Carne Cruda, clockwise from left: David Flores, Charlie Gurke, Luke Kirley, Camilo Landau and Ayla Davila
In March 2008, upstart Oakland, Calif., band Carne Cruda (www.carnecruda.com) headed across the San Francisco Bay to record their second release, Oakland's Tight (Round Whirled Records), in Menlo Park at The Annex (www.theannexstudios
.com). The band tracked in Studio A during two 10-hour sessions — live and with minimal overdubs or edits. “We recorded 10 songs on the second day,” notes Camilo Landau, Carne Cruda's founder, lead singer and guitarist. “But the band was well-rehearsed, so we were able to pull it off.”
Oakland's Tight showcases the five-piece band's energetic and eclectic repertoire. “I formed Carne Cruda because I had an idea for a particular blend of Latin music,” Camilo Landau says, “incorporating Cuban and Puerto Rican influences, but also cumbia, soca, Palo de Mayo, rock, funk and other kinds of music. From there it turned into a blend of everything we hear walking down the street, and we try to say something of value while not taking ourselves overly seriously.”
Oakland's Tight was produced by three-time Grammy Award nominee Greg Landau (Camilo's uncle) and engineered by John Greenham, a two-time Grammy winner who took up residence in The Annex's Studio C about a year ago. “[Studio A] has two iso booths and another separate room, so we could have the whole band playing together at once and get some isolation,” Greg Landau says. Drummer David Flores set up his kit in front of the control room window, facing out into the room, while baritone saxophonist Charlie Gurke and trombonist Luke Kirley occupied an iso booth. Camilo Landau's guitar amp was placed in a separate concrete room, and Ayla Davila's bass was recorded direct through an Avalon VT-737sp tube channel strip.
Studio A is outfitted with a 60-input Neve V3 console, Pro Tools HD2 system, UREI 813 monitors and a wealth of premium outboard gear. “We used Millennia preamps on the overheads; the horns and guitar went through the board pre's,” Greenham says. Flores played electronic sounds live using snare and kick triggers, as well as a Roland SPD-S sampling pad. “Greg Landau's sample library sounds were used to enhance the drum sounds — claps, 808 drums, et cetera,” Greenham says. “They help support the acoustic sounds, and if blended correctly, it sounds natural.”