Another highlight of my year was working with Noah Rickertsen. Noah is a singer-songwriter with a pop/country flair. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and recently won 2nd place at the San Diego County Fair singer-songwriter competition. He just has a really, really good voice. I find his voice both familiar and unique and the same time. That, along with his great melodies and lyrics, makes his songs very engaging. One of the fun things about working with Noah in the studio is there is normally lots of room for experimentation. He normally has an idea of where he wants the song to go, but other than the main guitar and vocals a lot of the arrangements are written in the studio which is always an exciting process since you don’t know where the song will take you. Whenever he comes into the studio I know I have to be ready for anything he might throw at me which keeps me on my toes and makes the sessions exciting.
There’s far too many other projects to list in detail, but a few more favorites would include:
Mandala: These guys are a metalcore band who I mixed a few songs for. Their music is great and their attitudes are even better. They have a really huge sound which is super fun to mix. In 2017 I’m looking forward to doing some songs together start to finish.
NEIN: Power pop from the 1980s reunited 30 years later. This trio gets a huge energetic sound from few members. Their sound reminds me of bands like The Who which is awesome! We did an eight song album together and it was a ton of fun to have these guys in the studio.
Brendan Clemente: Brendan is a singer-songwriter with a love for reggae music. We did a single together back in the spring and it was awesome to help him build out the production around his vocals and guitar. He also had a friend add some horns and keys which really gave the song a cool flair!
The Hand of Gavrilo: This band is awesome. They’re a three piece rock band that’s loud, dirty, and unique sounding. They make great use of ambient/spacey effects, bass distortion, and interesting time signatures and grooves. I’ve had the opportunity to mix four songs for them over the last couple years and they just recently came in and tracked and mixed a new three song EP. Keep an eye out for that soon in the new year.
Tony Silipigno: Tony has a really cool, unique sound and he has written some of the most fun songs I’ve had the pleasure of recording. His style could be described as punk rock songwriting over almost ragtime-esq piano, which sounds like a strange combination, but it works perfectly and his lyrics are delightfully honest and fun. His five song piano and vocal EP was recently completed and should be out soon.
One of the biggest additions to the studio this year was a new guitar head. I wanted to add something to my collection that was reliable and able to do a wide range of tones very well. After lots of shopping around I landed on the Mesa 5:25 Express Plus. This amp is awesome because it has four different voicings that can provide a wide variety of tones from a couple clean flavors and light drives all the way up through chunky and heavy distortions. It also includes three different types of EQs and switchable wattages (which make the amp class A, class A push-pull, or class A/B) to really make it a swiss army knife amp! It’s also a nice contrast to my Fender Twin since the Mesa uses EL84 tubes and the Fender uses 6L6 tubes.