Saturday, June 07, 2003


So much has been happening at SugarHill Studios. Most important stuff first: Thursday, Steve Christensen, and I tracked Pale's rhythm section for the two songs I have been hired to produce, ('Glowing Black' and 'Love Me More'). Steve and I showed up at 9:30am to prepare for a 12 noon studio call. We started out by making sure that the tracking room in Studio A was free and clear of any other drums so we would have a nice tight room. Once we cleared it out, we started setting up a monster collection of drum mics. The most unusual call we made was to use Neumann U-87's on the top heads of the toms. They sounded really big, not as overamped as our normal 421's. We set up a pair of Neumann KM-86's widely spaced in the room, and for good measure, we set up a Neumann U-67 above Travis' (Pale's drummer's) head. That mic we ran really hot so it would distort the 2" analog tape.

All this prep would have been for naught if either the drummer sucked (he didn't, he was fantastic), or if the kit sounded like ass, (it didn't, Robbie Parrish produced an amazing drum sound). The drums went down incredibly well, then it was time for the bass.

I had followed Steve Christensen's advice, and rented an Ampeg SVT Classic III and cabinet from local backline supplier, (and killer drum tuner/tech), Toby Davis. Steve had used it on a Slovak Girl recording, and I was impressed. Anyway, as an experiment, I nutted up for the rental and delivery, and crossed my fingers that it would be worth it. Well, HELL yeah it was. Stephen, (Pale's bassist), came ready to rock. By the time we set up the rig, mic'd it, tweeked it, and found the sound, Stephen was ready with new strings on the bass. He totally smoked his parts in just a couple of takes!!! They sounded really awesome. For the song, "Glowing Black", we cranked the amp until it just started to distort, then backed it off a bit and the tone just flowed from Stephen's fingers. On "Love Me More" we tried a more aggressive, (read: distorted) tone, and once again, Stephen just owned the sound by playing a really great part.

At the end of the day, we had an unbelievably tight, focused, and rocking rhythm section. Next we will do guitars and keys, I believe, on Thursday, June 12th. In the mean time I will be doing some more vocal pre production with Calvin and (not- really-)British Brian.

Today Kevin Ryan and I worked together to track vocals on Craig Byrnes' song: Blue Day. Craig delivered a really passionate, authentic sounding rock vocal. Kevin is SUCH a bad influence on me......before I knew it I was compressing Craig's vocal with an 1176 limiter with all the buttons pushed in....( 'nuke' mode ). It sounded great. If I had tried that stunt without Kevin's supernatural compression vibe, it would have sucked.

After we finished tracking the vocals, Kevin engineered while I laid in a distorted guitar part on the choruses. Kevin plans to get me a different bass part to round out the tracking on this tune. We mix the first week in July, and Craig is going to have a really great song on his hands.

After Kevin and I finished, we recapped our plans for Courtney Powers, and the looming Sarah Sharp record. We are both really excited about these two projects. We are hoping to reach critical mass on both projects next week and get started recording.

Finally. This is the obituary of my cool office upstairs at SugarHill. For those who have met and worked with me there during the past year, you know my office as the cool sanctuary above the scene at SugarHill. Well, we have decided to move Studio C, (our ProTools mixing/editing suite) into that space. Yours truly will be inhabiting the current Studio C room when it gets finished being renovated. I have already mourned the loss, and have embraced the change. Everyone, including me and all of our clients will LOVE the improved acoustics, and the private surroundings of the new Studio C.

More Adam Berry tracking this weekend, and a (now rare) vocal session with Donnie Vondra.



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