Long-time Creamery collaborator, Jacob Plasse, sent me a couple demos last year that had me confused. ”It’s going to be this afrobeaty-latin-funk thing!” he said emphatically. But the iPhone recordings I got were of a spanish voice singing in a low register over some piano and guitar chords. Okayyyy? I was missing the picture but I was encouraging none-the-less since we had a history of great projects together. But where was the aftro-funk? Arranger Mike Eckroth worked along side Jacob and singer/ lyricist Jainardo Batista stepped forward giving a voice to the songs. Fast forward to the day of the session when Daptone‘s veteran rhythm section stepped into the room along with some of NYC’s most notorious percussionists and horn players. The fire was instantaneous! Jacob had actually only come to me the day before the session asking, “This is just gonna be a rehearsal we use for the demos, but you think you could record them?” I rolled my eyes and got to work, trying to figure out how to fit this 13-piece band onto my 8- track reel to reel recorder. It can be done! In two short sessions we captured the 9 songs on the album. A few overdubs later and a brilliant mix by Jim Bertini and the record was complete. This is really a uniquely NYC sound that blends Brooklyn’s worldbeat and funk scene with some of the baddest latin players this city produces. If you can get the vinyl, it sounds extra special. Pick it up here in digital form. Thanks to the great players who made recording this a breeze.
About 6 months ago I pulled out the sledgehammer and began demolishing the very walls Jon and I had spent hundreds of hours carefully constructing. Had we finally gone mad? In truth, ever since we finished building the studio in 2008, there were already visions for a bigger/ better studio brewing. Over years of working in our wonderful room, it was finally time to expand. And expand we did. The official pics have yet to be updated to the site but here’s a taste of what the new Creamery Studio looks like! More to come (including a serious website update)
The music of Tim Pourbaix is that secret worth sharing. That rare artist, whose voice and songcraft sound instantly familiar. A master solo performer from the backroom parlors of Brooklyn steps forward with a fully articulated, fourteen song, full-band masterpiece entitled, ‘River Well’. Simply elegant in their construction, Tim’s songs paint a dreamscape worth multiple visits. This is undeniably one of the top records I have ever been a part of. Thanks to Tim for trusting me to produce this record and guiding me to create a sound I never imagined. Please listen and BUY, BUY, BUY. It’s worth every Dollar Bill. Music video right around the corner. http://timpourbaix.bandcamp.com
Some music is so ephemeral that once you try and capture it in the studio, it’s magic completely disappears. It becomes the equivalent of a low-rez, blurry flash photo taken of what you had perceived as a beautiful, mysterious woman dancing in low light- POOF! Gone! Few bands have what it takes to kneel to the Gods of improvisation and cut a record this way, but I knew Live Footage would be just the band to do it. For nearly 2 years Live Footage has been cultivating this improvisational sorcery before live audiences at their Apotheka residency. This two piece band creates such lush worlds of sounds. I believed we could capture these moody moments in such a way to keep their mystique in tact. I love this record so damn much. It’s best heard front to back as there are themes along this narrated voyage. Here’s the teaser video they produced to give you a little flavor of each cut on the record. Give the full album a listen and you won’t regret it.
The power of perspective is amazing. Sometimes when we are too close to something we make, we just can’t see what it is. In this case, I got to be the guy standing at the back saying, “yeah, it’s a little crooked”. This record was brilliantly recorded by members of the Daptone gang at their Dunham studio. When it came time to mix and nothing had quite clicked, Jacob Plasse invited me to take a spin on it. 2 days later, the album was done- and without the use of a single computer! Those guys take their tape seriously- and you can hear it. Awesome band and amazing recording. Thanks for the chance to mix!
Thanks to my longtime friend and collaborator Ben Poster for binging Mø over for a live recording sesh on their recent US tour. These guys have worked with Diplo and a crew of other very talented musicians. I wish I could upload the performance in its entirety- as it is quite different from what you hear on their album and yet awesome in its own right. Check out why Pitchfork and the likes are talking about these guys.
This world is full of people of all types. It makes the world a funner place. So we’re not too keen on having certain people picked out and picked on. It really kills the buzz. Quinn and I both were eager to compose music for these videos, which, we hope, raise awareness for social rights–not just in Russia, but here in our neighborhood, and hopefully in yours too.
Though I am a doctor, I am terrible with statistics. Still, I do know there is an involved mathematical recipe for musical success consisting of some parts inspiration and part perspiration. And Sweaty Machete is that ratio. Anyone who knows the inside players at the Creamery knows the members of this super group: Mike Thies, Beck Burger, Whitney Lockert, and Quinn McCarthy (me). These are my long-time brothers and favorite collaborators who have also recorded on countless projects here over the years. The name spawned from summer jam sessions that would go late into the night and result in many-a-soaked T-shirt. Are we a gigging band? No. Are we big in Europe? Not yet. Will we cut off your ears- Perhaps, come closer and have a listen?
More great live recording here at the Creamery. The Bailsmen are a rotating cast of brilliant Brooklyn musicians on the gypsy jazz circuit. If you have a broken foot, be warned- this will cause your toes to tap. I hope the good folks of The Bailsmen wont be too insulted by me saying I finally have a record that my mom will listen to? I love the ambience. Just when I thought all the band had arrived, in came another, and another. I think we captured the spirit of the gypsy jam.
Live Footage releases a video for the track “1976″. They’re camped out here working on a new record. The very talented Kubat& Billot made this beautiful video. They also came through while we were cutting tracks for the new album (perhaps for a “the making of…” video?)
This is a brilliantly moody video for a song I produced for Creamery-regular, Tim Pourbaix. Hot on the heels of his last solo record, Tim and I got together with The Films drummer, Adam Blake. I wanted to take a few of Tim’s songs and flesh them out for a band. Here’s the result. This EP set the groundwork for a new record currently in the works over here.
No doubt this will go down as one of the finest records ever made at the Creamery – in 3 days- just like olden times! Disclaimer aside, I love this band and this record. I went to see them play the first time last winter in Chinatown at this same speakeasy where this music video was shot. I was floored by the performance and when the multi-tallented producer (and Tres player), Jacob Plasse, asked if I would record and mix the band on a shoestring in 3 days- how could I say no? Take a look at the other post “Cuban Tapes” for a little behind the scenes footage. I wanted to capture the spirit of the room and the feel of the old cuban songs they play. We even got a party going over here at the end of the session to keep the song and dance alive. Thanks Los Hacheros- you make recording an old time cuban record seem easy!
The Creamery is pleased to be working with a heavy hitter in the singer/songwriter realm, Daniel Wayne.
Daniel has been a friend of The Creamery for a long time. I have been working and playing with Dan’s groups off and on for the last couple years, and it’s really been an exciting time seeing his bird fly.
If you live in New York and haven’t caught a Daniel Wayne show, it’s about time you got off your ass. The songwriting and music is fresh and real, to the point where you’ll probably be leaving the show feeling compelled and inspired to write something as good as what you just heard.
Capturing the magic of Dan’s songs and singing in-studio has been our passion and our priority, and the wheels are turning to get a full-band recording happening. Meantime, we are refining our process once step at a time and were able to get a little lightning in a bottle with some of Dan’s solo stuff.
With great pleasure, I would like to announce the release of Alien Tapes, by Geo Wyeth- the 3rd vinyl pressing to come out of the Creamery Studio this month! Geo is one of the most creative artists I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. We recorded and mixed this all on my trusty tape machine- with a little help from the ol’ computer. Geo trusted me to co-produce the record and gave me a chance to contribute in some new territory- check out “Scum of the Earth” to hear some dub-style live mixing! Download this beautiful album from band camp or buy a physical copy of the record at your local bodega!
Jules Gimbrone is a talented composer who came to me to help mix a very ambitious project. The music and the instrumentation was like nothing I have ever worked on before. It gave me a chance to blend acoustic instruments such as cellos, vibes, and bass flute with noise and drums. The music for the album Wrest was initially conceived for dance and video piece which Jules then took to Gowanus’s Seizures Palace studio where she tracked the group to 2″ tape. Here’s a cut off the record, accompanied by a video piece. Check out more video’s and tracks off the record HERE.
I admit, I play favorites. Fuck it. If somebody’s that good, then I’m gonna say it, and hopefully you’ll do what’s right and check em out.
Alex Mallett is one of my favorites. I love his tunes, and I’m glad to have recorded this record for em. These dudes (Nico Dann, Alan Biller and Alex Mallett) strolled on into The Creamery and laid it down like it was nobody’s business. Wham bam: a mic set up, getting sounds, and next thing you know, the core tracks were done.
Go check these Brooklyn fellas out when you need to hear some good acoustic music. It’ll be good for you.
No, I’m not talking about the “commercial music” we all said we hated in the 90′s until we realized they had marketed “underground” to us so well. I mean music that’s in TV commercials. Director Benjamin Harrison invited me to do the sound design and music for some UNICEF commercials he created earlier this year. I love cartoons, so this was a fun project. Obviously, these PSAs are geared for kids, but there’s a message some of you adult Facebook users can glean here.
Making an album is such a mysterious process sometimes. I don’t know if I’ve ever worked on a project that I flipped back and forth so many times thinking, “this is the greatest sounding stuff I’ve recorded!” and then “what the fuck is this supposed to sound like?”. Fortunately the ever-cool-tempered band leader of Leland Sundries, Nick Loss-Eaton, trusted me and patiently we carved away at this record until it really felt right. Each song on the album has a unique musical character, from rag time to sea shanty. Finding the right elements to exaggerate and where to create musical continuity was such an interesting challenge. By the time I was finished, my head was spinning wondering if we’d done the right thing. Nick’s narrative songwriting and voice tie it all together and after I stopped working on it and listened again months later, I was able to appreciate all the hard work we did and the great stories he paints. “Apparition” is one of my favorites. Melodica and midi keyboard orchestra at the end? I would normally cringe but I love how this came out! http://www.lelandsundries.com or buy it!
Debbie Miller: how does she have a voice so sincere and straightforward? How does she get away with singing tunes that sound so sweet but carry such a dear and developed taste? I don’t know. But check her out and maybe you can tell me.
Debbie and producer Greg Coladarci swung by The Creamery for a week and laid down some downright fun stuff. The tunes were great, but the icing on the cookie was just how much fun we all had making the recordings. Debbie takes it seriously, then cuts loose with laughter and playfulness. But it’s all for real. Check out “Much Longer” and try not to instantly float off into the Galaxy. And I’m super proud that Debbie got Deli Magazine Seattle’s Artist of the Month!
Heartfelt thanks to musician and producer Pape Armand Boye for selflessly lending me some of the nicest gear I have ever laid my grubby fingers on for this session.
If one of your best friend’s was also a talented director and asked you to go to France for two weeks to help make a movie about the best bread in the world, would you say Non? Either did I. In addition to recording sound, making music with kitchen appliances, and eating unlimited amounts of amazing bread and pastries, I also got to interview the biggest names in the world of bread-making. The trip was an all out adventure following international baking teams on their quest to win the Coup du Monde de la Boulangerie (Bread World Cup) held in Paris once every 4 years. Here’s a small teaser cut together about Mike Zakowski, chief bread-maker for the American team. More to come…
Ah, Dane Terry. In the big cosmic soup of singers, songwriters, late night bars, suspiciously-tuned pianos, and the heartbreak that comes with hearing a song that rings a forgotten part of yourself, there are but a few supernovae.
I caught Dane Terry for the very first time as he played a set at the gritty Goodbye Blue Monday in Bushwick. I knew I had to record him. I couldn’t describe this music well enough if I tried, thus I think you should check out his site and hear the music of 7 Songs, which Dane recorded on our beautiful Yamaha. It’s really a masterful feat of brilliant playing, totally unique songwriting, and a voice that truly delivers the message.
Dane is based out of Brooklyn now, I guess, though he bounces around a lot to perform. If you can catch him, please go out and see him. I was sold on the first pass.
A while back I was hired to do production sound, sound design, and music for a Russell Simmons ad for his jewelry line. Got to work with a fun crew and some fantastic musicians on this one, namely drummers Brent Follis, Jared Schonig, and vocalist Dana Danger Athens. This is the first time I had ever done a full audio package from ENG recording to music to mastering.
Russell specified he wanted it to sound like 7 minutes of funk, and whattayaknow, it does!
Some of my strongest musical roots come from the California coast. I’m not talking about the Beach Boys or Sublime. Being raised out there, I literally learned music from the people of the West. As most people know, Californians tend to be … a special group of people. But if you can get past their flakiness and crazy righteous attitudes- there’s a lot to love! (Can I rep a little?) One such group of Dudes are the High Noon Sons- an underground band from San Fran who have created a mixture of the things done best in the Bay- Punk, Surf, Pop, and Rockabilly blended in a Psychedelic chowder that reeks of the Pacific Northwest. I came out to their wood shop and spent a few days screwing together accoustic panels and getting mics setup. Six months later they delivered an awesome collection of tracks to me to mix and melange.
In my opinion, one of Matt Frye’s glorious moments happened when he wiped out on the ice outside his place in Crown Heights two winters ago. No, I’m not a sadist. Lemme catch you up a little bit:
Matt had been a recording artist and a personal friend of mine and The Creamery for several years. I met this funny and genuinely quirky singer/songwriter hailing from North Carolina while he was running an open mic in Park Slope a while back. Both he and his girlfriend (now wife) charmed me with their humor and forwardness, and we worked together from then on.
We did some recordings which ended up being Matt’s first EP, a solo effort entitled Hard Times.
One night, Matt, Rivka (Matt’s wife), and I find ourselves hanging out at a heavy metal bar after a gig. A certain party has clandestinely brought a little auxiliary fun in a flask. We refill our tumblers on the sly beneath the bar.
After a little firewater and some fun talk, we head our separate ways. I receive a phone call from Matt on his way home, wishing me safe travels. ..Oh, the irony.
As it turns out, after getting out of the car in front of his apartment, Matt takes a little shortcut to his front door over a mound of ice and snow. Matt ends up splayed out on the ground with a badly broken ankle. (He told me he went to bed not realizing the severity of the fall, and only upon seeing his inflated foot the next morning realized he might need a doctor.)
Matt was laid up pretty good.
After some hospital visits and surgery, Matt launches into learning what could be done with his involuntary vacation time. After chatting together at his place over some ankle- and soul-nurturing food and a little discussion about music, Matt hits the mark dead-on, realizing that his current state of broke-down-dog-ness is perfect fodder for his next record…
..And I concur: If you know Matt, his attitude and life-mission are, it seems, to see the bad in the same, amazingly optimistic light as the good…and make some music out of it…
And so over the course of a few meals we figure how to make a record when the the lead talent can hardly walk or stand.
I bring a mobile API recording rig to his place where he and John Dydo (of The Wowz) lay down the core rhythms and lead vocals. We’d planned some loose arrangements, so I bring the core tracks back to the Creamery. Matt rounds up some great players and friends to track the rest of the arrangements. Dane Terry is there on piano, Alex Mallett on Banjo, Chris Q. Murphy on mandolin. Quinn rocks out on his new acoustic bass on several tracks as well. Rivka and friend Cordell Price stop by for a late night BGV session for the last track.
…What you hear when you listen to the finished product, Biscuits and Dog Days, is not just a collection of songs. It is the sound of resurfacing. This album is someone doing what he needs to do in order to stay healthy and good-spirited despite broken bones, cold weather, and being flat broke and immobile. It is a positive album with a down-to-earth message. Hope you enjoy.
Remember staying up all night before your friend’s birthday with your boombox and a blank 90 minute Maxell tape- trying to pause it to get that Busta Rhymes track to line up just right with De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High”? Remember hearing the name, Jay Dee/ J Dilla years later being credited as the master-mind-beat-maker who created half of the crookedest hip hop jams you ever blazed to in the high-school parking lot?…. Well I do anyhow.
So what are cellist, Topu Lyo and drummer Mike Thies, aka LIVE FOOTAGE doing covering these hip hop classics? With no MC? Not to mention the total absence of a cassette tape. Let me rewind and explain. This very talented and creative Brooklyn-based duo have been tuning their amazing live set for years and are poised to release their second full length recording. What an opportune time to crank out a 3rd album, this time in three days- from start to finish!
Doing this project was an extreme undertaking. Mike and Topu drafted some wonderfully creative interpretations of J Dilla’s music which we tracked all live into the computer. Now quick- mix it all and rush it out! A true rough draft mix tape with enough grit and vibe to earn the name.
So I was approached by my favorite filmmaking team, The Banks Brothers (Hilarion and Polaris Banks), who were making a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie focused on ass-kicker Casey Jones. They wanted to know if I could make some late 80′s-sounding music for the opening scene. I could hardly believe all those years of being tortured by the bad musical choices of my high school-aged siblings would finally pay off, but alas, I was able to finally clear out the pipes, so to speak.
The music ended up being pretty faint in the mix, so I’ve included it HERE in all of its loud analog synth glory. Enjoy. The bulk of the synth sounds came off a period-correct Juno 106. And come to think of it, this may be the first production I’ve ever done without a guitar–or gollllly–a single acoustic instrument. I’m sorry, Spirit of Music.