FEB 25, 2021
It’s a relief to be sitting here in a hoodie and pjama pants typing this update. With Autumn just around the corner and cooler temperatures on the way, I’m glad that I can start turning on studio gear without making this room unbearable to sleep in at night. The hotter days forced me to find other activities which have improved my setup and the house and yard are looking good too. So there’s an upside to the Summer months.
It’s good to take some time off from writing and producing. I’ve picked up my nylon string guitar and played bongos when I felt like making some sound and practicing. Two of my favourite instruments require no electricity. My hybrid drum set is part-electronic so that requires turning on studio gear. I could have whipped out a practice pad, which is something I need to start doing. There’s some drum books I bought last year off Facebook Marketplace that are waiting for me to open them.
My SRE-555 tape echo seized up over Summer which sucks. I took it to Simon at Soul Amp who told me it was a mess inside. Whoever had ‘serviced’ it in the past did some nasty things to it which I had no idea of. I had bought it from Found Sound thinking it was in good condition and it cost me a pretty penny. It’s going to cost me $680 to bring it home so I’m disappointed about that, but at least it will come back in good working order. The reverb section was really noisy before and Simon has fixed that so I am pleased to know I can use all of the unit’s functions.
It’s been an expensive purchase but the tape echo is valuable addition to my setup. Plugins like ‘Outer Space’, ‘Echoboy’ and Valhalla’s Delay are great for use ‘in the box’ but nothing can do tape echo and spring reverb like the real thing, The plugins I mentioned get used in my productions, but to get a truly authentic sound that’s hands-on, I had to invest in buying hardware.
Adding dub-style mixing moves is important to my vision and using MIDI controllers doesn’t really appeal. They are a pain to set up the encoders a rarely accurate. It’s just not how I enjoy to work. Having a mixing console and some outboard gear allows me to ‘play’ the sounds a bit more, like a DJ mix. It adds a human element and imperfections that equal character. A balance between digital precision and analog imperfection.
There’s a lot of stuff I could write about here today. I’ve had new projects daily that I’ve been doing: adding acoustic treatment to my room, collecting a few combo organs to find the right on for my studio, fixing my soundcard with a cheap solution I found on Gearslutz, building my drum set, deep cleaning the Yamaha G50-112iii that I bought for cheap off Marketplace, learning to solder, learning about electronics, it’s been a busy Summer.
I’ve also been learning how to cook some new dishes from the Indian kitchen and brushing up on my Italian repertoire. These new skills are saving me money and it’s rewarding. I can now make: Tadka Dal, Chana Masala, Veggie Korma, Aloo Dum, Aloo Gobi and rose/mango lassis. I can now make enough dishes for a thali plate which is an achievement. I’m ready to learn a few new dishes and I’m moving on to desserts. I’m starting on easy stuff like apple crumble and pancakes and have had good results so far.
My studio upgrades have also encouraged me to trim the fat and clear out some gear that wasn’t seeing much use. I’ve sold a few things and still have a few bits for sale on Facebook and Gumtree. My Mesa Boogie Studio 22+ will probably be going to Orange, NSW soon and that will buy a speaker cab to pair with the Fender Bassman 100 I have from Stephen of Incursion. It will also buy a Two Notes Captor to help me track guitars on day when I can’t turn an amp up to put a mic on it. I can also try it with the Yamaha amp I resurrected.
I managed to move the Sandpit x Glenno tees that I made last year which helps to collect the cash I need to pay for the tape echo repair and the studio gear shuffle. There’s one left on the Bandcamp and I sent two up to Red Eye Records in Sydney on consignment. The t-shirts turned out great and I’m glad I did them, but these merch items cost me money each time I do them. I’m down about $200 each time as it’s expensive to create something of good quality. But I can’t see the point in doing it on the cheap. You’ll only end up with a junk product which is a waste of resources.
So with Summer drawing to a close, I am excited to get back into the studio to write, record and play with my gear to make some interesting music. I’ve already started on a new 140bpm track after getting my Jomox MBase01 back from David Aurora. It needed a new rotary encoder as it wasn’t functioning properly – the value was going backwards whcn turned clockwise and it was very frustrating. It’s a cool analog kick synth unit that will feature on plenty of tracks.
I’ll write some special blog posts about my Summer projects when I get time. I’m kinda waiting until I progress further with them. e.g. my drum set is still not quite complete yet so I’d rather write about that when I can show a photo of the finished kit. Turning on my laptop and monitor alone create heat in here so even those things would warm my room. I am sure you get the picture by now.
Until next time,
NOTABLE VIEWING FROM RECENT TIMES:
• ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ (film, 1962)
• ‘The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill’ (TV series, ABC)
• ‘Uncle Doug’ on YouTube