MixLine Feature: Glen Kolotkin Produces Ka-Cha Debut

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Producer/engineer Glen Kolotkin has worked on hundreds of records during the course of a three-decade career, including several for Santana, beginning with Santana III in 1971 and continuing through his multi-multi-Platinum Supernatural. Now, from his current home in Boynton Beach, Fla., Kolotkin has assembled another genre-crossing ensemble—Latin pop sextet Ka-Cha—that combine sinewy guitar work a la early Santana with modern pop melodies and distinct world influences.

Drummer/percussionist Oscar Salas

Tom Harney, owner of Golden Dome Recorders in Lauder Hill, Fla., where Kolotkin recorded and mixed Ka-Cha’s debut CD, once asked the Grammy-winning engineer, “If you could do any kind of recording right now, what would you do?” His answer: to put together a group of musicians in the style of the first three (arguably their best) Santana records. That’s exactly what he did, bringing together six proficient players all based in Florida, but hailing from Peru, Equador, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Paraguay.

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Bassist Pier Pappalardo

The group wrote nearly all of the material on the 11-song disc, save for the Paul Simon cover, “Me and Julio,” and a serious reworking of Tito Puente’s “Pa’lante,” and soon headed to Harney’s studio to get the songs down on; not analog tape, but hard disk—a Tascam MX 2424 digital recorder.

The well-equipped home studio features an Audient 8024 console, a set of Adam S3A active monitors, ample outboard gear and a well-stocked mic closet. Kolotkin recorded most of the album live—old school style—with all musicians playing together in the main room. “We wanted that interplay between the musicians. The timbale player could work off the drummer, the bass player could work off both of them, et cetera,” says Kolotkin. “It’s a kick, because you can hear the whole record go down, and a breath of fresh air compared to the way most things are done today.”

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The Golden Dome control room

Mics included Neumann, AKG, Audix, Audio-Technica, Royer and Behringer for drums, percussion and guitar, while bass went direct with the Reddi direct box. Audio-Technica 4060s and a Neumann 147 took care of the vocals. Kolotkin even incorporated some miking techniques used on some of Santana’s early work, such as “backing up the mic eight inches from the edge of a guitar amp,” he says. “I believe in getting as far away from the amp as you can without getting an excessive amount of leakage.” Kolotkin mixed the album to ½-inch analog, working on a Sony machine modified with Dolby SR, which gives the album a classic warm sound.

Ka-Cha’s self-titled debut is out now and can be listened to and purchased at www.cdbaby.com.