Sometimes its good just to get your songs out of your head and onto “tape.” Good friend and indie artist promoter extraordinaire Toni Koch wanted to do just that, so we set her up to sing and play on a lazy Tuesday afternoon here at my studio just outside Santa Clarita, CA. I have know Toni for several years but had not yet had the chance to hear her songs, and I have to say I am impressed!
Doing simple demos of your songs or partial song ideas is a great way to get inspired and to find out what’s working or not with your material (key, tempo, rhythm, lyrics, structure, or overall flow). This stage of the process can also be very fun because it is a good time to just “let it flow,” since major tweaks will typically be addressed later and the “perfect take” can be fussed with during the production process. Best of all its affordable because the setup is simple and low maintenance.
Toni has great songs and a very Judy Collins / Topanga Canyon sound. I look forward to hearing more!
Steve has just finished working with hard-rock quartet Testing Tomorrow (website) producing their new single Deriva. The group specifically wanted to embellish their sound with the addition of real strings. Steve created an arrangement for string quartet, bringing in cellist Amanda Zidow, violist Thom Lea, and violinist Rachel Grace to overdub the parts in the StuntLab. The group played the parts in multiple passes, each time moving their chairs in the space to simulate a larger string ensemble.
Steve and the band tracked rhythm parts in Sherman Oaks at Sound Oasis Studios, where drummer Grom Meraviglia got to track on a top shelf DW kit using the vintage Tama Bell-Brass snare drum – the same drum used on Nirvana’s “Nevermind.”
Guitars and vocals were recorded here at Leavittation, where friends of the band came to have fun recording the ” group chants” over the song’s outro.
The finishing touches on the song were added by mixer extraordinaire Marc Jordan at Thud Studios. The song is being mastered by Howie Weinberg.
Link to the finished song will be put up upon official release.