SXSW Bigger Than Ever
South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals, the ever-growing part film (SXSW Film), part music (SXSW Music), part tech-y (SXSW Interactive) event in Austin, takes place this month March 8-17, marking its 27th year celebrating new music, new film-directing talent and new creative technologies.
SXSW Music recently announced a number of additional acts—including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Killer Mike and The Flaming Lips—to the already 2,000-plus artist lineup, which also boasts Vampire Weekend, Toro Y Moi, Tegan and Sara, and Eagles of Death Metal.
Foo Fighters’ frontman and budding filmmaker Dave Grohl is slated to be the keynote speaker for SXSW Music. Best-selling author and creator of the Web comic The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman, is scheduled to be one of the keynote speakers for SXSW Interactive. And the SXSW Film Awards are scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 12, at the Paramount Theater. For more information and a complete list of sessions, artists and films, visit sxsw.com.
The Relatives at Public Hi-Fi
Jim Eno, aka the drummer for Spoon, engineered and produced The Relatives’ gospel album Electric Word in his studio, Public Hi-Fi. Band and vocal tracks were captured in separate sessions, with those soulful harmonies going down in only two days. “When they all sang together, I’d have a close mic for each—either a Neumann U47 or U67 through an 1176—plus a Coles stereo pair in front, and a Neumann SM69 stereo tube room mic. They needed to get those harmonies right because there was bleed, but that’s not really a problem for them.”
Wayne Hancock in the Zone
Wayne Hancock’s latest, the Sun-style Ride, was recorded, mixed and mastered by Pat Manske at The Zone, in the hill country just outside Austin. “All the players except Wayne were sitting in the main cutting room, semi-circle-like—upright bass, three electric guitars and pedal steel,” Manske says. “Upright sounds best in the big room, with a mic about 15 feet away, blended with a closer mic. We had enough booths around the big room to isolate all the guitar amps. We got a little bleed on the bass mics but it wasn’t a problem; the bass room mic gave the tracks a sense of depth, three-dimensionality.”
East Cameron Folkcore’s The Shelter
Jam/alt folk band East Cameron Folkcore operates a nine-room studio, The Shelter, where the band recorded their latest, For Sale. “I have two go-to mics for vocals, depending on the sound I am going for,” says chief engineer Chris Seyler. “All the vocals on this record were recorded with either the Mojave Audio MA-300 or a Heil PR-30. For all of the acoustic instruments, I used a combination of the MA-300 blended with either Shure KSM137s or Royer R121s.”
Pictured in Eric Johnson's studio, Saucer Sound, from left: Anton Fig, Eric Johnson, Roscoe Beck, and Oz Noy
Guitar Greats: Eric Johnson Hosts Oz Noy
Jazz/rock/funk/fusion guitarist Oz Noy completed the first tracking session for his next solo album for 2013, Twisted Blues Volume 2, in Grammy Award–winning rock guitarist Eric Johnson’s private studio in Austin, Saucer Sound. “I built my studio so that I would always have a place to practice, jam, rehearse and compose,” Johnson says. “Also, I put in a control room so I could record anytime the inspiration occurs. It’s my laboratory.”
As with Volume 1 and Noy’s previous solo outings, Noy is collaborating with varying combinations of musicians, depending on the particular sound and feel that he is after for a given song. When recording with Johnson, Noy chooses to fly out to Austin. “It’s a beautiful room with high ceilings,” Noy says of Johnson’s studio, “and he’s got a lot of really good gear. They have really good amps.” Engineer Kelly Donnelly recorded the session to 23 tracks in Nuendo using Euphonix converters monitored through a 48-channel Tonelux surround console. “All the musicians played together in the main room with headphones,” Donnelly says. “The bass amp was iso’d in the piano room. E.J’s [Marshall] Plexi [amps] were set up in the small lounge outside the control room. [Noy’s amps were] set up in the rear loading/storage area. Both guitar room doors were left open enough for the players to hear their amps, and bleed was minimal.” Noy adds, “That way, we could get the air from the amps going when we record. That’s the most important thing.”
A CCM112 YesMon Monitor with custom-cut water jet grill at Kingdom Nightclub.
Photo: Lian Amber
Austin Venues Adopt Bassmaxx Loudspeaker Systems
Austin-based loudspeaker design and manufacturing company Bassmaxx ( bassmaxx.com) reports that it is finishing up its ninth and tenth local venue installations, with three more in the works. The company has strong ties with the community; Austin native David Lee and fellow designer Johan van Zyl founded Bassmaxx in 1999 in Houston, orignally to design and build subwoofers. Subsequently, they expanded to full loudspeaker systems, relocated to Dallas, and then Austin in 2010.
Austin’s Barcelona Nightclub—said to be one of the first dubstep clubs in the U.S., playing host to UK producer/DJ Hatcha and Skrillex—installed a set of Bassmaxx SSP218 “Dub-ill” Profundo subwoofers, while Kingdom Nightclub, another fixture in Austin’s electronic dance music scene, built a system around four SSP218 Dub-ill Profundo Subs, four Z-5/D Motiv Horns, five AT312 Attuned Tops, and two customized CCM112 YesMon Monitors.
An upscale lounge, Rain, also replaced its system with Bassmaxx equipment. Live music venue One2One Bar, dubbed an intimate listening room and a SXSW venue, features two AT312 Attuned Tops and two Z-5/D Motiv Horns. Also on the acoustic side of the Austin scene, The Scottish Rite Theatre, a non-profit housed in a 19th century opera house that hosts performances, festivals, summer camps and year-round school programs, has two SSP218 Profundo powered subs and two Attuned Tops. Plus, projects including The Nook Amphitheater, a live music-oriented open-air development; Amped, a two-level club featuring a dance floor system upstairs and a live music room downstairs; and Castro’s Warehouse are scheduled to open in spring 2013.
Photo: Frank Maddocks
Gary Clark Jr. Debuts Maverick Music Festival
On Saturday, March 23, the Maverick Music Festival will launch in downtown San Antonio’s Maverick Plaza inside La Villita Historic Arts Village featuring Texan headliners Gary Clark Jr., The Toadies, Girl in a Coma, Arum Rae, and Henry and the Invisibles. Austin native Clark, along with his management team and partners in San Antonio, founded this festival to reinvigorate the music scene in San Antonio and bridge the gap with Austin, located 80 miles away. All-ages daytime programming featuring local musicians runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by national acts from 6 p.m. to midnight. Daytime events are free and open to the public, while tickets for the nighttime lineup are available for purchase in advance for $28 plus fees at maverickmusicfestival.com.