Welcome to my home on the internet

I live in New York City and I play, write, arrange, and produce music for myself and lots of other people. I spend quite a bit of time in Austin, Texas, and travel around the country with various groups. I've contributed performances, compositions, and arrangements to recordings by bands like Snarky Puppy, Okkervil River, Bill Laurance, Nelo, and many more. My band is Progger.
For booking, lessons (in person or via Skype), or questions, send an email to proggermusic@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nelo in the studio, etc

I started a Myspace blog as a sort of "why the hell not" update for the people who still use Myspace, but it ended up being pretty extensive. So, here's a copy-and-paste of it. Because I said so.

--begin the copy-paste stuff--

Well, looks like these blog updates are turning into "annual" affairs. Here's the first, and possibly only, one for 2010!

Since May 2009, I moved from Dallas to Albuquerque to Austin. I'm now an Austinite, after many years of entertaining the thought of whether or not I should move there. My decision was based largely on the fact that I'm now a full-time member of Nelo, a popular Austin rock band that has been hugely rewarding to be with. My first gig after moving to Austin was to help Nelo kick off the 2009 Austin City Limits festival to a crowd of about two thousand. That was a pleasing way to start a new residency.

This newfound awesome-itude comes with a price, of course-- unfortunately, I haven't been able to play with Snarky Puppy since my last blog, and that's been strange! They released their first album that I'm not on, which is, inconveniently, also their first album on a label. I still have mad love for all the Pups, though, and I'm hoping to play with them in the future whenever I can. They're certainly going strong without me thanks to the killing tenorizations of Chris Bullock and Ian Rapien, not to mention Sput the Helpful, Nate the Romantic, Bob the Bowelous, Maz the Whateverthefuckmazis, League the Sleepless, and everyone else on board at any given time.

Fortunately, I can keep things going with Moosehound, and will be doing so quite a bit in the near future. I've been writing tons of new music and Phill always has things up his sleeve, so be on the lookout for twisted new sounds from our incredibly commercially successful instrumental fusion band.

Over the last few months, in between shows, I've had the good fortune to be spending a lot of time in the studio with Nelo working on the band's second full-length record, which will be the first with me. It's been a lot of work and really, really fun. I've worked on a lot of records before, but not with so much time to dwell in a studio of this caliber and use it as an instrument on the record. We've been recording at the Pedernales Recording Studio, which belongs to Willie Nelson and is out in the hill country near Lake Travis. It's my favorite studio, ever, thanks largely to our engineer, Jacob Sciba, who is helping to produce the record and seriously kicking ass. I don't know if I've ever met an audio engineering prodigy before Jacob, but his wisdom and competence way outpace his age.

I'm now going to talk about all the neat stuff I got to use in the making of this new record, so this is where most people probably want to stop reading. You may X-out of this tab now.

For those poor souls left, check out all the neat shit I got to use! Pedernales has a pristine 73-key Rhodes that sounds like god, so I ran that through Matt Ragland's Diamond Memory Lane analog delay pedal into an old Vox AC30 for most of the record. We didn't always use the delay, and sometimes we used an MXR Micro Amp to give it some more edge, but the Rhodes/Vox combo never needed to change, it was perfect. That's on pretty much the whole record. We also got a Minimoog Voyager OS (the "old school" model, looks a lot like a Minimoog Model D) for a couple days, so I did a lot of keybass and doubling of rhodes and guitar lines with that baby, which sounds so incredibly badass that I'm tempted to sell a kidney to buy one.

Partway through the record, Matt and Jacob went to a vintage synth shop and bought a Roland Juno 106. Despite some technical issues that arose with an output switch, I put Juno on most of the record, and it was like the realization of my Brian Eno/U2 jones that I've had since 8th grade. That board is fucking RIDICULOUS and I want one. I'm going to end up just getting a Korg R3, which can model Moogs and Junos very well, but someday I WILL own the real thing, dammit.

Pedernales has an amazing-sounding Hammond B3, but 1. I'm not an organ player, and 2. I usually don't like organ on rock albums made after 1970, so we didn't end up using it. I would LOVE to hear what Shaun Martin, Bobby Sparks, or-- needless to say-- Bernard Wright would do with that motherfucker.

Finally, I spent a decent amount of time putting a few solo-like tenor bits on the record, and had a lot of fun layering some woodwind sections: tenor-tenor-tenor-alto on one tune, tenor-flute-flute-flute on another, flute-flute-flute-clarinet on several, it all came out pretty well and put a lot of texture on the songs.

Jacob and I worked out a magical secret to making my tenor sound like a machete for a couple of the tunes, and I'm not going to divulge that secret here, for it will one day make us as rich as kings. But for all the section-y woodwind stuff and more background sax stuff, Jacob hooked me up with an old RCA ribbon mic that is up there with my favorite mics I've ever recorded on. I like it every bit as much as the Telefunken I got to use in Cleveland working with Jesse Barnes and Snarky last year, and it worked amazingly well for flute and clarinet, too. Warm, clear, and full, with just enough husk on it to make it satisfyingly delicious.

Done geeking. Thanks for reading, if you made it through everything!

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