My Side of The Glass
A Blog by Record Producer Brian Charles
Cops On Broadway – Nov. 12, 2013 Inspiration: Beastie Boys “Ill Communication” Album
|Tuesday Night Recording Club – Nov. 12, 2013
Original Song: “Cops On Broadway”
Lyrics by: Aaron Perrino, Will Claflin
Inspiration: Beastie Boys “Sabotage”
With Musical Contribution From:
Aaron Perrino: Vocals
Annie Hoffman: Bass
Brian Charles: Hammond Organ
Steve Chaggaris: Drums
Nick Grieco:Guitar/Hype Vocs
Produced & Engineered By: Brian Charles & Annie Hoffman On Tuesday Night, Nov 12, 2013 at Zippah Studios, Boston, MA
Visual wizardry: Camera:Aaron Eskeets Edited By: Jim Gilbert
|Last Tuesday morning, I arrived at the studio for our 10am session with a very accomplished violinist, and her trio. As we were setting up, a text came in from Aaron saying that Willy C. (Claflin a.k.a. Sachrulichious), our regular TNRC video wizard, wasn’t going to make it down that evening to shoot our TNRC session…I came to learn later on that Will is in a new band that rehearses on Tuesday nights…the guy worked his butt off shooting and editing these things for us…and he treated each one like a precious work of art. He always found a way to match up his video treatment with the subject matter of what we were recording, and completely enhance our delivery…consistently…we were in a bind for sure. In addition to this news, I was unable to find an old-school scratch-DJ, we also had nobody lined up to play guitar or drums. In fact, the only person I had confirmed for the evening was a timbale player. Aaron suggested rescheduling…but in a busy holiday month, I knew that it had to be that night…or we’d have to wait until mid-December. I had already done my technical research, and I knew that Aaron had lyrics…he and Willy C. had ironically written them together…and they are indeed hilarious (check them out below). I was determined to make this happen. I had my engineer/co-producer Annie send her band-mate Nick (The Field Effect) a message, and I contacted Steve Chaggaris (TNRC veteran drummer)…as it turns out, they were both available and at the very least we’d be able to record a song. Luckily, The Sheila Divine Bassist, Jim Gilbert came to the rescue with his colleague Aaron Eskers, who shot the video, and Jim agreed to edit for us. Annie and I had a few hours in between our daytime session and TNRC and we began building our bass sound with a Fender Jazz Bass and this fantastic fuzz pedal made by Univox aptly called “Super Fuzz”. These were the main technical ingredients of the “Sabotage” bass sound. Being that the song is basically one chord the whole way through, we needed to come up with a bass line that was close enough to get the job done, but far enough away to keep us from getting sued (haha!). I will tell you, that when Annie played the bass riff from Sabotage, it was uncanny. We decided to choose some lower notes, and also have her play without a pick (which is most comfortable for her). We used our house Ampeg V4B head and 8X8 cabinet mic’d with a Sennheiser MD421 as well as a direct signal. The Beastie Boys used an Acoustic 370 Bass Head. Like Mario Caldato’s recording setup, we had drums mic’d with Shure SM57s on Snare Top and Bottom. Sennheiser MD421s on toms and inside the Kick Drum, a pair of condenser mics for overheads (they used AKG 460s), AKG C451 on hi-hat. In the room was a pair of U47s… which we also used for our recording. I matched up the snare tuning with a Pearl 6” chrome drum. We used all Neotek console mic pres and the kick was eq’d with a Urei 530 graphic equalizer. 200Hz & 400Hz were cut severely, and I used the console eq to boost 5k. The snare eq was pretty straight forward…a 3dB boost around 6Khz brought us right into “Sabotage” territory. Standard dips at 500Hz on toms plus a few dB boost between 4 and 6Khz worked great. HP filters engaged on snare, and toms to filter out “rumble” cleaned things up nicely. The two U47’s in the room were in a spaced configuration in their omni patterns about 12 feet in front of the kit. The Timbale setup was to the right of the drum set and was mic’d with a Sennheiser MD421. I wasn’t too worried about drums and timbale signals bleeding into each other’s mics, as The Beastie Boys tracked “Sabotage” as a late-night jam session..you can totally hear the drums and percussion sharing the ambient room mics. We set up Nick’s guitar – 70’s Les Paul copy through a Marshall half-stack and mic’d it with a Shure SM57 and an EV PL-10…Mario C. said that he just used 57s…I mixed the signals together on our recording. In the song “Sabotage” you can hear a low, sustaining sound in the middle break as well as the end of the song…this sound was made with a Hammond organ and Leslie speaker. “Money Mark” was pulling the drawbars in and out creating a subtle sweeping tone. We managed to nail this sound (although I bet it’s barely audible through computer speakers) by placing a pair of 421s on opposite sides of the Leslie speaker. We originally had the mics on the horn (top) portion of the Leslie, but that revealed the non-smooth quality of the drawbars as they moved in and out. We switched to the lower (bass) speaker on the Leslie and that was THE sound. Local DJ “Mister Rourke” couldn’t make the session, but offered to play a scratch part that we could fold into our mix. He did a fantastic job, and it’s also really cool to know that he used Technic 1200 turntable (the same one that DJ Hurricane used with the Beasties and Numark mixer. He tried to find the exact “squelchy” scratch sound was used on Sabotage but that was a long shot. He ended up using something close…a long playing sound scratched in a “transform” style (where you play the record forward while making a pattern using the cross-fader and then pull the record backwards and make a counter pattern in reverse)…FANTASTIC! Aaron’s lead vocal was recorded with Sennheiser 421, hand-held (no mic stand). This is how most of the Beastie Boys vocals were recorded too…dynamic, hand-held microphones. The Lead vocal effects (applied at mixdown) were a Lexicon PCM42 Delay set to 99ms (no feedback) and healthy dose of medium-length analog plate reverb. Nick Greico added a killer “hype-man” vocal track (He had us laughing our faces off), and we called it a night.Aaron, Annie and I could not believe that we pulled it off. Thanks to everyone for coming through in a pinch!
Cops on Broadway
Tic tacking running with the Wall St Bull
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