Posts Tagged ‘Intense Men’

Recording Intense Men

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Intense Men approached Ironbird with a challenge – make us a record, on a budget, in a day, that sounds, well…intense.  Maybe I’m paraphrasing, but that is how I inferred it.  The Drums/Bass/Guitar/Clarinet instrumental quartet writes and performs music that is hard to categorize.   Sometimes aggressive, sometimes melancholy, but always incredibly thick and deep…oozing with saturation and tone – performed with acute musicianship.  Shove your pretty jazz records through a gnarled rusty cheesegrater and melt them in the microwave over some sparking shrapnel – consume – and we’ll be on the same page.

Drummer, Ben Ross, played a huge part in the sound of this recording.  Ben set up the night before the session and we recorded some drum tests.  Ben had a vision for the tonal shape of the drums – and as usual, the best set up was the simplest.  With minimal mics on the kit – the overall sound of the drums is a mono overhead ribbon mic (AEA R92).  As always, Ironbird’s iconic Chandler TG1 compressor plays a huge part in the harmonic saturation and pump of the drum kit.  Bury me with that monster! (the compressor…not Ben)

The simplified set up was an engineer’s dream – and then Mike Noordzy and his honkin’ contralto clarinet showed up to the party!   Fortunately two Beyerdynamic m160 ribbon mics captured the woody essence of the beast – and the unidirectional design (rare for a ribbon mic) maintained a substantial amount of rear-mic rejection.  This was key since all the musicians were in the same room – and drum bleed in to the clarinet mics was a concern.

Bassist Steve Honoshowsky was playing a classic headless Steinberger bass – captured by a Little Labs STD DI box, preamped by a vintage Telefunken tube in the Sebatron.   The clean, round, and accurate bass tone was not what the doctor ordered for this record – so the bass was gritty’d up during mixdown.

Guitarist Chris Caratello was a six-string monster during this session – injecting soul and energy in to his chugs and leads.  The album’s thickness and tonal butter was a result of Chris’ tone – achieved with his tube head powering a 2-12″ Carvin loaded cabinet – isolated in another room.  The cab was double mic’d with a Shure SM7b & Sennheiser MD421.  Chris commented that the tone of the guitar tracks sounded like the tone that he is used to hearing from his amp.  A seemingly simple concept – but after numerous points of circuitry and conversion – such a feat is sometimes easier said than done.  We were happy to keep Chris’ tone intact for the record.

Be sure to stop in at Nacht Records to pick up a copy of the album, and support the other independent bands they endorse. You can listen to the full album recordings here: