Memorial Day 2014

Thanks to everybody who came to our 16th annual memorial day party. I recorded all of the bands down to half-inch tape and I gotta say, it sounds pretty awesome! Here are a few tracks from that night. Next year will sound even better, I can’t wait! Call us to book some studio time and get that fat warmth of an analog tape machine.

Fulkinetic – This Thing is On

Kelroy – One of these Days

Vronk – Smash and Grab

Amateur Hour – Hop On

photoJackson – Chief of Guys




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Local Band Republic Of Lights Has What It Takes

Republic of Lights is a local rock band from chicago that appears to have the ingredients to jump into the mainstream.

Catchy and driving pop rock.

Download their  album free of charge!


and check out their bandcamp!

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Common Mistakes Artists Make in the Recording Studio w/ Eric Yoder


I sat down with platinum engineer and producer Eric Yoder of Horse-Drawn Productions to discuss the common mistakes artists make during the recording process. Eric also shares some great stories about his times with Lauren Hill, R. Kelly and others. Accomplished producer Lambert “Stereo” Waldrip sits in on this very informative and entertaining podcast. Check it out.

Steve “FunkWorm” Butler


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6 Tips for submitting songs for mix (at any studio)

Due to the high volume (pun intended) of mixes coming in remotely, I  thought I would share some helpful information to those submitting material to be mixed by a professional recording engineer, such as myself.  There are some things that are helpful, and other things that may take a lot of time to correct.

Here are some tips to avoid spending extra cash on studio mix sessions ahead of time:

1 – Talk to the engineer or studio manager ahead of time to make sure software versions are compatible.  If the studio doesn’t offer a particular type of program or software, be sure they help you with the conversion process.  Individual WAV or AIF files bounced in your session from bar 1, beat 1 is always a good backup, although the engineer won’t have access to your plug-in chains or effects.

2 – Label your tracks – we are not mind readers, and taking the time to figure out what is what only takes up time we could be spending on dialing in equalizers and compressors.

3 – Remove automation – In most cases it takes more time to move around or bypass the existing automation.  Many engineers do things a certain way which keeps things moving quickly and sounding groovy.  Engineers will always add their own automation anyway, so unless you have some specific effect you want, take it off.

4 – Don’t duplicate any tracks – believe it or not, but adding 14 copies of the same  audio track  does not make a “huge stereo image” and it takes longer for us to figure out which is the actual audio file, and which are duplicates.

5 – Make a note if you want something effected, duplicated, tuned or  anything else.  Most programs offer an area to make notes or comments on tracks or  the project.  Referencing this in email correspondence is helpful, too.

6 – Leave alone specific effects you have, and be sure to bounce them (or render them) so no plug-ins are needed to hear this effect.  If you have something unique that you want, it may only take more time trying to replicate that  unusual sound.

– Eric “YO.M.G!” Nelson Yoder

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Tilly and the Wall

I had the opportunity to mix Tilly & the Wall at Echoplex sans soundcheck. A hell of a tall order to mix on the fly. I didn’t know what to expect, I only knew that there was tap dancing and in-ear monitors to go along with their extensive and modular input list. The band was apparently held up in Vegas with van trouble (likely story). I have been tied up in Vegas a few times myself so I know how hard it is to get out of there. Anyways, somehow they made it back to L.A. in time for the headlining spot on the Echoplex stage and these kids really brought it. So there I am standing over a 40 channel Soundcraft monitor desk with 2 beautiful rock chicks staring at me along with a full band behind them pointing at each other with their thumbs in the air in the internationally recognized hand signal for, “I need more of that in my monitors!” It felt like I squashed 6 hours of work into a 6 minute line check with a packed house.

You ‘up and comers’ would do well to follow the example of Tilly and the Wall by providing the venue at which you are playing with a detailed input list, stage plot and monitor mix requirements well ahead of time. That way your fearless audio engineers can stay ahead of the curve and make your live performance as effortless and captive as possible.

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6 Things you need to know to make a great pop song


Here are the 6 things you need to know to make a great pop song:

Ok, so I am  not a famous musician nor do i aspire to be.  I am not a super-producer.  I do not have plaques on the walls of my studio or even a studio for that matter.  What I do have is years of experience in music and a great passion for it.  What does this mean???  Not much really, I am just like you.  I wanna hear good music.  People have different tastes in music you say???  True.  The thing that I think separates me from others is that I can explain why I think a song is good or not.  Most people are quick to shoot out a “THIS RULES!” or “THIS SUCKS”, but few can actually explain why.

So I know that I can explain why music is good or not, but I can’t focus on all music  at once, I have to choose a style.  Being as it’s the most popular style (hence the name), I will break pop music down for you.  Again, you may not agree with my observations about pop music but here we go anyway:

1.  Good hook.  It is important to not fall into a formula when writing a hook.  Many songwriters think that a legato vocal line is best for a hook because it sounds big.  This is not always the case.  you must add a certain cadence in order to set it apart from other hooks.  Also, work with the voice you are given.  If you are writing for an Usher Type, Legato is great.  Working with someone with a smaller range like Nelly you would have to write a more staccato and rhythmic vocal line.

2.  Don’t neglect the Verses!!!  Verses are easy to lose focus on once a good hook is in place.  Many people fall in the bad habit of writing a verse that moves stepwise up and down a scale.  They stay with in a three note range and never change the rhythm, C-D-E-D-D-C type stuff.  Try writing a verse that skips a few notes in the scale and use other intervals rather than 2nds.  Also, try and use arpeggios when you can, but be mindful not to overdo it or you’re song will verse like a fancy ringtone rather than a good verse that has you anticipating a hook.  Pre-hooks are good for this because you can end them on the 7th of a scale to leave them anticipating the resolve.  A pre-hook is the part of the song that goes in between the verse and the hook.  There doesn’t even have to be lyrics in this one, it could simply consist of a groove with a melody or actual doo-wop type oohs and ahhs.

3.  Everybody loves a melody.  Having a catchy melody that is peppered throughout the song is vital.  Think of Huge pop songs such as “Girls Just wanna have fun” , “Funkytown” or “Walk like an Egyptian”.  These songs had infectious melodies that would take a chainsaw to get out of our heads.

4. Ooh’s and Ahh’s are great.  Scat style notes without words are great material for Pop music.  think Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”  or Glenn Fray’s “The heat is on”.  “Ohh-oo-O-oOH, Ohh-oo-O-Ohh Caught up in the action-I’ve been looking out for you.”

5.  Try and have a signature “stamp”.  All of the great performers have a signature “Stamp” in their music.  For example, Ice Cube has “YAY YAYYY!”  Young Geezy has “YEAAAAAHHHHHH…”  and of course Michael Jackson has an arsenal of them including but not limited to “HEE- HEE, SHAMONE, WOOO HOOO!!!” and so on.  Having a signature stamp will set you apart from others and make it so people can identify your music immediately.

6.  Great Music.  I just listed this one in case there is someone out there that doesn’t know that without a good beat, you most likely wont get far.

Listed above are a few of the qualities I search for in pop music.  Granted, I am just another critic, but I can explain why I like what I like and chances are, many others like these things too, they just never thought of why.  How do I know???  Cause I am not special…I am just like you.

– Leo Ferrer, Jr.

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Electric White – Berwyn RockS!


Electric White is a rock band from Berwyn with Lou Daniel on Guitar/Vocals, Nestor Perez on Bass, and Michael Prado on Drums/Percussion.

I like the energy Electric White delivers – Great guitar riffs, tough drumming – smooth vocals – I’m hoping to get to push some faders up and down for these guys in the future.  I’d really like to hear them coming off the analog tape machine.  Check em out!

As the rest of us, they too are on Facebook.


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The Noise FM – Chicago Indie Rock at its finest!

tnfPhoto by: CarolinaRodriguez

The Noise Fm is an indie rock band that you can find on any site you want; check them out!

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