Monday, May 19, 2008

Mushroom Studio's - Vancouver, Canada

I can remember many years ago, driving down W. 6th Street in Vancouver and seeing the big backlit Mushroom Studio's sign (wonder what happened to the sign anyways... isn't there anymore). Just the sight of the studio sign triggered memories of one of my favorite bands, Heart. Heart and the Mushroom label were synonimus at the time. The music during this era was very electifying to me. In some ways Mushroom Studios was very much a part of my childhood as I grew up living with the music that came out of this studio. As a producer/Engineer, this was truly something that I have wanted to experience my entire life.

Upon entering Mushroom Stuidio's I could quickly confirm that all my favorites had been there. Chilliwack and their "Dreams, Dreams, Dreams" gold record was displayed as expected. Tom Cochran and Red Rider, Marcy Playground, Loverboy, Prism and many other great records that I had forgotten about were recorded here as well. With all this history painted on the walls how can you not hear the music?
*In 1946, one of Canada's first studios named Aragon Recording Studios was opened in Vancouver, aided by Al Reusch. Reusch was a musician, big band leader, and one of Vancouver's first DJ's. By 1954, Reusch acquired sole ownership of Aragon Studios which would lead to the construction of Mushroom Studios.
The current home of Mushroom Studios was built in 1966 at 1234 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver. Built by Aragon from the ground up as a first class audio recording studio, it was an orchestral recording room for special sessions by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). Howard Tremaine consulted on the original acoustic design and equipment installation. One of the first clients was Diana Ross and The Supremes, and later Led Zeppelin would also record there.*

This is the first of several blogs that will be writing as a result to my weekend full of rubbing elbows with some of the great producers and engineers that have worked in Vancouver.

During the next few days I will be writing about my experiences with Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Led Zepellin, Metallica, Aerosmith) Jeff Dawson (State of Shock, Daniel Powter, Holly McNarland) Roger Swan (K-OS, Swollen Members) Devin Townsend (Lamb of God, Bleeding Through, Darkest Hour) Ben Kaplan (Chevelle, Trapt, Shakira) GGGarth Richardson (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine) Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, New Pornographers)
*Information obtained from Wikipedia

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Audio Engineering Session 15

In this session we picked up where we left off from last week. Sophie and I were using ProTools for our mix. Later in the session I had a really good chance to talk to Greg about EQ and how to notch out the various instruments so theye each have their place in the mix.

When we recorded these tracks we had already applied some EQ to get us close to where we wanted to be so we had a lot of headroom to work with. We started by tweaking the kick and snare a bit. Then moving on to the bass.

I will try and hunt down a good EQ guide as I know that I have one around here somewhere. Anyways, the idea here is that by using EQ you can create space in your mix for various instruments to be heard without it competing with other instruments that are in the same frequency range.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Music West 2008

I have only recently heard about this music event that has been held in Vancouver for the past 18 years! I am pleased that I have finally found out about this event taking place on May 14th through 18th. From the looks of their website, it looks like it will be awesome. This is The largest and most influential new music event in Western North America. There will be over 200 bands playing in over 30 venues. For $30 you can get "all you can hear" wristbands. Well, exciting as this sounds it is not the only reason why I am excited to attend. I'm attending a couple of the workshops that are happening over the weekend. Every year New Music West puts on these amazing and exclusive workshops. I won’t be missing my chance to meet and learn from the top producers and coaches in the world, inside some of Vancouver’s best music production facilities!! How about you?

Of course there is the music as well. Past performers have included: Nickelback, Marilyn Manson, Gene Simmons, Perry Farrell, Swollen Members, Sam Roberts, The Flaming Lips, Frank Black, Hot Hot Heat, Matthew Good, Run DMC, Metric, Mark Farina, Blind Boys of Alabama, Midnight Oil, The Trews, Stars, Liz Phair, Modest Mouse etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. I wonder who will be there this year??

Here is a link to the schedule

...and this is a link to this years lineup and finally the link to the main page

Monday, May 5, 2008

Interactive Frequency Chart

A few session ago we were talking about fundamental frequencies and their associated harmonic content. This image represents the best chart that I've been able to find on the web... but wait, there's more. If you click on this link you will be able to access a fully interactive frequency chart.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Audio Engineering Session 14

In this session we all shuffled around which audio application we were to use. Emile and Cash on Sonar, Greg and Jessie on the V-Studio, and Sophie and I were are on Pro Tools.
For us to be able to mix last weeks tracks we first had to use a ripper tool which converts Roland's proprietary file format to WAV files. The ripping process only took about 2 minutes.
Once we imported all the tracks into ProTools we gave it a quick listen. It sounded really good without any tweaks. This was because we spent some time last week capturing great sound right at the source.
I hadn't had a chance to hear the piano tracks up until now. As mentioned earlier, we used a pair of AT 4033's (see session 13 for more on mic'ing the piano). Click on the player to listen to the raw piano tracks. No effects have been added. The tracks have only been panned hard left and right. It should be noted that this is not a stand alone piano piece. I simply solo'd the piano from the multitrack session.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Rest in peace my friend

On this day 2 years ago I lost a very close and dear friend. I wrote this song as a tribute to him. Chuck, I still miss you my friend. May you rest in peace.