds only are from studios and equipment that are $3000+/channel.   I just disagree.     As far as my approach....I want to always work on great sounding recordings.  I want great writing, great recording, and great impact.  Music is supposed to be impactful in some way--otherwise, why do it?!?!  As far as sound quality, I know that there is a difference between quality and the lack of quality.  I also think that we live in a consumerist society that really believes that name brands are the sole proprietors of quality.  Put it this way, do you think that your phone pictures are garbage because you don't own a Nikon?  Many people do.....I don't.

There is another team....who believes is merit.  I am on that team.  I love those who create for creation's sake.  They must create.   I also love those who create because they are compelled to do so.  It is the character of the creator.  That is the best.  I always want to be around that and it motivates me to do more, do better, and encourage others to do the same.  The drive that is internal and infectious.

Let me know what you think!  Feel free to disagree.  That is a way that I learn and also is a way for me to connect with those who can teach me something.

Best wishes to you.

Rob 

 

Fall officially begins the new recording season... 

Now that the cold weather is upon us, it is time to get back into the studio and record some tracks! If you are anything like me, I tend to spend the warm weather writing songs and playing shows, rather than being inside holed up recording (unless I have a band to record). Now is the time when I start to get excited to get back in front of the microphones to record what I have been working on. Kind of like reading a great book--every time that I am not reading it I am still thinking about when I will be able to have the time to get back to reading. Writing and recording can be that way, too, as right now I cannot wait to have even a few minutes to plan, record, or mix. 

The planning right now is for a band from Fairview Park, Ohio, called Violet Ray. They are going to record a 6 song EP with me at their house in the next month and I am already obsessed with how I am going to get the sounds that I am envisioning in my head. There was a point today when I was texting one of the band members about my ideas for microphones and mic preamps on certain instruments and realized that I was being kind of a nut. I stopped texting after that, but am still thinking about the combinations that will produce the best sounds. Well, I guess that it is better to have someone recording you that is obsessed about the sounds--even though the recording doesn't even start for nearly a month....Haha

As far as the new gear, I have an Audio Technica AT802 coming this week, but that is kind of a small deal compared to what else is coming.... I have a Black Lion Audio B12a microphone preamp on the way!  That is very exciting because it is the first of the API 312 type preamps that I will have.  They are very much the sound of American rock-n-roll.  I will probably use it for all sorts of things when tracking individually, but what will I use it for in a live session?  Hmmm...I guess that will take some experimentation and thinking.  The reality is that I use many different types of preamps and am super excited with any new ones that I get.  This is no exception.  Most likely, I will track with it on something, but then re-amp tracks that would benefit from a little kick in the backside.  Sometimes that happens after a recording session....

Best wishes to all.  Feel free to comment or contact me.  I love to hear what everyone else is in to.....

 

Site is up and 31 Pumpkins Recording is moving! 

Hey there Everyone, 

I finally have gotten this site up and going.  It is kind of strange when I am getting a site up after the first recordings have been published.  At any rate, I am excited to offer something very different than what is offered out there now as far as recording.  The other thing that I feel good about offering is myself, as I am an active recording and touring musician who will have a presence during the recording process, but also keep things relaxed.  I have always enjoyed recording with those engineers who make the process feel chilled out but also who let me know that they know what they are doing so I don't have to.  The person who has influenced me the most is Mike McDonald, who had Big Toe Recording.  He always just focused on what was the most important and made us all feel very comfortable.  Very great person and influence....

Gear:

My obsession with the green-faced Altec mic preamps has finally concluded (hopefully), as I got an Altec 1592a to go with my Altec 1611a.  Additionally, I have been equally obsessed with the EV 635a microphone--the one that many call the "Elvis" mic and also has been the standard for field interviews in the media for decades.  It was so successful that other microphone manufacturers tried to emulate that mic, so I have also been buying several Audio Technica AT802 microphones.  This obsession began with a conversation that I had when returning a borrowed Shure SM7 microphone.  My friend told me about how several of his most influential recording engineers will go with an EV 635a whenever they are in doubt of which mic to use.  That was enough for me to go down that worm hole....  Well, I not only have those, but also the competitors' attempts to emulate that mic.  On a musical note, I am a HUGE fan of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Dap Tone Records.  They are able to record albums that could pass for 60s and 70s funk and soul records because they use vintage recording equipment.  I was very sad when Sharon Jones passed away earlier this year, but I am sure that she left her mark.  If anyone is familiar with the funk and soul sounds of the 1960s and 1970s, you know the sounds of the EV 635a, AT802, and all of the green-faced Altec Lansing mic preamps.....

Other....

So, I have written 3 versions of this and lost at least half each time....I am going to call it a day on this and just post it.  

I have many recording jobs coming up and the calendar is getting a little crazy for me.  After all, I want to be able to focus on each project with my full attention.  I will be off in February due to www.fawm.org.  That is my time to do everything that I want as far as writing and recording my own material.....check it out!  Very worthwhile and challenging...

Feel free to comment or reach out to me.  I love to hear from people.

Best wishes to you....

Rob

 

 

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