“What compels me about Nick’s music is his storytelling,” says engineer/studio owner Quinn McCarthy; he recorded and mixed Music for Outcasts from Leland Sundries, a garage/roots-punk band fronted by Nick Loss-Eaton. “It’s the characters, and the places and the situations that he paints. And then he is able to fold a lot of styles of American roots music together, that large musical vocabulary.”
Leland Sundries did a lot of live band tracking in McCarthy’s studio, The Creamery (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a converted industrial space that McCarthy has developed over the past seven-plus years. “When I moved to New York, I couldn’t find a studio to work in that would even keep me in PB and J and PBR,” McCarthy recalls. “But it turned out that if I sold my car, I could afford enough sheet rock to take over this space.”
McCarthy recorded Leland Sundries to his Tascam MX16 machine as well as Pro Tools. “A lot of times, I’ll have that running while the repro is dumping into Pro Tools. I call it the ‘tape pedal.’”
Loss-Eaton mixes things up vocally—singing in character, speaking, using effects and distortion. He sang mainly into a Shure SM7B mic, but occasionally McCarthy would also put up a 520DX bullet/harmonica mic for effect. “On ‘Radiator Sabotage,’ the single, we re-recorded the vocals, but I wanted it to still sound like it was in the room,” McCarthy says. I had his voice going to a P.A. or an amp, and then I would room-mike that, rather than using reverbs and delays to create the space.
“I definitely intentionally distorted a lot of the vocals as well,” McCarthy says. “A lot of times, that was just me slamming the pre on my 6176 [UA channel strip]. I must have done that a lot, because I’m having to buy replacement tubes for it pretty often.”