â”€Jeff Watson and Joey P. Track Using Toft Pre Ampsâ”€
Gardena, Calif.â”€A rigorous touring schedule in Europe and Asia, as well as the US, has kept Night Ranger busy literally for years, with only a handful of live and compilation albums appearing during that time. Now, Night Ranger is releasing their first studio album in a decade: â€œHole in the Sunâ€? (Frontiers), July 1st.
â€œHole in the Sunâ€? contains a dozen new songs and features the guitar of Jeff Watson, a founding member of Night Ranger and noted session veteran. In addition to playing and writing on the album, Watson also shared production and engineering duties at his Marin County, CA studio, Camp Studios. Night Ranger also enlisted Michael Lardie, (Great White, Dokken) engineer/producer Joey P. (Ludacris, Sevendust, Jay-Z) and Matt Cohen (Talking Heads, Kenny Wayne Shepherd) to handle production responsibilities.
The album has a long genesis going back to the initial recording sessions in May of 2005, when the band took a break from touring, and following a linkup between Watson and Joey P. (which since has evolved into a friendship and numerous joint projects involving Camp Studios.)
â€œPrior to tracking, Jeff and I worked to set up the ultimate input chain at Camp Studios,â€? says Joey P. â€œI came out [from the Atlanta area] with two Toft mono EC-1â€™s and a stereo ATC-2, and Jeff bought a couple of EC-1â€™s as well. We used a variety of mics and wired everything with Mogami cable.â€? Some sessions also occurred in other area studios such as group member Jack Bladesâ€™ Sonoma studio. The album was mixed at Trident Studios in Pacheco, CA by Juan Urteaga and mastered by Dave Donnelly. Pro Tools was the sole recording and mixing medium.
“I’ve always worked toward making the best recordings possible,â€? says Jeff Watson, â€œbut I decided to take it up a few notches for this project. Joey P. and I started with a plan to upgrade Camp Studios to the bleeding edge, and proceeded from there…. We got great support from a number of manufacturers, as well as Guitar Centerâ€™s Relations Manager, Dave Weiderman, and we even rebuilt the vocal booth from scratch.â€?
â€œJoey brought me into the Toft family and with their EC-1 preamps, along with some of my old classics, and we got amazing tones on everything. I knew we’d accomplished our goal when [mixer] Juan called me to rave about the drums, noting that they sounded so much better than the stuff he gets from other studios…. We do so much music, TV, and film work here, it’s very inspiring when I hear all the great feedback.â€?
Using the portable Toft pre amp/condenser/EQâ€™s and the same mic complement helped maintain the consistency and integrity of the signal chain at the front end. â€œThe pres are great,â€? says Joey P., â€œThey hold their own against much more expensive gear… What I love about the compression is that it attenuates the gain with a real smooth transition, not this hard crash-in and suck out you hear on a lot of records where lesser gear or bad plug-ins are used.â€?
â€œHole in the Sunâ€? is Night Rangerâ€™s eighth studio album in a career that began with â€œDawn Patrolâ€? in 1982. Founding members Jeff Watson, keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald, lead vocalist/drummer Kelly Keagy, guitarist Brad Gillis, and bassist/singer Jack Blades amassed 16 million album sales worldwide. Released in Europe in April 07, â€œHole in the Sun,â€? will be available in the States in June 2008.
About PMI Audio Group:
Established in 1995, PMI Audio Group is a professional audio distribution company located in Gardena, California specializing in the distribution of professional audio products for recording, video, post, film, broadcast, and the fixed installation markets. Current brands of distribution include Studio Projects, Joemeek, Toft Audio Designs, and Stephen Paul Audio.
Camp Watson Studios, Mill Valley, CA.
Left to right: Guitarist Jeff Watson, guitarist Brad Gillis, bassist Jack Blades, engineer/keyboardist Michael Lardie, engineer/producer Joey P., and vocalist/drummer Kelly Keagy.