Mix Regional News: New England


Will Holland (left) and Jim Keaney at Chillhouse

Chillhouse Studios Merges With Devotion Recording

Chillhouse Studios in Charlestown (Boston), Mass., recently announced its merger with local Boston producer/engineer Jim Keaney and his Devotion Recording. Keaney moved into the Chillhouse facility in February and brought his entire studio’s worth of gear and equipment.

The merger nearly doubled the selection of outboard gear, microphones, guitar and bass equipment, including gear by API, Manley, A-Designs, Groove Tubes, Quad Eight Electronics and many others, along with more software selections.

Meanwhile, Chillhouse owner Will Holland has been busy engineering the following projects: Debut album (co-written and co-produced by Holland) for pop-country artist Brittaney Brannock (winner of Grammy-sponsored Teens Make Music songwriting contest); mixing/mastering of live tracks recorded at the Berklee Performance Center for reggae band Matt Jenson and The Liquid Revolution (produced by Jenson), as well as tracking and mixing two songs; editing and mixing for jazz tenor saxophonist Carlos Averhoff Jr.’s latest CD iRESI, which features Aruán Ortiz on piano, Francisco Mela on drums, John Lockwood on bass, and guest artist Greg Osby (produced by Averhoff); tracking vocals and mixing/mastering two songs for indie-electronic trio Orchids (produced by Alex Fio, Nicole Marie, Leah V); and material for DAve Crespo and SPO (produced by Crespo).

Kearney engineered the project Live@Devotion—an in-studio video Web series for Absolutepunk.net—featuring the post-hardcore band Actor|Observer (episode 1) and alt-punk/rock band Wrong Body (episode 2). For each episode, a band performs two original songs. Kearney tracked the project live, and video was shot and edited by ExitSense Media.

Kevin William Records Debut EP at Anchour Studio

Boston-based artist Kevin William did a live recording and video session at Anchour Studio in Windham, Maine. William, who is also vocalist for post-hardcore band Exiting the Fall, created a different sound with this indie/folk EP, full of powerful lyrics, soothing melodies and grandiose arrangements.

“We wanted the recording to be an authentic representation of Kevin’s energy and knew it needed to be dark in tone, but also have a sense of urgency in the sound,” says Stephen Gilbert, managing director at Anchour Studio. “And best of all, it needed to be recorded and mixed start to finish in four hours to hand off to our film crew. For us, it was all about getting the sound right at the beginning without any second-guessing.” You can watch the session and other live sessions at anchourstudio.com/sessions.

Gear-wise, all of usual suspects were present, but the band notably brought some great gear of their own, such as a Veritas Guitars Portlander running into a Bad Cat amp and a 1950s Ludwig kit. “For dynamic processing during the session, we kept it simple and used Summit TLA-50s and a Rockruepel Comp 2,” Gilbert says. “For most pres we were running Focusrite ISA 110s. Our drum overheads, room mics and bass ran through UA 2-610s.”

Gilbert said they we usually sum the mix through a Dangerous 2-bus all running into a Rockruepel Comp 2 before going back into the DAW. But because they needed to finish quickly, they mixed entirely in the box.

Once the track was done, Gilbert and team drove the band to a remote location—a loft in back of a country barn—to start filming. “The location was really vibey and had awesome lighting,” Gilbert says. “But the freezing temperatures were a problem. It was so cold that in-between takes, we were keeping the band and crew alive with hot soup, coffee and wrapping them up in heavy blankets. We had the time of our lives and everything happened in one day!”

Rocking Horse Studios’ Brian Coombes Nominated

Brian Coombes, owner/producer at Rocking Horse Studios in Pittsfield, N.H., has received his second Producer of the Year nomination from the New England Music Awards. His work with local artists Pat & the Hats, the Dusty Gray Band and Tristan Omand led to the nomination. Coombes will be performing with Pat & the Hats (and guest performer Greg Hawkes) at the award ceremony, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 at Showcase Live in Foxborough, Mass.

In other Rocking Horse news, Greg Hawkes (keyboardist for the Cars) was at the studio adding his textures to the new Pat & the Hats record, Fake It Til You Make a Hit, which is produced and engineered by Coombes. Pat & the Hats have been nominated for Best Pop Act at the New England Music Awards. Additionally, noted session drummer Jonathan Mover (Aretha Franklin, Alice Cooper, Shakira, Peter Frampton, Celine Dion, Elton John, Beastie Boys, Joe Satriani) has been at Rocking Horse working on various projects.