Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Office Christmas Party

No this is not turning in to a food blog but here are a few treats I made for the Little Monster Studio Office Christmas Party a (to go alongside this years batch of cider of course) I know I technically don't have any staff or even an 'office' but I thought I'd worked hard enough this year to warrant a repeat of last years christmas party.

I baked THREE flavours of Macarons, Toblerone, Raspberry and White Chocolate and Salted Caramel. Plus a giant gingerbread house and soft pretzels among other things.

Jocee Tuck played some songs and the annual staff awards were given out, I managed to win a large portion of them again somehow.

Great North - Folk Album Of The Year Nomination & Video

As well as Watercolours winning Critics Choice at the New Zealand Music Awards recently it was announced that Great North have been nominated for Folk Album Of The Year at the New Zealand Music Awards for the album Halves that I produced; http://www.nzmusicawards.co.nz/2012/11/30/4977/

The winner is announced on the 27th of January at the Auckland Folk Festival in Kumeu. Just to be nominated is a huge achievement and I'm really proud of them. So amazing to see something I've believed in being recognised as one of the best folk albums of the year.

Great North also recently released the beautiful video for Lead Me To The Light starring the ex Mayor of Waitakere Bob Harvey;

Thursday, November 8, 2012

'The Concert' in Christchurch & Leigh Sawmill

Last weekend I travelled down to a somewhat cold and wet Christchurch with Avalanche City to do sound for them at 'The Concert' which was organised to thank people who had volunteered/will volunteer in the Christchurch earthquake clean up. To get in you had to have either done 4 hours of volunteer work or signed up to do it in the future. The above photo is from my view, a rather nice old Yamaha Desk.

Despite the weather a fair few people had shown up and it was a pretty decent day of music!

The next day we flew back to Auckland (on a flight almost entirely full of musicians from the concert) in time for me to be picked up at the airport by Hollie of Tiny Ruins, Delaney Davidson and Silke and then head straight for Leigh to set up and soundcheck at the Sawmill for the Tiny Ruins & Delaney Davidson early show there that night. I don't think I'd ever seen Leigh Sawmill that full before! Both acts were amazing, it was a lovely show.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

AUSA End Of Daze

Last Friday I did sound for the Auckland University Students Asocciation's End Of Daze event with Lydia Cole, Randa, The Wyld and Loui the Zu. When it stopped raining (see tarp hiding under the DJ booth below) it turned out to be a nice, fun day. More photos from the show here on the bFM facebook page.

Hula Hope and Avalanche City Tour.

I returned from a 6 day Australian tour with Avalanche City, late at night on Monday ready to start recording a couple of songs on the Tuesday with Hula Hope from Wellington. The Tour was great, so nice to spend some time with the Avalanche City guys and gals and interesting to do some shows in a different country.

The shows were pretty good, my low point was thinking I was going to have to mix a show stood on stage right behind the band with a particularly rowdy looking croud staring at me but my high point was discovering I could mix with the venues iPad from wherever I wanted! Hahahaha.

Back to recording with Hula Hope, the first day we recorded Acoustic Guitar and Vocals for the 2 songs and then I played a bit of Bass and the second day I added the rough outline of where drums would maybe go in one of the songs ready for me to redo later and some piano and Hula added a few harmonies and backing vocals. I have to finish adding some parts now while she's back in Wellington and send her the rough mixes!

Watercolours win VNZMA Critics Choice

Readers of this blog will know that for the past few years I have been playing guitar in and had been working with Watercolours towards some demos, as well as of course the first Watercolours single "Under"

The other week we played at the Kings Arms for the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards Critics Choice award, up against stiff competition for the award in the form of Beach Pigs and Loui the Zu. Any of the bands could've taken out the award, the other two bands were and are amazing but somehow the judges decreed Watercolours as the winner.

Its pretty special to have been involved in this project so far and hopefully I get to continue as a guitar player for as long as possible. Anyway, big congratulations to Chelsea on this award, its well deserved.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Josie Tuck - Drum recording

We spent a few days last week recording drums for Josie Tucks album with Stephen Thomas behind the kit. We got some really great sounds and tracked some really cool beats; a bit of afrobeat influence in a couple of songs, some cool percussion as part of the kit and a fair amount of jazz influences, even some free jazz moments! Lots of the parts are almost symphonic which should be a good base for the type of instrumentation and arrangements that Josie intends to have on top. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yasamin - Horns and Vibraphone

 A couple of weekends ago I recorded some horns, vibraphone, backing vocals and claps etc on Yasamins songs. Then a few days later my computers hard drive died. Its all back up and running now but there was a scary few days while I tried to reinstall OSX and had to take it to the doctors. Fortunately all of my recording projects are safe on an external drive and then backed up on to another! (if you're reading this back up everything you have NOW!)

Anyway back to recording, Finn brought with him his Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Saxaphone and Mellophone to track the horn parts on a couple of songs, I often end up trying to make a full brass sound with one trumpet but it really doesn't cut it, you need all the different horns and their tonal differences to build that full sound. Fortunately Finn can play them all and thus became our one man horn section!

Matt was also back, this time with the vibraphone to add in a couple of places and we recorded a couple of Matt and Cams BV's and some claps.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Yasamin Al-Tiay EP recording

Last weekend we started recording Yasamin Al-Tiays EP and all going to plan it should be all tracked this weekend!

You may notice some new gear in the photos, I am looking after it for my friend, excellent engineer and all round GC Tom Anderson of TA Audio. He's out of the country soon so I am keeping some of his stuff safe.

We started with some guide tracks and then some Cajon which I recorded with a close KM184 and then a pair of Mojave MA 200's as stereo room mics. Then Matt played some bass drum with a mallet (instead of using the Cajon's bass drum as the bass drum sounded much nicer) and we added a full drum kit to one of the songs and some snare to another and then a whole bunch of percussion... Lots of drum layers!

On Sunday we worked our way through Bass (DI'd with the Chandler TG2, I don't think I am going to be able to give that back sorry Tom) Acoustic guitar, Banjo and Ukulele. KM184's got a fair bit of use that day (I probably felt sorry for them having delegated their usual overhead/stereo duties to the Mojaves!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Teacups - Choir

We really need to work out a system of having a choir that does all the choir parts on everyones songs. I love group vocals! We recorded some choir-y parts on the Teacups EP and some foot stomps and handclaps and now I think its 99% recorded... (we just forgot 1 vocal line that Chelsea needs to sing and maybe I'll end up adding more percussion or something when it comes to mix)

Talitas presence was with us today in the form of Liz's t-shirt. (that is Talitas face on her shirt)

To capture the little choir I had KM184s in a spaced pair and then the Kiwi set to omni, we double tracked most of them and I might use the stereo mics from one take and then the Kiwi from the other and then on top of that there's other layers of the group singing different harmonies.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Josie Tuck - Banjo & Ukelele recording

Bruce came to record some Banjo and Ukulele for Josies album. A really lovely sounding Banjo makes all the difference!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ivory Coast - Drum Recording

We recorded some more drums for Ivory Coast's album over the past couple of days, we tracked a couple of new songs and then re-did some of the songs that had changed a bit since the initial drum recording and added some extra percussion here and there. Despite me having a nasty cold it was actually a fun couple of days of recording!

I tried out my Studio Projects C4's as some stereo room mics (they were ok, not sure if I'll bother again) and I had an MD421 as an extra kick mic on the floor just angled up to the front of the skin (which actually sounds really great). In total I had 14 mics on the kit, which is quite a few for me but I like to get a few options up so I can delete most of them. For one song we tracked yesterday I'll probably only be using the kick, snare and the ribbon mics. But its nice to have the others there in case maybe I wanted to have the stereo room mics for to give the drums some stereo interest or more depth or maybe I needed a little more hihat or a tom etc.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mimsy - Guides & Keyboard

Mimsy recorded some guide tracks for a couple of new songs for her record the other day, while I had my new Casio XW-P1 plugged in we tracked a couple of little keyboard parts too. There was an organ part in one of the songs that I wanted to do with something that sounded like a little combo organ rather than the Hammond and this keyboard seemed to work well for that, we managed to coax a fairly convincing tone out of it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quail State Drums

Had a fun few days recording drums for Quail States album, its something that Jono has been squireling away on for some time now in his bedroom recording to programmed drums. He enlisted Stu Harwood (Tono & the Finance Co, Proton Beast, etc etc) to play the real drums on the album and I recorded them all here over a couple of days.

I guess half of the record is a lot louder than the music I usually end up recording (seriously noisy bands I want to record you, I don't just do folk pop) which was really fun because you can get away with some slightly more flashy drum fills and loud drums are just generally more fun. Then the other half is a lot quieter, really simple drum patterns that repeat with little difference the whole way through, kinda like a motif. Amazing what a difference a real drummer makes.

Also note the couple of Ribbon mics in the bottom corners of the photo which Stu brought with him, they made for great room mics, delicious! He also brought a Great River MP2NV which we ran them through, driving them a bit on the input and controlling that with the output level. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Teacups - Piano

Ben came to record some piano and organ parts for a couple of songs on the Teacups EP. I forget how amazing the Hammond and Leslie can sound when someone who really knows how to play them is playing (and when I get the excuse of recording to turn the leslie up a bit). Getting that Hammond going is heaps of fun.  

Note to self; learn how to shred on piano.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Last week Liz from Teacups came over and recorded her remaining backing vocals, some glockenspiel and trumpet. We opted for the cheaper blue Glockenspiel because its bizarrely pitched lower than the black and white one. Although it did seem a bit frivolous recording a $40 glockenspiel with a stereo pair of Neumann KM184's it sounded great!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Josie Tuck - Xylophone

Here is a picture of Josie from our recording session last week. I said I was going to take a photo and she wanted to pretend she was actually playing so I recommended she play the super hard chord from one of her songs which is what is happening in the above photo. We recorded most if not all the Xylophone for her songs.

Both the Xylophone and Vibraphone have recorded a fair bit brighter than what they sounded like in the room but I think I'm happy with how they sound, its far easier to make them warmer than to make them brighter later on and I have a feeling that I might appreciate some of that high end when they get layered up with all the other instruments.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Josie Tuck

Josie Tuck has gone through a few name changes recently and I think she intends to come up with a band name eventually but for now lets call her Josie Tuck. We started work towards her album this week, recording guide tracks for almost all the songs and some Vibraphone for the few songs that will be based around Vibraphone (It might appear on other tracks too at some point but we'll have to wait for later in to the project to see)

This should be a really good album, its something a fair few people have been waiting for for quite some time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Valvecaster Overdrive

I built this simple Valve overdrive and just finished putting it in its case. Sounds pretty good, not much drive but just like you turned a valve amps volume up. A fair amount of volume boost though so pretty nice to drive the input of a Valve Amp. It works really well with my AC15 as I find the pedal to sound a little scooped and the AC15 has a bit more midrange than the princeton.

Its a pretty simple circuit almost all wired off the valve socket (which was a bit fiddly) so essentially its all point to point plus it runs off a standard 9VDC power supply! (but I want to read up and experiment with slightly higher voltages)

I currently like the bleak utilitarian look of the aluminium case but I might paint it later. Its pretty nice to have made something from scratch and be able to open it up and know what everything is. Will have to try some more in the future, I already have parts for a super simple feedback looper.

If you're interested in making your own its based on the Valvecaster from http://www.beavisaudio.com/projects/ValveCaster/

It even glows!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Teacups EP Drums

Spent the day recording some drums for Teacups EP with Jackson (Sharpie Crows), Chelsea and Liz. Talita is in France making beautiful food. Some of the photos on her blog make me want to cry with how delicious they look.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Great North Album Launch

All photos by Saskia Cederman

Last Saturday Great North released their album Halves (which you can listen to and buy here) They had a release show at Grey Lynn Library Hall (coincidentally on Great North rd) where I did sound. 

What a show! Both Great North and Tono and the Finance Company played amazingly, but Great Norths set seemed to captivate the entire room. Theres something exciting about being in a room with a few hundred people all silent, knowing you're all focused on listening to a band play. Great North finished their set with Halves and Tono, Jono and Stu marched in from the back of the room playing my marching drums. Obviously I knew it was going to happen but feeling the low rumble of their drums slowly creep up from behind me gave me shivers. I've tried recording them countless times now but you can't capture the sound of them being hit in real life in a big room.

Being in that room again was somewhat of a trip down memory lane, it was where I first started doing live sound properly. Some of my first paid live sound jobs were at Grey Lynn Library Hall doing sound for Ska and Pop Punk bands in 2006/2007.

Thanks to Saskia Cederman for letting me use some of her photos.

Tono and the Finance Company
Great North
Great North
Great North featuring Tono, Jono and Stu on my marching drums (they're dark infront of the band but you can just about see them)


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