Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

Hayden and Rachel from Great North recorded this lovely Christmas Carol the other day and I added a bit of bass and organ it's available as a free download.

Hope you're having a great Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Little Monster Studio Office Christmas Party

If you didn't already know earlier in the year I brewed my own Cider. (the picture above is some of it in bottles.) It had just been in bottles long enough for me to open it for a Little Monster Studios Office Christmas party. Instead of me just sat at home on my own I decided to invite a whole bunch of people I had been recording/doing live sound for etc and a whole bunch of supportive friends to taste the cider and eat some snacks. Great North and Mimsy Cable played a few songs (and were excellent!) and everyone had a great time. 

I am so appreciative of everyone thats helped me over the past few years in getting to where I am its nice to say thanks once every now and then. I had Apple and Pear ciders open (the Apple tasted good but I was not so keen on the Pear) and various nibbles. I made a gingerbread house and 2 types of macarons (wish I'd taken a photo of them!)

Heres a few photos from the evening so you can pretend you were there. 

Mimsy Soundchecking (later photos are all blurry!)
I baked a gingerbread house.

I was so proud of this pizza, probably the most delicious pizza I have ever made.
Georgie (who takes excellent photos for me sometimes) and Jonathan (who plays excellent keyboards and guitar)

Cass (Lisa Crawley/Mimsy Cable/Bannerman/various other bands!) Chelsea (Watercolours/Teacups)

Great North about to play

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mimsy Cable Keyboard recording

We started recording some keys for the Mimsy Cable album. All the songs are written on piano so they're quite keys heavy and we're going to be working on making them more guitar focused, but I think they'll still end up keyboard driven. We recorded some Nord sounds and Mimsys Pianet T (although its quite hissy and slightly out of tune it sounds pretty good)

I ran the Nord sounds through an amp while we were recording to get it to sound a bit warmer and earthy and get some nice valve distortion happening. I actually think the Nord sounds pretty good, you'd never really know it wasn't a real Wurlitzer/Rhodes etc in the mix even if you probably could tell on its own... but who's to say you didn't record a Wurlitzer that actually sounded like that anyway... Plus the Nord is in tune (which the Wurli/Rhodes we had available to us weren't)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Great North Pianos

Dale came over and we recorded most of the piano parts on the Great North album, Hayden also plays a couple of songs on piano, but they're more suited to the sound of the piano he bought recently so we plan to head over to his house to record them at some point. I think we're making good progress but theres lots to do yet!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mimsy Cable - Drum recording

We started recording drums for Mimsy Cable's album yesterday. Trusty Alex Freer stepped up to fill drum duties on the record. Alex is a really great drummer and I have worked with him on so many different recordings now: Artisan Guns, Cool Rainbows, Mali Mali, Watercolours, Bearcat and now this record.

He brought in an old Hayman drum kit and we went through songs that suited that kits toms yesterday (photo above) but switched things around today and used his warmer with shorter sustain Yamaha toms (photo below) for a couple of songs that had more of a tom focus.

I tried the MD421 on kick and it seems to be sounding really nice, it was too clicky for my liking inside the drum but as an outside kick mic it works well, lots of punch. I've got the D112 sat inside the kick on some dampening to capture a bit more click and a bit more low end.

Friday, November 25, 2011

More Great North Guitars

Strahan came over for more guitar recording yesterday toward the Great North Album.

We have about 3 or 4 songs left to add guitar too, but most of them need piano before we can get on with more guitar.

I've been recording both Ribbon and SM57 on Strahans Bassman (or sometimes my Princeton depending on the song)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Great North Album 2 guitars

Today was the first of what will be a fair few days of guitar recording with Strahan for the Great North album while we search for tone heaven and add new guitar parts and various layers etc/try to use all of our pedals at once in an attempt to open a black hole... 

Also the piano is still hanging out in my room from having redone Longtime Love with Mimsy this week, I didn't post about it but we re did the song with separate piano and vocals. So ignore any previous lengthy spiel about how it sounded magical live, it kinda did but it sounded better done seperately. So we decided to redo it. This is life/recording.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Longtime Love

Mimsy came over to record a quiet song "Longtime Love". We're currently waiting for her band/chosen musicians to be in the country and available so we can get on with the rest of the record. But this one we're going to leave really sparse Vocals, Piano and maybe a guitar. Because of that I thought it'd be nice to make it a point of difference on the album and record Vocals and Piano live in one take, not to a click, not even with headphones on. The idea being that it'd sound like Mimsy just at home singing her song. I put up a couple of room mics to try and to capture that sensation of being in the same room as her.

I left the front on the piano to isolate the Vocal mics from the piano and the piano mics from the vocal as both were going to be quite quiet and then mic'd the piano from the back for a really warm rich piano tone. Mimsy also played with the damper pedal on to keep the tone really warm. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Great North

Spent the weekend just been recording the Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals, Bass and Drums for 4 more songs for the Great North Album. This could potentially be the last Drum tracking we need to do...

I think this is the start of something really good.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Great North Album #2

This weekend we started the initial tracking for Great Norths second Album, they like to try and get a live feel for recording. When I recorded their EP we tracked Drums, Bass, Keys and Acoustic live and then recorded Vocals and Electric Guitar on top. Then for their first album we recorded Drums, Bass and Acoustic guitar live with a guide keyboard track for most of the songs (which we redid on a real piano later) and one or 2 we did with a live lead vocal.

Before we started this album we had a think about what really worked last time and for me all the tracks that stood out as being my favourite performances were the ones we did with a live vocal. (Newfoundland, I Feel Alive and Hands) Something about them seemed to stand out as being more sincere or more real. I think we all relished in the slight vocal imperfections so this album we're mostly recording live vocals with Drums, Bass and Acoustic guitar.

The vocals are being tracked through my new Brent Averill 1073 DMP. Its essentially like having a 1073 microphone pre-amplifier section from a vintage Neve console on my desk making all my recordings sound just that little bit more delicious! Hooray! It finally arrived in the morning of the first day of tracking and is sounding lovely so far.

We got basic tracks for 7 songs done over the weekend. More recording fun next weekend (and the weekend after and the weekend after that and the one after that...)

I stuck a Studio Electronics C4 through the shockmount of the Baby Bottle to give me options for the Acoustic Sound. I'll probably end up using the Baby Bottle, its a less precise warmer sound which I think works well for Great North, but options are good.
Day #2 of Tracking Rachels using my Bass for the recording, hers is much nicer to play for smaller hands but the active pickups sound too pretty and bright. I'm getting a clean DI'd signal and one through my sansamp. We also redid the bass on a song through my new DMP, it sounded amazing, old and warm but detailed and punchy. Instant bass tone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tied On Teeth

Last Friday I tracked a single with Thames band Tied on Teeth.  Got it all done in a day, drums and bass live and then Guitars and Vocals on top.

I've been playing around with XY overheads for so long but never really been satisfied with the sound I was getting from them. I thought I was getting too roomy a sound with AB in the past and having listened to them carefully I really didn't like the recorderman technique I tried recently on the Mimsy Cable recording and the Great North album demos. Having recently read an article on stereo mic configurations and listened to a lot of different examples and also mixed a Watercolours song that we tracked with AB overheads I think I might be leaning back towards them, I tried it out on these guys and they sound great. Much more defined stereo image than XY and yes slightly more roomy but I think in a good way.

We used an array of guitars for the guitar tracking, it was so easy to just keep adding stuff and now I have to work out what is necessary and whats not. In the picture below Hugh's got a cloth covering the strings to mute them so he can strum all the strings and just play the one fretted note to get a really percussive sound.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I've never really noticed the little stats section of blogger until I recently upgraded to the new look dashboard... when I did I noticed to my surprise that I was near 10,000 views. THATS A LOT OF VIEWS. I guess somebody out there maybe looks at this thing. Crazy. Well just now I hit 10,000 views 

(at least 2 of those view counts are mine from being frustrated at it being sat at 9,998)

I haven't been posting an awful lot recently, mainly because I don't like to post without pictures much because I figure thats all people are interested in and recently I haven't been taking photos (partially due to absent mindedness, partially due to awkwardness of taking photos of people all the time)

But nevertheless work is being done, slowly but surely it is happening.

(there I said it, in big letters too)

The other week I was working at Fashion Week, I did sound for Watercolours (Fashion Week Edition featuring; Tiny Ruins, She's So Rad and Boy Crush) at the Liam/Ruby show.

It was a somewhat difficult setup (guitar keys drums cello and vocals)(I always find cello without a pickup a bit difficult live) in a really large reverby old printing factory. But we got it to work in the end. I bought a $2.50 piezo pickup from surplustronics for the cello. It didn't sound amazing but I could get it louder than a mic without feeding back and it sounded kinda like a cello. I also mixed a live recording of the band that morning which should find its way on to a video somewhere at some point maybe... if it does I'll let you know. I'm interested to hear how it sounds.

Look heres some pictures from

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Avalanche City Tour

The past few weeks I've been on tour doing sound for Avalanche City & Luke Thompson. I think we all had a really good time and pretty much all of the shows went really well. I've stolen various Photos from Ben the drummer, Snapstar and some of my own to post up here;

Avalanche City playing at the Ascension Belfry in Matakana

Alaska playing at the Masonic Tavern

Avalanche City at the Studio in Auckland
Avalanche City at the Studio in Auckland

Luke Thompson and Friends playing in Hamilton
Setting up at the Pheasant Plucker in Rotorua
Avalanche City sounchecking in Tauranga (note the large speaker on the left hand side isn't plugged in, its just being used to lift the tiny D&B tops off the subs. They're crazy small, powerful and sound amazing!)
Setting up at Black Barn Vineyard Cellar Door in Napier

Avalanche City playing at Hope Bros in Wellington
Avalanche City at Hope Bros in Wellington
Avalanche City playing in Feilding
End of tour group shot!


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