NORTH CENTRALThe reigning poster boy for pale-faced musicians, Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) was in haunting Studio 4 at the Chicago Recording Company (Chicago), remixing tracks for the upcoming Pumpkins album, Machina II; Howard Willing was tapped to engineer. The object of Fred Durst's obsession, Christina Aguilera, was in at CRC with producer Ron Fair and engineer Chris Shepard to work on an upcoming Christmas release. Taking a break from the Bay Area fog, Carlos Santana also ventured to the windy city to work with veteran engineer Jim Gaines. The two worked on a live performance that will be webcast by Starmedia... Not too far away at Darfin Studios (Minneapolis), Bernard Allison and producer Todd Gaines, who seems to get around, tracked new material with engineers Todd Fitzgerald and Brian Johnson. Universal Records artist Sister Hazel treated a group of radio contest winners at Darfin's Studio A when 104.1 The Point arranged to have the band play a private gig; Fitzgerald sat in to record the performance.J. Parker and his band stepped into ARS Recording Studios (Alsip, IL) to work on his new album Whose That in My Yard. Parker produced the album himself, and the effort was engineered, mixed and mastered by Larry Scara. Up-and-coming hip hop artist Robert Cox was also in at ARS. The as-yet-untitled release was produced by Cox and engineered by Rob Togliatti...At Apple RoadRecording (Rochester, IL), Roger Wainwright and producer/studio owner Mark Estill were in putting together material for a new stage musical entitled The Story of David, which will include the Brazilian percussion band The Sambalambas; a CD version of the material will also be released next year. Dennis Darling is putting together a new collection of music, which will include material from his entire 30-year career; Estill is engineering and assisting the sessions... Artist/producer Dargi, producer/engineer Mack and assistant engineer Ian Nevets camped out at The Black Castle (Edina, MN) to work on new material for an upcoming soundtrack release.
NORTHWESTStill incapable of observing the speed limit, ex-Van Halen frontman and all around '80s bad ass Sammy Hagar and his WABOritas band, stopped in at Laughing Tiger Productions (San Rafael, CA) to work on his latest album TEN13. Hagar feels that this current album, set for release on Cabo Wabo/Beyond Music, is far and away his best yet. Manning the faders were mix engineer Karl Derfler (No Doubt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd) with studio owner/producer/engineer Ari Rios and Matt Cohen assisting...Not far away at Studio D (Sausalito, CA), John Entwistle (The Who) was in laying some bass lines down for Mario Cioppolina's (Huey Lewis and the News) solo album. Joel Jaffe was in to engineer with Steve Pierson assisting. Josh Joplin was in working on a new release for Artemis Records; Karl Derfler engineered, Jerry Harrison produced and Pierson again was tapped to assist. Local San Francisco band Einstone also found their way north to work on their debut effort with Jaffe and Pierson... Back in the city at Music Annex Inc. (San Francisco), engineer Amy Hunter got the nod from director Maureen Gosling to record, edit and mix her new documentary, Blossoms of Fire.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAAn over abundance of eyeliner, leather pants and feather boas at The Village (Los Angeles) means only one thing: Goth-come-lately guitarist Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers) locked out Studio A to work on a long-awaited solo album. Navarro picked up Rich Costey to engineer and produce the sessions with Matt Marin assisting...Engineer Tim Boyle was making some final tweaks to the soundtrack for the new John Waters film Cecil B. Demented at Blowtorch Flats (Venice). The film was scored by Basil Poledouris (Hunt for Red October) and his daughter Zoe. Also in on the sessions was NIN drummer Jerome Dillon, who contributed a song to the soundtrack...But where's Ricky? Over at Extasy Recording Studios South (Hollywood), Latin American songwriter Robi "Draco" Rosa (who co-wrote Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca"), producer Walter Afanasieff and engineer Dave Reitzas were in working on the single, "She Bangs," which will be included on Martin's forthcoming album...Sony Music Japan recently booked the Bill Putnam-designed Studio B at Ocean Way Studios (Hollywood) to record a big band orchestral album. The effort was arranged and produced by Masanori Sasaji, with Allen Sides and Hiroya Tsubaki engineering. The executive producer for the project was Ito 88 of Sony...A quick jaunt up "the five" will take you to Encore Studios (Burbank), where it was also a busy summer: James "Jimbo" Barton was in Studio B mixing the forthcoming Tattoo the Earth live album. The album will be a collection of live cuts from this year's tour, featuring Nashville Pussy, Slayer, Slipknot, Mudvayne, Dig, Sevendust and a slew of others. James McCrone and Christian Knight assisted with the project. Virgin Records artist Tank mixed their latest offering with "Dino" engineering. Also making noise at Encore was artist/producer/A&R guru Art Alexakis and producer Neal Avron. The two booked Studio A to continue work on the latest Everclear album.
SOUTHWESTGloom, despair, distortion and some dirty rock 'n' roll slithered into AMG Studios Recording (Houston, TX). Coal Chamber's Dez Farara got his first gig as a producer, working with the Houston band Dirt on their debut effort, Industry Overload.
NORTHEASTIt was long, hot and sticky summer of studio work at Sound of Music (Richmond, VA). Artist Bruce Guthro stopped in to work with artist/producer/studio co-owner David Lowery (Cracker, Counting Crows) on an upcoming EMI-Canada release. Kock records artist LP laid down their debut effort with the Sound of Music house band and Lowery. Producer Brian Paulson worked with Drag City artist Royal Trucks, Merge Records artist Shark Quest and River City High of the Dog House/Big Wheel imprint. Producer/co-owner John Morand (Gwar, Sparklehorse) worked with TKO Records' Sixer on their debut EP, with a full-length effort planned for December...The final touches were put on number of new projects at Trutone Inc. (New Jersey). Engineer Phil Austin and assistant Aldo Marin mastered the new LP by Rico Mambo; the as-yet-untitled album is set for release on Cutting Records. Kurt Upper engineered the single "Cowgirl" by Underworld to vinyl. Austin also engineered the single "Summer Breeze" by Aphrodite...The Beastie Boys stepped into Soho's Greene Street Recording (New York City) to work on an upcoming Grand Royal release. The Beasties are co-producing the project with producer Bill; Jamey Staub was tapped to engineer. Also at Greene Street, artist/producer Pete Rock and engineer Rod Hui kept busy with a number of new projects. The two worked on an instrumental album for the UK label Barely Breaking Even. Rock worked on his own album, which will be released on his Soul Brothers Records. On the production front, Rock and Hui completed projects with artist M.O.P for Loud Records, MCA's Black Thought, Big L off Rawkus and Freddie Fox for Landspeed...Norwegian pop sensation Steinar Albrigtsen and American artist Tom Pacheco recently completed the album Nobodies at NRS Recording (Catskill, NY). Scott Petito engineered, produced and played bass on the record.
SOUTHEASTThe always lovely Faith Hill and producer Chris Noll strolled into East Iris Recording Studios (Nashville) to track some new material. Ben Fowler engineered the project and Kevin Szymanski sat in to assist. Producer Toby Wright also camped out at Iris with Maverick Records artist C-14 to record their new album. Def Jam artist Kruna breezed in with producer Neal Jones and engineer Monte McDearis to do some mixing and overdubs for an upcoming release...An eclectic roster of artists to say the least at Seventeen Grand Recording (Nashville): Mindy McCready worked on some new material with producer Billy Joe Walker and engineers Chuck Ainlay and Dave Thoener; Travis Tritt also teamed up with Walker to produce his new album with Ainlay mixing and Amy Frigo assisting; Kenny Rogers was in producing his next album with engineer Jim McKell and assistant Bobby Morse; engineer Dave Thoener and assistant Matt Weeks mixed a Moby/Elton John duet for Moby's upcoming self-produced album.
STUDIO NEWSAllusion Studios recently announced the official opening of a new facility in Tucson, AZ. The main room features a 32-channel Soundcraft Ghost, 24 tracks of Tascam DA-78, Mackie Ultramix Automation Console and Event 20/20 monitoring. The new multiroom facility also offers a separate audio restoration and mastering suite. Additionally, there is an artist's lounge and conference room... Redwax Audio Productions has opened a new post-production suite at RAW Media Technologies in Orlando, FL. Redwax specializes in the creation and production of original music, sound design, ADR mix-to-picture and audio layback.
SR AUDIO'S CLAIM TO FAMEBy keeping its doors open 20 hours a day, almost every day, SR Audio has made a name for itself in the center of the Midwest, Des Moines, Iowa. Producing a Platinum album was the stepping stone for this studio. It's an especially impressive accomplishment, because this facility dedicates half of its day to commercial recording.
When Mix first met Mike Lawyer, studio manager and owner of SR Audio, six years ago, he was thrilled to be working on Walt Disney commercial recordings. Now, Lawyer talks about Slipknot, the new hardcore/rap band out of Iowa. The popularity and success of this band has flooded down to SR Audio, putting a spotlight on the Iowa music scene and clearly demarcating the line between commercial and music recording.
"Between nine and five, we appeal to our corporate clients, look like a corporate studio," Lawyer says. "After five, the lava lamps come on and the lights go down, and we turn into an artist studio. More or less, we try to close down the advertising site at five, gear up, and then the independent producers or our staff engineers begin the evening projects."
The newly remodeled 3,500-square-foot facility handles a variety of music genres - hardcore metal bands like Slipknot, jazz and gospel. "Iowa has never really been known for a music scene," Lawyer says. "It is underground, but not underground like you'd expect in a big city or a major music market. Because there aren't a lot of places to play and tour in Iowa, most bands who do tour are touring out-of-state. But when they're home, they're doing a lot of songwriting and a lot of recording.
"Because these artists are getting in to record their material," Lawyer continues, "they are rehearsing to record, as opposed to the amount of time that gets eaten up through just rehearsing to go perform live. It is just a lot of people writing and recording a tremendous amount of material. They may even be writing and recording without even having planned whether they are going to be shopping it or releasing an album."
Though Lawyer is forced to be secretive about new projects coming in (Slipknot's record label wants to enforce the metaphor of the masks the band wears), he did say there are currently three members of Slipknot working on side projects at SR. Additionally, Lawyer says that Slipknot will be returning there to work on their new album. "This is the place they prefer to work. It's where they're comfortable and where the magic was originally created. We're guaranteed that we'll be doing the pre-production and demo work [on the next Slipknot release] here. That just lends a lot of credibility and brings more business to us."
Despite the new Slipknot-related projects, and the work that is coming into SR Audio as a result of Slipknot's success, Lawyer remains low-key in terms of promotional work. "I'm not a big schmoozer and not a big hypester. I don't like to say anything I can't back up that isn't the truth. I've traveled all over the world and worked in studios all over the world, and I still chose to live and put a studio together in Iowa."
Visit SR Audio at www.sraudio.com.