Håvard Skåtun

Last week I had the pleasure of producing an EP project on Håvard. He comes from a small town in Norway named Fusa, on Bjørnefjorden, south of Bergen. We recorded 6 songs, at a fantastic Music Row studio named Quad Studios Nashville, and used world class session musicians: Jerry Roe on drums, Tim Marks on bass, John Deaderick on keys, and Russ Pahl on steel guitar and other. Taylor Pollert engineered, assisted by Quad staff engineer Brett Lind. 

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A lot has changed in my life recently. Change is inevitable. We all know this. What has made ALL the difference for me, though, is the interpretation of these changes. It's not the change that is good or bad, it's my perception of them. It's how I deal with them. It's the lessons I learn from them. It's the opportunities that I find. A lot of these changes were not my decisions. But how I've reacted to them is ALL my decision. I'm SO excited for what's coming up! I wish I could go into them all, but for now... suffice it to say that incredible music will be heading your way. :) Some amazing albums in the works...

Embrace the changes in your life and make them your own. I redesigned my website in tribute to my changes. And I LOVE it. I hope you do too. See you down the road...

Tribute to your mentor

I hope everyone reading this has had the honor of having a great mentor. That one person who is "in the know", can offer you the wisdom of years of experience, and point out the potholes and pitfalls to avoid on your path forward. A good mentor can easily establish the very direction of your entire career.

I was lucky and nearly fell into the Sound Emporium Studio family back in 2000, where I met Dave Sinko, chief engineer at the time. I'm not sure I realized what good fortune I had come upon. Not only a world class recording engineer, Dave is also a "sound" man in more ways than one can count. I of course followed him around the studios, constantly observing and asking questions, trying to figure out not only how he got those amazing sounds, but also how his brain processed what the room environment was doing to those sounds. But possibly even more importantly than that I met and befriended a lover of sound, a lover of acoustics, a lover of great music, and a lover of life. What a find!

I recently had the great priviledge of working on a project with Dave! I've been touring with the progressive acoustic band Crooked Still from Boston for a few years now, and have engineered and mixed two of their albums. When I couldn't record their most recent upcoming EP due to a prior commitment Dave Sinko stepped in. I was still brought on to mix the project, and when I opened the session the instrument tones practically jumped from the speakers! As a mix engineer you DREAM of getting sessions with beautiful tones and Dave delivers with incredible accuracy every time. The band loved working with him and he even came to my studio and we collaborated on some of the mixing. To be able to work together on a magnificent project and have the respect and trust of your mentor, is truly an honor.

So this blog post is a little tribute to my mentor, Dave Sinko, one of the greatest recording engineers I know, one of the greatest men I know, and a true gift to the music world. May all of you get an opportunity to work with this incredible man.

Thanks Dave.... for everything...


Creative Spaces

This blog is way overdue. I'm sorry. More to myself than others. I tell myself, "THIS TIME, you are going to keep up your blog!"    sigh

But I found something that is too cool to not share. There is a unique team of young audio engineers and musicians in NYC that are finding new life for old and abandoned buildings in the city - recording in them. Such a beautiful way to use these buildings to put a unique sonic imprint on these recordings. NPR just posted an article about them, which is where I read of them on Facebook. Please check them out...

Mason Jar Music

And their article on NPR

Enjoy, my friends

Beatles in Mono

I've been listening to the Beatles recordings lately. Everyone is familiar with their musical genius, but few people have heard them the way THEY wanted to be heard. Luckily that's changing with the release of the Beatles Mono Box Set. Most of the mixes that everyone listens to today are the stereo mixes, but back when the Beatles mixed their albums the time and effort was spent on the mono mixes, with the stereo mixes as an afterthought.

Imagine this: the Beatles themselves, when recording in the studio, were listening on their headphones to a mono mix. When they went into the control to listen back to their masterpieces, they listened in mono. So the band and the engineer and producer all made their tonal adjustments based on mono.

For example, lets take a song that has two electric guitars. If you mixed that in a stereo environment a logical and common technique is to pan one guitar hard left, and the other to the right, creating a very stereo sound and also giving each guitar the space they need to be heard easily, simply by the distance between them in the mix. But in mono, both guitars need to be heard in the same aural space, so they would use different techniques to achieve this goal such as different guitars, different amps, and EQ'ing and compressing each guitar in a different way, thereby giving each guitar its own voice in the mix.

It had never occurred to me before that the Beatles were listening to their mixes in MONO in their headphones when they were recording. It's an obvious fact, but I simply had never thought about it. Try putting your stereo mixes in mono and listen to see if each instrument has it's own space. If it sounds great in mono, it will sound amazing in stereo.

Cheers to mono!

Alaska tour, summer 2010

Half the Alaskan tour with Crooked Still is done! We played a fabulous sold out show in Anchorage at the Snow Goose in a really cool room, and then a sold out show at Vagabond Blues in Palmer, about an hour away. The show at Vagabond's was especially fun! The 24 hour daylight must have been getting to the band cause they were playing some INSANE stuff! What a fun time! I'd especially like to thank Rick of Rick Miller Productions for providing the sound gear for these two shows. I worked with Rick last time we were in Alaska, and you won't find a kinder, nicer or harder working man than this guy, and he got us everything we needed for some great shows. Thanks Rick!

In half an hour we catch the shuttle from the hotel to the Anchorage airport to get our flight to Nome. Oh yea, watch for more posts from Nome and the Midnight Sun Folk Festival!

Welcome to

Welcome to my blog! I'm not sure what I'm going to write about yet so I'll let my whims guide me. Let me know if you want something discussed here.

The month of June has taken on a life of it's own!

I did a weeklong tour with Crooked Still in California, and a week in Alaska is coming up. In fact I'm sitting in Seattle now on my way there. I'm excited to be back in Anchorage and Palmer this trip, as well as my first trip to Nome, AK for the Midnight Sun Folk Festival! Can't wait!

I also did a few shows with 18South in California, including the famous Strawberry Festival and a very nice show in Napa valley. Love the vino!

Many hours were spent in the studio finishing mixes for the ORBO & the Longshots Live 10 album, Treva Blomquist's fabulous new album, and later this month I'll start mixing Della Mae's new EP which I'm really excited about.

Luckily I'm managing to get in a few games of golf as well, and I'm finally beginning to hone my iron game. 

Until next time...