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Ohio Is For Lovers Hawthorne Heights

In April, 2004, Dominick Maita of Airshow Mastering received yet another album's worth of digital files from Chicago-based producer, engineer, musician, and regular Airshow client Sean O'Keefe.

“Ohio Is For Lovers” Hawthorne Heights
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Single: “Ohio Is For Lovers”

Album: The Silence In Black And White (Victory Records)

Dates Recorded: February-March 2004 at Smart Studios in Madison, WI and Big Gold Studios in Chicago

Single Producer: Sean O’Keefe

Single Engineer: Sean O’Keefe

Single Pro Tools Engineer: Dan Duszynski

Single Mixer: Sean O’Keefe at Gravity Studios in Chicago

Dates Mastered: April 2004 at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, Col.

Mastering Engineer: Dominick Maita

Other Projects: Maita has mastered O’Keefe-produced projects for Fall Out Boy and Spitalfield as well as releases for Less Than Jake, Loudon Wainwright III, String Cheese Incident, and Jewel, among others.

Single Songwriter: Hawthorne Heights

Tracking Consoles: 40-input Trident A Range and Neotek Elan II

Mixing Console: Neve 8058

Recorders: Digidesign Pro Tools|HD

Mastering Monitors: B&W Nautilus 801 loudspeakers powered by a stereo Classe Omega amplifier

Mastering Console and Workstations: Muth Audio analog transfer console; Steinberg Nuendo and Sequoia digital audio workstations

Mastering Processors: API 550M stereo equalizer, Manley Labs Variable-Mu mastering compressor, Sontec 430B mastering equalizerIn April, 2004, Dominick Maita of Airshow Mastering received yet another album’s worth of digital files from Chicago-based producer, engineer, musician, and regular Airshow client Sean O’Keefe. The project — Hawthorne Heights’ The Silence In Black And White for Victory Records — featured eleven well-produced songs, which Maita promptly began to master. “We did a couple of revisions and I never heard about it again,” Maita recalls nearly a year and a half later. “Now suddenly, it’s the biggest thing.”

Presently, Hawthorne Heights — a comparatively pop post-hardcore/screamo band — is experiencing substantial spins of “Ohio Is For Lovers” while The Silence In Black And White continues to rub elbows with major label competition on the top quarter of the Billboard 200. Most recently, the album – upon which O’Keefe was an uncredited producer, engineer, and mixer — has been certified Gold by the RIAA and is now available as a special edition CD/DVD release featuring live and demo bonus CD cuts, live video performances, interviews, and more.

Maita, who mastered The Silence… at Airshow’s Boulder Studio B, insists that O’Keefe’s thoughtful and skilled production made the project a joy to complete. “He’s a brilliant mixer,” Maita offers. “When this project came to me, I didn’t know how or where it was recorded but it was of great quality, which I’ve come to expect from him.”

According to Maita, all audio files for The Silence In Black and White offered O’Keefe’s invariably solid bottom end, and as a “very guitar-oriented record,” Maita focused on keeping things large, vibrant, and alive. “I tried to keep everything in full, panoramic view without losing the vocal,” he says. In doing so, Maita remembers utilizing his Manley Variable-Mu compressor in a very conservative manner. “Compression was very light. I barely touched the Manley; the meters barely moved.”

Culling knowledge from his 15 years as a recording engineer and mixer, Maita uses his abilities to further the goals of a release’s original sonic sculptors. And in the case of the Hawthorne Heights project, Maita feels that was exactly what he did. “That’s what I always have in mind: what is the focus of the performance supposed to be? I never try to change the focus; I only attempt to accentuate it.”