Black Kettle Pre-Production, I, Pistol Mixing To Tape!

Will and Black Kettle's Kailynn West tracking demo guitars at Studio P.
Will and Black Kettle’s Kailynn West tracking demo guitars at Studio P.

Last night marked the beginning of pre-production on the new EP for recent Los Angeles transplants Black Kettle. I’m really excited about the songs these girls have come up with. And they’ve pretty quickly developed a following for themselves in L.A., after moving here from Boston at the end of August. They’re self-produced debut album, “Narrative,” made quite a splash there. Earning them a mention as one of the Boston Phoenix’s “Bands To Watch.” As good as that record is, the new stuff is even better!

While we begin that project, mixing is wrapping up on the I, Pistol EP. The exciting news there is that after making two equivalent prints to high-quality digital and analog tape, the band has decided to mix to tape. It will be the first official project mixed to the restored Ampex 440-B at Studio P. And man, does it sound gorgeous! Granted, I’ll be the first to say that analog tape does not win in every situation. But for this kind of music it is hard to beat. After a lot of hard work, I’m happy to say we’ve got the machine to do it.

Remember kids, tape machines are a fickle thing. They take a lot of care, maintenance, and knowledge to use. I was very lucky that my career began during the tape era. I have a good understanding of both the advantages, and pitfalls. If you’re planning to use analog tape at ANY point during your recording project, make sure the people and equipment you’re working with are top notch. Otherwise, you’re probably better off cutting to digital. No matter what you’ve read or heard.

Tape rolling at Studio P!

The refurbished Ampex 440 officially went into service today at Studio P. Printing a mix for the upcoming I, Pistol EP. Big thanks to Josh Florian of JCF Audio (pictured after first pass), who spent countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears getting this machine back in top form. And it sounds amazing!

The 88 on Conan Nov. 17th!

It’s been a few days. Been engineering some stuff for Hollywood Records artists Capra, continuing work on the I, Pistol EP, and putting the final touches on the refurbished Ampex machine.

But the BIG new is that my good friends in The 88 are appearing on Conan tomorrow night (Nov. 17th)! If you haven’t heard them before, here’s a fantastic chance to check them out. And by all means pick up their fantastic new self-titled album at your favorite record store or digital music purchase site!

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

It’s busy here at Studio P. It’s also nice and cool! This week will hopefully see a wrap on the I, Pistol EP. Also doing some remote work for my good friend Marc Lacuesta in Nashville. And starting pre-production on some tunes for the very talented Black Kettle! Meanwhile Raf is burning the midnight oil editing, producing, and mixing a number of projects. It’s two shifts non-stop!

More I, Pistol…Capra to come.

What a great weekend at AES in San Francisco. So many great people. Lots of great gear. Plus, an amazing city to spend a weekend in. Definitely lots of great word-of-mouth and press for JCF Audio. Josh reported to me this morning that he already has more website hits in the first week of this month than he usually gets for an entire month!

But for me, it’s back to work. Got some production work, and rough-mixing to do on the last of the four new I, Pistol tunes. Another wonderful day will be spent at Studio P.

Then tomorrow I de-camp, and head over to Studio Delux. I’ll be doing a few days of work on the new Capra record with Matt Wallace at the helm. More projects moving from the back to the front burner after that! Idle hands are the devil’s plaything.

AES Day 3 Wrap-Up

If you haven’t been following over on the Twitter feed, it was a fun day today at the AES Convention! A quick synopsis of folks who stopped by to chat…

Matt Marrin (fellow Berklee alum and long-time engineer for Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis), Bill Gould (Faith No More bassist), Bill Schnee (multi-platinum and multi-Grammy winning engineer/producer), Keith Armstrong (Mix L.A.), Doug Sax (Mastering Lab owner and legendary mastering engineer), Robert Hadley (Grammy-winning mastering engineer), plus lots of amazing people coming by to hear the great stuff Josh builds.

Hope to see more of you tomorrow! Stop by and say hello!

The Mastering Lab crew at the JCF Audio Booth