The Deli NYC #55 - Half Waif, NYC MixCon 2018

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Free Mixing Advice by Top Producers<br />

the deli<br />

nyc emerging bands and gear<br />

Issue <strong>#55</strong> Vol. #3 Summer <strong>2018</strong> thedelimag.com<br />

H a l f W a i f<br />

July 21-22, <strong>2018</strong>

mixcon <strong>2018</strong> sponsors<br />

Alto Music<br />

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<strong>NYC</strong>’s Handsome Audio manufacture the Zulu,<br />

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Phoenix Audio<br />

Originally formed in 1996 as the UK’s<br />

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a California-based company building boutique-grade<br />

professional audio equipment<br />

including mic preamps, EQs, compressors,<br />

DIs and summing mixers.<br />

Sonarworks<br />

Sonarworks’ mission to allow both music creators<br />

and consumers to hear music the way it<br />

was meant to be, across all devices, through<br />

software that removes unwanted coloration<br />

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Soundtoys<br />

Soundtoys is a Vermont based company that<br />

makes audio plug-ins for mixing that bring color,<br />

character, and creativity to your digital music<br />

studio by merging the sound and vibe of classic<br />

analog gear with modern and musical twists.<br />

Steinberg<br />

Steinberg is one of the world’s largest manufacturers<br />

of music and audio software and<br />

hardware, with millions of users worldwide,<br />

thanks in particular to its popular DAW Cubase.<br />

Steinberg also created the VST (Virtual<br />

Studio Technology) plugin interface used by<br />

almost all DAWs.<br />

Plugin Alliance<br />

Plugin Alliance is a new “Über-standard”,<br />

supporting all major plugin formats and uniting<br />

some of the best-known international audio<br />

companies like brainworx, Lindell Audio,<br />

SPL and Elysia, under one, virtual roof.<br />

Producers &<br />

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<strong>The</strong> members of the Producers & Engineers<br />

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recording. As a Recording Academy membership<br />

division, the P&E Wing advises the Academy<br />

on technical matters related to recording<br />

and also addresses matters of concern to producers,<br />

engineers, remixers, manufacturers,<br />

technologists, and other related professionals.<br />

Spitfire Audio<br />

Spitfire Audio is a British music technology company<br />

that specializes in sounds: sample libraries,<br />

virtual instruments and other useful software<br />

devices. <strong>The</strong>y collaborate with top composers,<br />

artists and engineers to build musical tools and<br />

libraries that any musician can use.<br />

Universal Audio<br />

Founded in 1958 by Bill Putnam Sr., Universal<br />

Audio has been synonymous with<br />

innovative recording products since its inception.<br />

Re-founded in 1999, it now manufactures<br />

both outboard recording gear and<br />

digital modeling plug-ins powered through an<br />

award-winning DSP platform.


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Deli</strong> Magazine is a trademark of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Deli</strong> Magazine, LLC, Brooklyn & Mother West, <strong>NYC</strong>. All contents ©<strong>2018</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Deli</strong> Magazine. All rights reserved.<br />

the deli<br />

nyc emerging bands and gear<br />

Issue <strong>#55</strong> Vol. #3 Summer <strong>2018</strong> thedelimag.com<br />

Editor In Chief / Publisher<br />

Paolo De Gregorio<br />

Founder<br />

Charles Newman<br />

art director<br />

Kaz Yabe ( www.kazyabe.com)<br />

executive Editor<br />

quang d. tran<br />

assistant editor<br />

Tucker Pennington<br />

Cover photography<br />

Tonje Thilesen<br />

hip-hop editor<br />

Jason Grimste (aka brokemc)<br />

Web Developer<br />

Binod Lamsal<br />

Extra Editing<br />

Christopher Scapelliti<br />

Contributing Writers<br />

Ethan Ames<br />

Ben Apatoff<br />

Mackenzie Cummings Brady<br />

Cameron Carr<br />

Dave Cromwell<br />

Geena Kloeppel<br />

Lilly Milman<br />

Amanda Ogea<br />

Meghan Rose<br />

William Sisskind<br />

Henry Solotaroff-Webber<br />

<strong>The</strong> Kitchen<br />

Christopher Scapelliti<br />

Brandon Stoner<br />

intern<br />

Lily Crandall<br />

Publishers<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Deli</strong> Magazine, LLC<br />

Mother West, <strong>NYC</strong><br />

Advertising Inquiries:<br />

paolo.dg@thedelimag.com<br />

Press Inquiries:<br />

info@thedelimagazine.com<br />

Table of Contents<br />

p.6 Fresh Buzz<br />

p.8 Records of the Month<br />

p.10 Feature: <strong>NYC</strong> Record Industry<br />

p.18 <strong>Half</strong> <strong>Waif</strong><br />

p.20 Recording <strong>Half</strong> <strong>Waif</strong>’s Lavender<br />

p.22 Bands + Gear<br />

p.28 <strong>NYC</strong> <strong>MixCon</strong><br />

Since the turn of the millennium, both<br />

the record and recording industries have<br />

gone through a major upheaval.<br />

Because of the collapse of physical media<br />

sales (CDs) and the minimal margins<br />

on streaming, the record industry is a lot<br />

smaller than it used to be, but it seems to<br />

have now found its footing.<br />

In this issue we interviewed four Brooklyn<br />

label insiders about how they operate<br />

within this new scenario. <strong>The</strong> result is a<br />

feature many of our musician readers<br />

should find informative, and at times<br />

even surprising.<br />

Recording also went through a similar<br />

transition caused by the rise of home<br />

recording, which empowered the artist—<br />

while killing many professional studios.<br />

<strong>The</strong> advice we’ll be providing for musicians<br />

about recording is even better: six<br />

live classes about mixing with some of<br />

the best producers in the world, at the<br />

fourth edition of the <strong>NYC</strong> Mixcon, hosted<br />

at the Manhattan Center on July 21-22.<br />

Hope to see you there!<br />

Paolo De Gregorio<br />

Editor in Chief

Fresh Buzz | New <strong>NYC</strong> Artists<br />

While most acts take years to develop a<br />

mature sound and build a fan base, some<br />

stars seem to be born within a matter of<br />

weeks. This appears to be the case for<br />

Brooklyn-born, avant-soul-pop singer<br />

King Princess, who released her debut<br />

EP 1950 earlier in <strong>2018</strong> and just played two<br />

sold out shows at Elsewhere’s Rooftop.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first artist signed to Mark Ronson’s label<br />

Zelig, King Princess is also a producer<br />

and multi-instrumentalist with a deep musical<br />

background, and, judging from her<br />

kinky videos, an inclination towards subtle<br />

provocation that can only generate intrigue<br />

among music fans. (Paolo de gregorio)<br />

A shiver runs down our spines every time<br />

we read the words “self-directed video,” in<br />

particular when applied to artists that play<br />

musical genres that require top notch production<br />

values (like soul music). But in the<br />

case of <strong>NYC</strong>’s soul-pop artist Raveena<br />

(previously known as Raveena Aurora) our<br />

premonitions were proved wrong. With the<br />

help of director James Ronkko, the artist<br />

of Indian and American descent created<br />

a simple, but truly beautiful video that<br />

matches the breezy, lightheartedly intimate<br />

vibes of her single “Sweet Time.” A woman<br />

of many talents, Raveena not only looks incredibly<br />

comfortable in front of the camera,<br />

but also supports her art with commitment<br />

to social causes rarely found in soul pop<br />

acts. Her 2017 debut EP Shanti highlights<br />

her silky voice and mellow attitude, which<br />

evidently resonate with many New Yorkers,<br />

since she sold out Baby’s All Right for her<br />

July 27 show. (paolo de gregorio)<br />

Actress and singer-songwriter Lola<br />

Kirke dropped a double-whammy of<br />

news over the past month; she released<br />

the music video for her latest single “Supposed<br />

To”, and announced that her first<br />

full-length album Heart Head West will see<br />

the light on August 10. Both the single and<br />

the album deal with matters personal to<br />

Kirke; self-doubt, family matters, and pressures<br />

from society bubble to the surface<br />

in her lyrics. In the video for “Supposed<br />

To”, an older woman allows herself to let<br />

loose. Kirke says of the track: “How rebellious<br />

would you feel if you had spent your<br />

life just doing things that you felt that you<br />

King Princess<br />

<strong>The</strong> Nectars<br />

Avant-Soul-Pop<br />

Alt Pop-Rock<br />

were supposed to do? That society told<br />

you to do?” Kirke explores that theme and<br />

more on the upcoming LP; she’ll support<br />

its release with a residency at Union Pool<br />

on August 21, 22, and 23. (will sisskind)<br />

New Jersey quartet <strong>The</strong> Nectars is<br />

finding a way for the rock of 20 years ago<br />

to spill like a smashed Capri Sun pouch<br />

back into our consciousness. <strong>The</strong>ir songs<br />

are about having fun, being free and in love,<br />

and offer a sound appropriately reminiscent<br />

of those positively punchy, female fronted,<br />

Lola Kirke<br />

Raveena<br />

Singer-Songwriter<br />

Soul Pop<br />

power pop bands of the late ’90s/early<br />

aughts (think No Doubt and Paramore).<br />

Singer Jessica Kenny has the presence<br />

and vocal prowess to take this band beyond<br />

the local circuit (as a matter fact, they<br />

have already toured the UK earlier this year)<br />

and songs like “I Want It” (our favorite) and<br />

recently released “We Will Run” have the<br />

melodic appeal to win over the new generation<br />

of melodic rock seekers. After a string<br />

of singles accompanied by lo-fi-ish videos,<br />

the band released debut album Sci-Fi Television<br />

on June 1st. (Meghan Rose)<br />

6 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

Records of the Month<br />

Renata Zeiguer<br />

Old Ghost<br />

On first listen, the songs and sounds of<br />

Renata Zeiguer’s debut album Old Ghost<br />

are deceivingly simple. Indie rock influences<br />

clash with her delicate voice in interesting<br />

if not straightforward ways. Yet<br />

there’s an appealing aspect of Old Ghost<br />

that continues to draw the listener in as<br />

Zeiguer paints an image of the world that<br />

is filled with naturally occurring voids<br />

that are at once brutal and beautiful. Her<br />

voice feels equally morose and triumphant<br />

as she explores themes of identity<br />

and loss. Nature also plays a large role in<br />

Zeiguer’s lyrics; cosmic elements of our<br />

world like the moon and the mundane<br />

creatures who inhabit it both haunt and<br />

captivate the singer. <strong>The</strong>se poetic lyrics<br />

burrow themselves in her ethereal voice<br />

and unfold in expansive and cathartic<br />

moments as the production swerves<br />

from angular to harmonious. Old Ghost is<br />

an album that burns softly if heard in the<br />

background but illuminates brightly when<br />

it is lived with. (Tucker Pennington)<br />

Triathalon<br />

Online<br />

In this new age of bedroom pop and DIY<br />

everything, Georgia’s band Triathalon,<br />

who recently resettled in <strong>NYC</strong>, offers a<br />

sound all its own, blending elements as<br />

varied as soul, pop, jazz, and electro. Attempting<br />

to label their music proves challenging—and<br />

that’s part of their plan. <strong>The</strong><br />

band’s third LP, Online, released earlier in<br />

<strong>2018</strong>, refines their sound through a more<br />

mature and focused (home) production.<br />

A newfound passion for soul seems to<br />

have shuffled the band’s sonic cards,<br />

although leaving the dreamy element<br />

untouched. Single “Hard to Move” is<br />

reminiscent of a lo-fi, synthetic version of<br />

Michael Jackson’s “Blame it on the Boogie,”<br />

while “3” is backed with a thumping<br />

bass verse that cleverly transitions to a<br />

jazz-inspired keyboard interlude. But<br />

“Couch” is the real gem here: based on<br />

a plodding funk loop, it chronicles a moment<br />

of bliss, with a lover, on the author’s<br />

favorite couch. (Lily Crandall)<br />

Amen Dunes<br />

Freedom<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are some albums that feel like spiritual<br />

excursions the moment they start,<br />

transfixing us instantly at the right time<br />

and place. Amen Dune’s fifth record,<br />

Freedom, is one such record. <strong>The</strong> introduction<br />

informs us that the time is now,<br />

and it belongs to Damon McMahon and<br />

his finely tuned songwriting. Each track<br />

is impeccably produced, precise and imperious,<br />

as synths and bass lines appear<br />

on the horizon before shimmering out of<br />

view. <strong>The</strong> interplay between each instrument<br />

is like multiple generations of mirages<br />

materializing at once, and McMahon’s<br />

vocals sit in the center commanding attention<br />

with assured confidence in the<br />

stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Freedom<br />

was released wholly realized, yet it’s the<br />

undefinable aspects that assert why it’s<br />

an intoxicating and infinitely rewarding<br />

album. (Tucker Pennington)<br />

8 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

Feature | Record Industry<br />

“Are CDs<br />

becoming the hip,<br />

dead medium on<br />

an upswing?”<br />

“Reviews<br />

and media<br />

coverage<br />

have less<br />

impact<br />

on sales<br />

than they<br />

used to.”<br />

<strong>NYC</strong> Record Industry<br />

Alive and<br />

Streaming<br />

Three Brooklyn Indie Labels Share <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

Thoughts on the State of the Industry<br />

written by paolo de gregorio<br />

10 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

“Is ‘ Pe ak Vinyl’ a myth?”<br />

“physical<br />

media is still<br />

46% of the<br />

market.”<br />

“Cassettes aren’t<br />

"Social<br />

Media and<br />

Playlist<br />

are the<br />

main promotional<br />

force."<br />

dead qui te yet!”<br />

In the early aughts, some kind of “slow earthquake”<br />

triggered the end of the record industry as<br />

we knew it. Originated by the advent of the MP3<br />

format, which allowed listeners to easily download<br />

and stream music, that seism brought about an<br />

era of revenue and job losses that lasted almost 15<br />

years. Starting in 2015, the sector finally began to<br />

show signs of growth again, driven mostly by new<br />

revenue from streaming music services like Spotify<br />

and YouTube, but also by the unexpected resurgence<br />

of vintage formats like vinyl and audio cassettes.<br />

We caught up with three very different trend-setting<br />

Brooklyn-based labels—Fools Gold, Captured Tracks<br />

and Partisan Records—to see how they are navigating<br />

these relatively uncharted waters and to ask them<br />

a few questions our musician readers might find helpful<br />

for managing their careers.<br />

the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong> 11

“...there are more ways for unknown artists<br />

to get discovered, and more opportunities<br />

for fans to get turned on to something new<br />

and exciting than ever before.”<br />

A = Alan from Fool’s Gold<br />

N = Nick from Fool’s Gold<br />

M = Honcho Mike Sniper of Captured Tracks<br />

Z = Zena White, MD at Partisan Records<br />

Is there anything you miss about the way the record industry<br />

worked before the rise of the MP3?<br />

N: It’s easy to get nostalgic for an era when you could “live”<br />

with a record for weeks or months at a time before listening<br />

to something else. But now, it’s not just music consumption<br />

that’s changing: EVERYTHING is accelerated. You have to embrace<br />

it or get left behind. And it’s arguably a net gain—there<br />

are more ways for unknown artists to get discovered, and<br />

more opportunities for fans to get turned on to something new<br />

and exciting than ever before. I’m proud to play a part in that.<br />

M: <strong>The</strong> thing that’s changed the most with the digital age is<br />

press outlets. Instead of tons of options with high readership,<br />

it’s gone the other way, drastically. You used to compete<br />

with other indie rock for space in channels for coverage; now<br />

you’re competing with huge pop stars. It’s all been turned<br />

into this mess of monoculture. Music discovery is in the playlists<br />

and YouTube now, not reviews. Reviews were what entire<br />

P/R campaigns were aimed at.<br />

Z: I joined the recording sector in 2011 when most labels<br />

were struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Lord<br />

knows why! I think I saw that no matter what, the marketing<br />

of campaigns—the album cycle if you like—was still in the<br />

hands of the label and at the center of everything else. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

were a lot of frustrating conversations about windowing on<br />

Spotify… it’s amazing to see the health in the industry now<br />

compared to back then. It’s buoyant and positive. <strong>The</strong>re are<br />

always challenges to navigate, that’s just business.<br />

What are today’s most influential online sites and apps<br />

that can push a record to sell?<br />

N: <strong>The</strong> power is in the listeners’ hands more than anything<br />

else. Everyone talks about data—who do you think is generating<br />

that? You see artists blowing up out of nowhere, not<br />

because a gatekeeper anointed them, but because the fans<br />

did, and the sites and apps are reacting to that. So we just<br />

want to help our artists hit as many ears as possible—a performance<br />

slot at our festival DAY OFF, for instance—and let<br />

the sites see that genuine connection in action.<br />

M: I think the websites’ abilities to drive streams and sales is<br />

dwindling. If you have access to SoundScan reports you can<br />

see that getting that “big” award that used to drive a ton of<br />

sales has not had the effect it used to have on newer artists,<br />

only on already established ones. Playlisting is important.<br />

A: I don’t think reviews play a factor in sales anymore. <strong>The</strong><br />

buzz of an artist can either come through word of mouth<br />

which is essentially social media now and there is definitely<br />

visibility that comes from playlists on the DSPs (Spotify,<br />

Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music). And the playlist game<br />

is frighteningly powerful.<br />

Z: I’d say in this “post-truth” world or whatever, reviews are<br />

less important and peer recommendations are #1. Media<br />

coverage doesn’t lead to fans or to sales, it just creates more<br />

arguments for the various gatekeepers to care.<br />

Since CDs are on the way out and vinyl, although healthy,<br />

is a niche market, where’s the bulk of the earnings for<br />

labels these days?<br />

Z: For us, it’s about 50% physical still, which is pretty much<br />

the global average (IFPI 2017 global recorded music sales<br />

were 54% digital / 46% physical). <strong>The</strong>re are a lot more costs<br />

12 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

“First and foremost, it’s<br />

about the songs. If the<br />

songs aren’t great, there’s<br />

only so far you can go.”<br />

More info<br />

about the labels<br />

involved with physical of course, so there’s always a strong<br />

argument to seek digital growth. But physical is still important<br />

to us and our artists. Also, technology has had a positive<br />

impact on neighboring rights revenues as it’s finally starting to<br />

force improvements in the global structure of PROs. Everyone<br />

knows about neighboring rights now—a very unsexy subject...<br />

M: Streaming is about 70% of our overall business. CDs are<br />

still relatively strong though. <strong>The</strong>y’re still the dominant way to<br />

purchase music in big territories like Japan. <strong>The</strong> “Peak Vinyl”<br />

thing is a myth, too. That’s based on major labels finally putting<br />

their Prince, Neil Young, Beatles etc. records back in print and<br />

SoundScan collecting that info. Before the “Vinyl Boom,” a lot<br />

of records were selling a lot of copies; Billboard just wasn’t<br />

collecting the info on it as most vinyl shops weren’t reporting.<br />

N: Some would say CDs are back, baby! (When you can buy<br />

vinyl at Whole Foods and cassettes at Urban Outfitters, compact<br />

discs are the hip dead media on an upswing.) But the<br />

reality is that labels need to constantly be on the look-out for<br />

revenue streams in all forms.<br />

Is there any other physical merchandise that’s worth the<br />

manufacturing/distribution hassle?<br />

Z: If the demand is there, definitely. In fact, I’m confident that<br />

there’s always going to be a market for high-value physical<br />

product and merchandise for the right artists. Music is an<br />

emotional, intangible product and the very nature of people<br />

means they want to “wear” something they feel connected to.<br />

M: We kill it on cassettes. Not enough to buy a house, but we<br />

do really well with them.<br />

N: Fool’s Gold makes everything from coffee mugs to turntable<br />

needle cases. If it exists and we can make it fun and<br />

special, we’re down.<br />

Started in 2007 by DJs A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs,<br />

Fool’s Gold Records brought the underground<br />

electronic and hip-hop scenes to the forefront of<br />

independent music. Some of their earlier releases,<br />

such as “Day ‘N’ Night” by Kid Cudi and the first<br />

self-titled album by Run the Jewels, helped shape<br />

popular music as well. Since then, Fool’s Gold has<br />

been signing some of the most cutting-edge electronic<br />

artists from around the country.<br />

Captured Tracks was founded in 2008 by Mike<br />

Sniper, who first used it for his own band Blank<br />

Dogs. A decade later, the label has become the<br />

home to some of the most influential artists in their<br />

respective genres and many popular indie bands.<br />

Signing the likes of Mac DeMarco, DIIV, Wild Nothing<br />

and Perfect Pussy, the label has shown it can<br />

be host artists who specialize in several genres<br />

within the indie realm.<br />

Beginning with a focus on tailoring artist specific<br />

needs, Partisan Records has grown many<br />

independent artists from the ground up. Early on<br />

their catalog boasted acts like Deer Tick, who focused<br />

on a blend of alternative rock and Americana,<br />

but as the label grew, many diverse artists<br />

released their debuts with the label. Electro-pop<br />

group Sylvan Esso and acts like IDLES and Cigarettes<br />

After Sex are part of its growing roster.

“We don’t want to sand<br />

down quirks, if anything<br />

we only encourage artists<br />

to get weirder!”<br />

Live shows still generate a lot of revenue. Is your label<br />

involved in that side of things—relative to your artists—<br />

at any level?<br />

N: If you’re talking about “360 deals” we prefer to focus on<br />

our own live label events rather than touching artists’ individual<br />

touring. Which is not to criticize that practice across the<br />

board—any situation where all parties are truly bringing value<br />

to the table is worth a discussion.<br />

M: Shows drive P/R and P/R drives sales, so yes, it’s important.<br />

However, we leave it to the Booking Agent, the Promoter<br />

and the Tour Manager. All of our artists keep all of their live<br />

performance fees. We do help promote the shows and lobby<br />

to get them on bills or with a Booking Agency, but we’re not<br />

show promoters.<br />

Z: We’re very conscious of adding value wherever we take<br />

rights. When we build in live revenues to our deals, it’s in<br />

order to justify a greater advance and only until that is recouped.<br />

An artist can need money for any number of things<br />

and we see it as our responsibility to try and support their<br />

needs but it can be difficult to recoup on record sales alone.<br />

Is there a specific list of qualities you look when you sign<br />

a new artist?<br />

M: First and foremost, it’s about the songs. If the songs aren’t<br />

great, there’s only so far you can go. So my own and<br />

the staff’s taste will have an influence on who we sign. <strong>The</strong>n<br />

it’s the artists’ dynamics in their sound, the way instruments<br />

work together. Is it exciting to listen to? After that, it’s on the<br />

artist to impress on us that they’re willing to work really hard.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se days you need to support an LP with a minimum of<br />

75 shows to generate real traction, but artists also need to<br />

find a way to be great sounding and provocative performers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> last thing is that we want the band to already know their<br />

aesthetic and goals. Someone like Drahla or Naomi Punk had<br />

the visual aspect of their music already figured out and what<br />

they wanted their audience to be. Molly Burch did as well, but<br />

in a completely different way.<br />

Z: Yes, vision. <strong>The</strong>y have to know what they want, what kind<br />

of world they want to build. <strong>The</strong> music alone is rarely enough<br />

to build a career, not for the types of artists that we work well<br />

with. <strong>The</strong>y need to have ideas and the ability to collaborate<br />

and communicate is important. We’re constantly assessing<br />

where our value is and that differs from artist to artist, even<br />

from record to record with the same artist. We need to be<br />

able to communicate well with an artist and their team to be<br />

able to figure out where we’re most useful to them.<br />

A: We love to catch artists at a point where they’ve already<br />

figured out their sound and their identity, but they still show a<br />

ton of promise for growth. It’s fun to sign someone relatively<br />

early in their career like that because we get to present them<br />

to the world.<br />

N: We look for artists who are individuals, period. <strong>The</strong>re are so<br />

many new rappers and young Soundcloud producers, but we<br />

are looking for distinct and unique sound, plus a look and aesthetic<br />

to match. We don’t want to sand down quirks, if anything<br />

we only encourage artists to get weirder! FG is a big umbrella,<br />

and the unifying element is that everyone is an awesome misfit<br />

in their own way. <strong>The</strong>n we can add our special sauce, whether<br />

it’s helping pinpoint the strongest songs to release, or pairing<br />

artists with the right guests or collaborators. We treat ourselves,<br />

the label, as a collaborator helping elevate the material!<br />

Why for a band, these days, is it better to get signed than<br />

to go DIY? What does a label do for the artists it signs?<br />

Z: I joined the label from the services sector myself so I’ve<br />

seen both sides of it. I’d say we have two strengths as a grow-<br />

14 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

“<strong>The</strong> basic point of a record label is simple: use<br />

the master recordings to the advantage of the<br />

artist as much as possible in order for the<br />

artist to be free to write, record and perform.”<br />

ing label: proper artist development and a strong international<br />

network that believes in the quality of our releases and is<br />

ready to prioritize them. You won’t get either if you go DIY.<br />

Both IDLES and Cigarettes After Sex were doing a really good<br />

job of DIY when we signed them: they had taken it as far as<br />

they could on their own. We’ve always been really respectful<br />

of that—we don’t try to change what works for these acts,<br />

we add fuel to it, increase the team and make it even better.<br />

M: Some artists don’t need labels. If they’re not super ambitious<br />

and aren’t going to do a ton of touring and are happy with<br />

doing Bandcamp sales, that’s great and more power to you.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n you have someone like Frank Ocean who’s on the other<br />

end of the radar and also doesn’t need a label as he has a huge<br />

team that does what a label does. <strong>The</strong> basic point of a record<br />

label is simple: use the master recordings to the advantage of<br />

the artist as much as they can in order for the artist to be free<br />

to write, record and perform. You need experience to do that.<br />

N: Everyone’s situation is different. You can’t say “better”<br />

or “worse” in blanket terms, artists need to make the best<br />

decisions for themselves at whatever stage of their career<br />

they are in. Do you want to handle everything yourself, or do<br />

you want to spend time making music? Some people can<br />

do both. Most successful acts are successful at delegation.<br />

A: We’re big believers in quality control and in the extra layer of<br />

perspective you get when you (the artist) pass the music along<br />

to your label team and they are able to bring it from like 80% to<br />

100%. It really helps to get another set of ears to pick through<br />

the songs, help bring in a few features, sometimes help work<br />

out who should mix it to get it sounding just right, and work out<br />

art and marketing strategies to package it for the world to discover.<br />

<strong>The</strong> label is also able to fund this process when needed.<br />

In the future do you see your label focusing on having<br />

artists that represent a variety of genres or specializing<br />

in niche genres? How has this approach differed since<br />

you first started?<br />

A: Fool’s Gold has never been genre-specific. Nick and I are<br />

DJs, we’re both known for a certain eclecticism that is rooted<br />

in hip-hop but reaches a lot of other spaces, and that has always<br />

driven the vision of the label. Kids are more open-minded<br />

than ever. Rap fans listen to Mac DeMarco. We look at it<br />

from a lifestyle point of view much more than a genre.<br />

M: At Captured Tracks we’ve always strived to have a sonically<br />

diverse roster within the broad section of “indie rock.”<br />

When people think of “<strong>The</strong> Captured Tracks Sound” perhaps<br />

they think of Wild Nothing, DIIV, Beach Fossils and Craft<br />

Spells. That’s okay—because I love that type of music—but<br />

I have to remind them that we also have had Perfect Pussy,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Soft Moon, Naomi Punk and <strong>The</strong> Holograms on the label.<br />

I liked what Chris Lombardi from Matador once told me about<br />

the subject. He said, “People always thought of Matador as<br />

Pavement, Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo… but at the same<br />

time we had Unsane and Pizzicato Five on the roster.”<br />

Z: Partisan Records is growing its roster to be increasingly<br />

varied and we find ourselves looking to fill gaps in some<br />

ways. We’re careful not to chase what genres are selling the<br />

most at any given time and stick to the principles of signing<br />

musicians who are making genuine, honest art.<br />

N: With every year we learn from our past releases, tightening<br />

up the business and getting more selective—there’s so much<br />

good music, but not everything makes sense to put your<br />

time, effort and money behind. It’s all relative but the mission<br />

is the same: you have to be DOPE, regardless of genre. d<br />

16 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>


Feature | Cover Artist<br />

Avant-Pop Synthpop<br />

Facing the Night<br />

– an Interview with <strong>Half</strong> <strong>Waif</strong>–<br />

Written by Paolo De Gregorio<br />

and Tucker Pennington<br />

Photography by Ally Schmaling<br />

for many people, is<br />

a constantly shifting notion.<br />

For others, it’s a place that’s<br />

“Home,”<br />

lost, temporarily or maybe<br />

permanently. <strong>The</strong> concept is geographical<br />

at heart, but it’s built through the elapsing<br />

of time and the crystallizing of feelings over<br />

time. It involves reoccurring perceptions,<br />

acquired habits, people and our feelings<br />

for them, a sense of safety and shelter.<br />

18 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

With its frantic pace, New York City challenges this notion.<br />

Neighborhoods change rapidly, old buildings vanish and beloved<br />

shops are replaced by new ones we don’t care about.<br />

Most friends and neighbors don’t settle here for good—they<br />

prematurely move back to their old homes as soon as the<br />

city’s dynamism starts to prove exhausting. Because of all this,<br />

New York is a very flawed “hometown.”<br />

Maybe that’s the reason why <strong>Half</strong> <strong>Waif</strong>’s Nandi Rose Plunkett,<br />

a New Yorker from 2012 until 2017 (via Massachusetts), felt<br />

the need to define what home is through her music. On her<br />

latest LP Lavender, she explores the gestalt of home through<br />

painfully beautiful songs.<br />

While the Big Apple lacked the elements to become a feasible<br />

home for Plunkett, it still provided a basis for this creative era in<br />

her life: “<strong>The</strong> five years I spent in New York gave me so much.<br />

I was galvanized by the people around me making exciting art,<br />

and I learned what it felt like to want to quit but then to keep<br />

going. With all its challenges, living in the city made me realize<br />

just how much I love making music—there were so many<br />

opportunities or reasons to stop, but I could never give it up.”<br />

In 2017 Nandi Rose moved upstate, in a house surrounded<br />

by nature that resembles her childhood home. This sort of<br />

reclamation of both positive and negative memories covers a<br />

central part in the artist’s inspiration: “<strong>The</strong> withering described<br />

in “Keep It Out” is the nightmare fear of boredom, dissolution,<br />

estrangement from the self, neglect, indifference: what happens<br />

to bad marriages, which I witnessed as a kid. In singing<br />

about it, I hope to keep those wolves at bay and create a different<br />

kind of life for myself. If we name it, we can know it, stare it<br />

in the eye, and shout it out of the realm of possibility.”<br />

Written during a period of discord when Nandi Rose was far<br />

from <strong>NYC</strong>, touring, and her grandmother’s health was failing,<br />

Lavender eschews traditional expectations of what a pop record<br />

can tackle. Churning synth swell and gestate as Plunkett’s<br />

poetic lullabies unravel in moments that are split between grief<br />

and hope. Ballads about confronting the unknown and creating<br />

an identity from those experiences are key themes delved<br />

into on songs like “Torches” and “In the Evening”. Constantly<br />

pushing the boundaries with their textures and the interplay<br />

between the instrumentation and her voice, each song refuses<br />

to settle into a singular mode of thought.<br />

like with “Silt,” I started with that patch on my Korg Minilogue,<br />

and the sound told me where the chords would go, and the<br />

chords told me what the words would be, and the words told me<br />

how the melody would sound, and the melody told me where<br />

the drums would come in and out. It’s a dialogue between parts,<br />

and I just rush around trying to listen and translate as best I can.”<br />

With their sharp electronic production that elevates Plunkett’s<br />

heart-wrenching lyrics, the 12 tracks on the record represent<br />

one of the most consistent strings of quality songwriting and<br />

production we’ve heard in a while. <strong>The</strong>y were forged with the<br />

help of collaborators Adan Carlo and Zach Levine and under<br />

the supervision of producer/mixer David Tolomei.<br />

“This was the first time I worked on an album with a band in<br />

this way”—Nandy Rose admits. “<strong>The</strong>y were indispensable to<br />

the project. Adan recorded all of the bass and guitar, often using<br />

his array of pedals to create texture. Zack recorded the live<br />

drums at Dreamland Studio, and also performed some of the<br />

electronic drum programming. All in all, though, it’s hard for me<br />

to draw dividing lines saying “I did this, they did this” because<br />

the work was done so fluidly—a true testament to our friendship,<br />

which created a fun and easy collaboration, and the way<br />

David polished, shined, elevated, and illuminated the sounds<br />

in the mix seemed to me to be a kind of magic.”<br />

As she prepares for a run of shows in the States and Europe,<br />

the themes of the record continue to occupy her thoughts.<br />

“It’ll be weird to be there without my bandmates, but I’m also<br />

excited to challenge myself and see how I grow through this<br />

process. My grandmother lived in England for half her life, so I<br />

do find myself drawn to towns like hers across the pond. But I<br />

think I’d find it hard to leave the Northeastern US. For all of the<br />

homes I’ve made for myself through music and travel, this part<br />

of the world is the deepest home I know.” d<br />

<strong>Half</strong> <strong>Waif</strong>’s Synths<br />

“Sometimes it’s just one sound that dictates the whole thing—<br />

Korg Minilogue<br />

Nord Electro 5D<br />

the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong> 19

Soundtoys Little Plate<br />

Recording<br />

<strong>Half</strong> <strong>Waif</strong>’s<br />

Lavender<br />

A Q&A with<br />

David Tolomei<br />

David Tolomei will host an <strong>NYC</strong> <strong>MixCon</strong> mix-walkthrough<br />

of a song from Lavender on July 22 at 3pm. Here’s a Q&A<br />

about his contribution to that record to get you warmed up!<br />

What earned you the co-producer credit, on Lavander?<br />

I think the broadest way I could describe what I brought to the<br />

table in terms of production would be my studio experience and<br />

my overall creative aesthetic.<br />

<strong>The</strong> band knew they wanted to integrate live instrumentation<br />

into the project. In our first meeting they laid out which songs<br />

they heard live drums on, mentioned one song would be centered<br />

around piano, and that live bass and some miscellaneous<br />

overdubs would ideally be options we’d explore. From this discussion,<br />

I selected a studio based on the sounds we wanted to<br />

achieve. Some important features were the massive live room<br />

with a vintage Steinway B, API board, old Neve pres and Pultecs,<br />

great comps for smashing like CBS and Dbx, as well as an incredible<br />

mic locker.<br />

I knew a studio of this quality would mean racing the clock, so I flew<br />

in a day early and we did a half day of pre-pro, going over all the<br />

songs and ironing out potential time sucks. It felt very collaborative;<br />

everyone in the band is very intelligent and the direction was clear.<br />

Tracking is where I think the producer’s hat was most apparent<br />

because big studios are where I’m most at home. During the session,<br />

I managed the schedule, got all the sounds, and coached<br />

performances. Everyone in the band is a very talented multi-instrumentalist,<br />

but how those performances translate in a studio environment<br />

with 40 mics up, and how that will come together in the<br />

mix stage and become a cohesive master... that requires coaching.<br />

<strong>The</strong> record sounds incredibly homogeneous, a rare feat for<br />

hybrid albums that feature all sort of sounds. How did you<br />

achieve this?<br />

Marrying programming with studio sounds is always a challenge.<br />

<strong>The</strong> goal is to get those unique textures to stand out, but in a<br />

way that’s seamless. Unfortunately, that’s a battle fought independently<br />

on each song with its own unique instrumentation. It’s<br />

not like you crack the code and then the problem’s solved.<br />

It’s really important for me to regularly pan out and look at the<br />

album as a whole. I think continuity comes from a series of tiny<br />

judgment calls you make, that they’re experienced by the listener<br />

all at once. A lot of it is just instincts that come naturally over<br />

the years. You tweak it till it feels ‘right’ to you. But what’s ‘right’<br />

to you at that moment is a commentary on who you are in the<br />

present as result of your experiences.<br />

What was the most challenging part while mixing it?<br />

Right from the start, I found this to be a really emotional album.<br />

Trying to heavily process everything to get modern sounds while<br />

retaining all that emotion so the band’s incredible writing could<br />

shine through; that was really challenging from the start. I wanted<br />

to keep it raw enough that you could connect with Nandi, but not<br />

so raw that it sounded dated or like a live album.<br />

What single plugins did you use a lot while mixing and why?<br />

In the case of this album, Soundtoys Little Plate had just come<br />

out of beta, so when I was stuck on the second song, I pulled it<br />

in and started playing around. One thing I noticed immediately<br />

is that it’s a very sculpt-able reverb, in that it takes additional<br />

processing extremely well. For this reason, it became clear that<br />

it would become a theme on the album. I did my best to keep<br />

this heavy use subtle, but if you were to disable any single plugin<br />

from the whole album, losing Little Plate would definitely have<br />

the greatest impact on the final aesthetic.<br />

20 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

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ands + Gear<br />

Read the full features on<br />

<strong>Deli</strong>cious-Audio.com<br />

Elbows<br />

Trip-Funk Avant-Lounge<br />

Under the Elbows moniker, Brooklyn-based producer<br />

and songwriter Max Scheible crafts music that travels<br />

through genres, bending tastes and traditions and creating<br />

something that sounds totally fresh. Scheible, also<br />

a multimedia artist, chronicles in his tracks his Bay Area<br />

roots, shifting genres with the moods of the songs, going<br />

from old-school hip-hop to smooth synth-heavy jazz to<br />

lounge music. (Will Sisskind)<br />

[Top] Roland GAIA SH-01 [Bottom] Moog Sub 37<br />

We hear all sorts of influences in your records, what’s your<br />

musical background?<br />

Growing up, my folks played a lot of ’60s/’70s psychedelia and<br />

soul, and my mom definitely kept Sade and Badu in the car.<br />

When I was around ten someone gave me a copy of 93 ‘til Infinity<br />

from Souls of Mischief, which got me into hip hop, and by<br />

extension, jazz. In middle school I started renting out CDs from<br />

the library by the tens and just started listening to a ton of jazz<br />

and whatever hip hop they had. I started playing guitar, writing<br />

songs, and recording on a four-track tape recorder when I was<br />

thirteen, and have been writing and recording ever since.<br />

From the art on your records, it’s clear that there are some<br />

non-musical influences that are worked into your songs and<br />

persona.<br />

My earliest memories are of drawing and most of my family<br />

thinks of me as a visual artist. My Aunt Julie once asked me, if<br />

you had to pick one—visual art or music—which would it be?<br />

And to her I said: Aunt Julie, to me there’s no difference. When I<br />

write a song I have an idea for a visual to go with it, and if I make<br />

a drawing I can hear a soundtrack to that drawing. Ultimately I<br />

want to tell stories that stretch completely from music, to visual,<br />

to film, to physical things.<br />

Do you have some pieces of gear that you find yourself turning<br />

to the most while you compose?<br />

For me the initial composition always starts with a story that needs<br />

to be told, which then dictates the colors and feel. I usually start<br />

with guitar or rhodes to get the chords down, and from there move<br />

to synths to find the particular sounds of the record. I have an<br />

amazing crew of friends that play live with me, like a band, and<br />

help expand the records. <strong>The</strong> four main synths we used on this EP<br />

are the Roland Juno-106, the Moog Sub 37, the Moog Sub Phatty,<br />

and the Roland GAIA. <strong>The</strong> most influential piece of gear, however,<br />

ended up being this old toy organ, made by I want to say Farfisa<br />

I found in a shared studio space in Williamsburg. <strong>The</strong> entirety of<br />

“Oatmeal” (outside of the 808s, percussion, and samples) came<br />

from that organ, and it pops up again on “Corduroy” and “Blimp.”<br />

22 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

Casio DG-20<br />


In the late ’80s, when bands like the Happy Mondays and<br />

the Stone Roses were all the rage, Manchester, UK was<br />

the kingdom of alternative pop. <strong>The</strong> wild parties propelled<br />

by that scene triggered the nickname “Madchester,” which<br />

was soon adopted to describe that era’s music, which<br />

blended funk drumming and psych arrangement with an<br />

overall pop sensibility. In new album Water Signs, <strong>NYC</strong><br />

via Australia electronic one-man-act Fascinator finds inspiration<br />

in that sound and other music made for partying<br />

he learned to love while DJing in <strong>NYC</strong>. (Paolo De Gregorio)<br />

Your new record seems to have a bit more of a pop sound<br />

compared to previous material, was that a choice or a natural<br />

development?<br />

<strong>The</strong> best kind of pop is accidental. <strong>The</strong>re may be a little of that<br />

on here. <strong>The</strong> record was largely informed by countless hours<br />

DJing at Baby’s All Right, Elvis Guesthouse (RIP) etc. so I’m<br />

sure some sort of subconscious desire for people to enjoy<br />

themselves has seeped in. <strong>The</strong> record began in the darkest<br />

hour of my life. Fresh out of a horrific breakup, completely<br />

broke and 6 months of couch surfing on the generosity of fellow<br />

New Yorkers. <strong>The</strong> only source of income I had at the beginning<br />

of that was a happy hour DJ shift every Friday at Baby’s<br />

All Right ($50 + food and drinks). Sometimes the next person<br />

wouldn’t show up and I’d play for 11 hours and tell everyone<br />

Indie Pop Madchester Revival<br />

to call me “Baby’s All Night”. Through sheer desperation I grew<br />

that to playing all over town which, combined with my dispirited<br />

mind-set, led to a state of constant bender. So while I wasn’t<br />

in the best place, this album is, at its heart, a party record. Inspired<br />

by things I’d play at the time like Fela Kuti, Neu!, Happy<br />

Mondays, Dusty Fingers compilations, early Beck, Francoise<br />

Hardy, Chemical Brothers, Ananda Shankar and loads more.<br />

Was there a piece of gear that was particularly inspiring?<br />

<strong>The</strong> Casio DG-20 is probably the most interesting thing I used.<br />

You may have seen it on Flight of the Conchords. It’s just fun.<br />

Not particularly rare or expensive or even that nice sounding,<br />

but I like that era of Casio organ boards and that’s all it is really.<br />

Except plastic strings instead of keys. I also played a really nice<br />

Rhodes in a barn on Nantucket on the song Midnight Rainbow.<br />

Other than that nothing particularly interesting springs to mind.<br />

Is there a person outside the band that’s been important in<br />

perfecting your recorded and/or live sound?<br />

Over time there have been a few. Darren Seltmann, one of the<br />

founding members of <strong>The</strong> Avalanches, helped me initially find<br />

my sound. Fascinator has had around 100 members over the<br />

years, mostly one-offs but Jesse Kotansky aka Lord Decorator<br />

who currently plays with me has been a mainstay. He brilliantly<br />

noodles over my tracks on oud, violin and percussion and<br />

makes it something special.<br />

the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong> 23

ands + Gear<br />

Read the full features on<br />

<strong>Deli</strong>cious-Audio.com<br />

MONS VI<br />

Bedroom Pop Dream Pop<br />

Based in Brooklyn by way of Miami, Mons Vi combines<br />

an electronic-influenced, lo-fi aesthetic with<br />

emotionally-charged lyrics. <strong>The</strong> Columbia grad got<br />

us hooked in 2017 with tasteful tracks that blended<br />

the songwriter’s melancholic and atmospheric pop<br />

with occasional edgier tunes reminiscent of the early<br />

Strokes. Latest single “Divina,” on the other hand,<br />

seems to represent a successful transition towards<br />

crisper and livelier electro-pop instrumentation, with<br />

an added multicultural flavor represented by Adrianne<br />

Gonzalez’s voice, sharing lead vocals duties—in<br />

Spanish. (Pearse Devlin)<br />

Your 2016 EP is entitled Indie Rock Bullshit, and it sound<br />

a lot more “indie rock” than your following material. What<br />

inspired that title and the transition to the more electronic<br />

and chilled sound of the latest singles?<br />

I got bored of indie rock. It’s all I hear in Brooklyn and the<br />

rest of the world isn’t listening. That’s because there’s very<br />

little innovation happening in indie rock. <strong>The</strong>re’s also little<br />

space for anyone who isn’t a white guy. So, I’m seeking<br />

creativity in other places, using elements of indie rock<br />

where they make sense to make something new.<br />

This evolution must have implied a change of instrumentation,<br />

what were the tools that inspired this new course?<br />

When people say they play instruments nowadays, they<br />

tend to leave out the DAW. That’s the instrument everyone’s<br />

using, and it’s what’s bringing you your favorite music.<br />

I play Logic. It’s what I play more than anything else.<br />

Photo: Derek Jay<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s still a lot of guitar in the new material, are you a<br />

fan of stompboxes?<br />

Straight ahead guitar has been explored up, down, left, and<br />

right. So, anything that can change the sound is welcome. I<br />

use the ZVEX Lo-Fi Junky a lot.<br />

On your single, “Divina,” the lyrics are both in English and<br />

Spanish. How did this idea come to be?<br />

Everyone who works on Mons Vi right now is from Miami,<br />

so when I asked Adrianne to sing on “Divina,” it felt natural<br />

that her lyrics came out in Spanish. She’s also half Venezuelan<br />

and half Cuban, so doubly natural.<br />

ZVEX Instant Lo-Fi Junky<br />

Apple Logic<br />

24 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

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ands + Gear<br />

Read the full features on<br />

<strong>Deli</strong>cious-Audio.com<br />

Von Sell<br />

Like the mesmerizing blur of the world passing by as seen<br />

through a car window, Von Sell’s newest single “Digital<br />

Sleep” swirls with detail faster than we can understand. In<br />

a flurry of voices, delayed and warped into the dominant<br />

texture of the track, “Digital Sleep” urges us towards attention<br />

while never offering a chance to focus. <strong>The</strong> track<br />

plays true to the idea of short-sightedness but also acknowledges<br />

its own investment in the beauty of so much<br />

sensory content, constantly veering in new directions,<br />

collaging together seemingly unlinked sections. <strong>The</strong> effect,<br />

particularly Von Sell’s production of his vocals into an<br />

ethereal backing, is dazzling. (Cameron Carr)<br />

Your newest single, “Digital Sleep” sounds more “avant”<br />

than your 2016 debut EP.<br />

I think there’s always been two sides to me and my music. I have<br />

the urge to make music that’s accessible, but and the same time<br />

I always want to challenge the listener to some degree... bridging<br />

that gap (if there is one), or finding the sweet spot, is just<br />

always a little like shooting at a very small target from very far<br />

away: almost impossible to hit perfectly. As a result I just happen<br />

to sometimes end up slightly more on the experimental side<br />

<strong>The</strong>rmionic Culture Rooster<br />

and other times on the more “conventional” side.<br />

Synthpop Avant-Pop<br />

Was there a piece of gear that inspired the abstract sounds<br />

in the track?<br />

Not really. I recorded these piano chords originally and it just<br />

sounded a little boring to me. So I ran it through God knows<br />

how many plug-ins until it didn’t sound like a piano anymore.<br />

That kind of laid the foundation, and I ended up approaching<br />

a lot of the sounds in this song that way—but in the creative<br />

process I didn’t even have any gear other than my laptop, a<br />

mic, a midi keyboard and a preamp… In the mixing stage, I<br />

remember running a lot of sounds through the <strong>The</strong>rmionic Culture<br />

the Rooster.<br />

What do you like the most about the recording process?<br />

What do you like the least?<br />

What bugs me more than anything is when I record a sketch<br />

of a certain element, that lacks the precision or quality of a legitimate<br />

recording but is still somehow magical... and then you<br />

record it for real but it loses its magic and you know you’ll never<br />

get it back. What I love the most are happy accidents; you put<br />

something on the wrong track or the wrong place or turn it up or<br />

down by mistake, but it ends up sounding amazing!<br />

26 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

[Top] Danny’s pedalboard: TC Electronic Polytune / Malekko<br />

Omicron Spring Reverb / MXR Carbon Copy / Death By<br />

Audio Super Fuzz War / Jext Telez White Pedal / Ibanez<br />

Tube Screamer Mini<br />

[Bottom] Jake’s pedalboard: BOSS TU-2 / BOSS DD-3 /<br />

Death By Audio Fuzz War / Fulltone OCD<br />

Native Sun<br />

Songs Born From Love and Hate, the debut EP by New<br />

York’s Native Sun, is an eminently fun and danceable record<br />

recommended for fans of ’70s punk and the moody,<br />

’90s alt-rock of <strong>The</strong> Pixies. With their unrelentingly heavy<br />

drums, growling power chord-laden guitars, and in your<br />

face vocals, the band wears their punk influences on their<br />

sleeve, but enjoys occasional drifts into unsettling, psychedelic<br />

territory. For Native Sun, however, brevity is an<br />

asset, and they don’t wade too long in the muddy waters<br />

of psychedelia before bringing it back to the meat of the<br />

song. It’s compelling and energetic music which makes<br />

for a rollicking live show. (etahn Ames)<br />

Your sound is very guitar driven, do you get your signature<br />

distortion from the amp or pedals?<br />

Danny: <strong>The</strong> amp. <strong>The</strong>re’s nothing better than the sandpaper grit<br />

yet smoothness of a tube amp turned up fucking loud and breaking<br />

up. Sound is all just manipulation of the pleasant and not so<br />

pleasant. I try to really push the amp, it’s the only way you’re going<br />

to get actual character out of your tone—listen to Tom Verlaine...<br />

Jake: Sometimes the sound engineers at venues get combative<br />

about our amps’ volume we like to play at, so I use a Fulltone<br />

OCD up front just to get my Twin sounding angry without spending<br />

our entire soundcheck arguing with someone I just met.<br />

Mo: Both. <strong>The</strong> pedal makes the distortion, but the clean tone you<br />

get from the amp is also really important to make it sound that way.<br />

Was there a specific pedal that kind of changed your life?<br />

Psych Rock<br />

Jake: Death By Audio’s Fuzz War, unquestionably. I’ve never<br />

played a pedal with so much character before, and its big<br />

knobs make it easy to adjust with my foot during a show. That<br />

pedal is my baby.<br />

Danny: Jake lets me use this pedal by Jext Telez called “<strong>The</strong><br />

White Pedal.” It replicates all the overdrive and fuzz sounds<br />

found on “<strong>The</strong> White Album;” it’s supposed to mimic different<br />

tones on those old Vox Conquerer amps. Think the smooth fuzz<br />

of “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” to the rawness of “Helter Skelter”<br />

in a pedal. It’s extremely versatile.<br />

Mo: Dunlop’s Fuzz Face Hendrix marked me completely, but then<br />

the EHX’s Russian Big Muff (Black one) changed me in every way.<br />

What else do you have on your pedalboard right now?<br />

Danny: A small pink reverb pedal, old Bassman heads don’t<br />

have a reverb knob; MXR Carbon Copy; DBA Super Fuzz War;<br />

Ibanez Tube Screamer.<br />

Jake: Other than the OCD and the Fuzz War, I also run a BOSS<br />

DD-3 delay into a BOSS Chromatic Tuner and that’s it. More<br />

than three effects and a tuner is too much for me, personally.<br />

Sometimes I’ll use a Death By Audio Fuzz Warr Overload instead<br />

of the standard Fuzz War, and sometimes the Reverberation<br />

Machine instead of the DD-3.<br />

Mo: I use a TC Polytune 3 as tuner and first in line so I can cut<br />

the signal. <strong>The</strong>n the EHX’s Russian Big Muff as my main Fuzz<br />

(ALWAYS GO WITH THE RUSSIAN). I also use a Seymour Duncan<br />

Pickup Booster on ALL THE TIME. It gets me a cool drivey<br />

clean tone, and with the fuzz on is just madness.<br />

the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong> 27

<strong>NYC</strong> <strong>MixCon</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Free Mixing Advice, In Context.<br />

July 21-22, 11am– 9pm: Manhattan Center, 311 W 34th St., <strong>NYC</strong><br />

Sign Up at Mix-Con.com<br />

M<br />

ixCon, the world’s biggest convention that’s entirely<br />

focused on mixing audio, is a unique (and free!) opportunity<br />

for all engineers and recording musicians<br />

to learn the secrets of the pros. <strong>The</strong> only event of its kind,<br />

<strong>MixCon</strong> brings together world class mixers and producers—<br />

often GRAMMY-winners and platinum sellers—and asks<br />

them to take us under the hood of some real commercial releases,<br />

showing us how they worked on them and how they<br />

get their sounds.<br />

Join us on July 21st and 22nd for an unforgettable weekend full<br />

of precious advice, panel discussions with industry luminaries, and<br />

hands-on demos and listening sessions featuring select new gear.<br />

In the following pages you’ll find the event’s schedule, a preview<br />

of some of the advice you’ll be getting, as well as profiles<br />

about the producers.<br />

Seats are strictly limited, so be sure to RSVP for your free seat<br />

today at mix-con.com.<br />

About Manhattan Center<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Deli</strong> and SonicScoop are very excited to announce<br />

that the <strong>2018</strong> edition of the <strong>NYC</strong> <strong>MixCon</strong> will be back<br />

at the Manhattan Center. Once again, the event will be<br />

hosted in the facility’s Grand Ballroom (on the 7th floor<br />

above the Hammerstein Ballroom!) and in the two incredible,<br />

state of the art studios, which will host more<br />

intimate classes and seminars: the legendary Log Cabin,<br />

and the newly-updated, pristine surround-sound listening<br />

environment that is Studio 7.<br />

<strong>The</strong> stunning, semi-secret “Log Cabin,” entirely made of<br />

stone and wood, has quietly built up a devoted clientele<br />

over the last 20 years, with a client list that has grown<br />

to include the likes of Chick Corea, Norman Connors,<br />

Jimmy Douglass, Eliot Goldenthal, Ja Rule, plus film/<br />

TV/brand clients including True Grit, Extremely Loud<br />

and Incredibly Close, Lucky Charms, American Airlines,<br />

Mercedes Benz, and more.<br />

Studio 7, tucked right next to the Grand Ballroom, is<br />

5.1 Surround capable and it’s connected directly to the<br />

both ballrooms in the building: the elegant and acoustically<br />

superb 10,000 foot space <strong>The</strong> Grand, and the historic<br />

2800 capacity ex-opera house <strong>The</strong> Hammerstein.<br />

Studio 7’s 5.1 Control Room<br />

<strong>The</strong> Log Cabin’s Live Room<br />

28 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

nyc mixcon <strong>2018</strong> - Speakers’ Schedule<br />

<strong>The</strong>se world class producers and engineers will walk the crowd through a mix they worked on recently,<br />

sharing secrets and preferred techniques. <strong>The</strong>y will take questions at the end of the presentation.<br />

FREE at the<br />

Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom (Doors: 11am)<br />

SATURDAY 7/21 SUNDAY 7/22<br />

RSVP at<br />

Mix-Con.com<br />

6pm<br />

A Pop/RnB Mix<br />

Walk-Through<br />

Ariel Borujow<br />

(Keys N Krates,<br />

Puff Daddy, Galantis,<br />

CID, Cee Lo)<br />

6pm<br />

Latin Platinum<br />

JC Losada<br />

(Shakira, Santana,<br />

Ricky Martin, Jon Secada,<br />

Luis Enrique)<br />

3pm<br />

EDM and Electro:<br />

Production and<br />

Mixing<br />

Matt Lange<br />

(Deadmau5,<br />

Mau5trap Records)<br />

3pm<br />

<strong>The</strong> Creative<br />

Electronic Mix<br />

David Tolomei<br />

(Dirty Projectors,<br />

Beach House, !!!,<br />

Future Islands, <strong>Half</strong> <strong>Waif</strong>)<br />

12pm<br />

Creating an<br />

Orchestral<br />

Soundtrack with<br />

Instrument Plug-Ins<br />

Jake Jackson<br />

(Doctor Who, Star Wars,<br />

Assassin’s Creed, Black<br />

Mirror, Nick Cave)<br />

12pm<br />

How to Give<br />

Yourself a Raise<br />

by Mixing Faster<br />

Joel Wanasek<br />

(MIYAVI, Machine Head,<br />

Vinyl <strong>The</strong>atre, Dope,<br />

blessthefall)<br />

Q&As, Gear Expo & In-<strong>The</strong>-Studio Workshop in between presentations!<br />

the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong> 29

nyc mixcon <strong>2018</strong> - MIXING Tips<br />

from<br />

sonicscoop.com<br />

Tip #1 10 Ways to Improve<br />

Your Mixing Efficiency<br />

by Jules De Gasperis<br />

Streamlining and improving your workflow during mixing is a key<br />

component of the job. <strong>The</strong> more you can free yourself from doing all<br />

the little pesky tasks, the more you can focus on your actual craft.<br />

Here are ten tricks to help optimize efficiency while mixing:<br />

1. Organize Your Plug-Ins by Category<br />

Rather Than by Manufacturer.<br />

Most DAWs will let you do that.<br />

2. Create Your Own Mixing Template.<br />

We all develop habits when mixing and have our own favorite<br />

plugins for the various instruments. A mixing template with<br />

your favorite plugins already loaded in the correct tracks will<br />

save you a lot of time.<br />

3. Split Your Tracks into Sub-Tracks to<br />

Deal with Tonal Changes.<br />

If a guitar part plays subtly in the verse and suddenly opens up<br />

during the chorus, separate the region in two or more tracks<br />

and treat them differently.<br />

4. Reach for Plug-Ins That Are Faster<br />

to Use.<br />

Sound quality should always prevail when it comes to mixing.<br />

But there is a big argument to be made for ease-of-use when<br />

it comes to plugin selection. Some plugins get the job done<br />

faster than other, with a similar (if not better) sound quality.<br />

5. Save Your Own Presets.<br />

Sometimes, a sluggish or convoluted plugin can be worth it,<br />

especially when it really does offer better sound quality, or<br />

will do something that no other plugin in your arsenal can. To<br />

offset the time it takes to set it up, save your own presets with<br />

basic settings that are already dialed-in much of the way, so<br />

you only need to fine-tune them later.<br />

6. Find Your Automation Parameters<br />

More Quickly.<br />

If you have trouble finding the name of the parameter you<br />

want to automate in a plugin or virtual instrument, put your<br />

track in touch or latch mode, start playback, and simply click<br />

<strong>The</strong> brainworx bx_dynEQ v2 is an active EQ that I find to be absolutely<br />

great, but complicated to set up! Because of this, I created<br />

3 presets that I usually start from: “Tame harshness 3kHz”, “Tame<br />

honkiness 300Hz”, & “Soften treble 6kHz”.<br />

on the knob you’d like to automate. You will then see its curve<br />

(and name) appear in your automation window!<br />

7. Know Your Shortcuts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> awesome power of shortcuts will always be underrated.<br />

8. Mentally Map Specific Plug-Ins for<br />

Specific Uses.<br />

When mixing, keeping a mental map of what to use and when<br />

to use it is very healthy for helping to establish an efficient, forward-moving<br />

process. Knowing what plugins work well on specific<br />

instruments or solve specific issues is a huge time-saver.<br />

9. Create A Vocal Sidechain Track<br />

Right Away.<br />

To help vocals cut through, set up a sidechain compressor on<br />

instrument subgroups like keyboards, or guitars, and use the<br />

lead vocal as the sidechain input. This allows you to slightly<br />

and transparently duck these supporting instruments whenever<br />

there’s singing.<br />

10. Use A Good Mouse.<br />

Don’t be afraid to invest some extra bucks on that type of tool.<br />

Gaming mouses are comfortable and allow you to assign their<br />

extra buttons to DAW functions you use all the time, which<br />

saves you time and repetitive movements.<br />

30 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong><br />

Read the full article on Sonicscoop here: bit.ly/TipsForMix


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Clearing samples for use in music has become not<br />

only a complicated legal process, but an expensive<br />

one. So what happens when your production depends<br />

on the implantation of “old” sounds?<br />

Taking a chance on not clearing a sample is not always<br />

an option if you want to be sure to you can get your<br />

track out there (or actually make any money on it.) So<br />

why not just take the time to create your own retro samples?<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’ll be yours to own. No legal issues. No funyc<br />

mixcon <strong>2018</strong> - MIXING Tips<br />

from<br />

sonicscoop.com<br />

Tip #2 How to“Vintagify” Your Own Drum Tracks and Loops<br />

by Mark Marshall<br />

ture conflict. And they’ll be 100% unique to your track.<br />

To help you create even more convincing retro drums,<br />

this article goes through some failsafe steps the author<br />

uses to create convincingly old-sounding samples<br />

for his own productions. You’ll even get to hear<br />

some before-and-afters at the link below.<br />

Here are some quick tips, for the in-depth article go to<br />

http://bit.ly/VintagifyDrums<br />

1. <strong>The</strong> most important part of emulating vintage sounds is getting<br />

the instrument and the performance right.<br />

2. Whether you’re recording live instruments, or starting with<br />

sampled ones, keep in mind the sort of drum mic’ing that was<br />

common in that time period - for instance, in the 1950s and early<br />

1960s they didn’t use more than 2-3 mics on the drums (mono<br />

overheads, kick and snare).<br />

3. Tuning also plays a huge role in achieving vintage tones. For<br />

example, the toms were often higher pitched and more open<br />

than what a lot of modern drummers expect.<br />

4. After you have a good drum balance happening, put a classic<br />

compressor on the drum bus, like the UAD Fairchild 670 or<br />

660. A little compression will do. We’re not just looking for dynamic<br />

range control here, rather, the vintage flavor that specific<br />

compressor adds.<br />

5. Using plugins like UAD Studer A800, try to recreate the hiss<br />

produced by the bouncing of tracks engineers were forced to<br />

adopt in the years preceding multi-track tape machines - it’s<br />

part of the vintage character.<br />

6. Once you have the main sound down, try swapping samples<br />

for kick and snare to see if they produce results that work better<br />

in your song, but remember: the overhead is the star here.<br />

Compressor plug-ins like the UAD Fairchild 670<br />

or 660 [top] add vintage flavor to drums, while<br />

tape emulators like the Studer A800 [bottom] add<br />

tape hiss similar to the one heard in recordings<br />

from the ’50s and ’60s.<br />

32 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>

nyc mixcon <strong>2018</strong> - MIXING Tips<br />

from<br />

sonicscoop.com<br />

Tip #3 3 Studio Techniques to Get<br />

Better Vocal Performances from Any Singer<br />

by Sally Morgan<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are many small ways a producer or engineer<br />

can inadvertently yet deeply undermine a singer’s<br />

ability to perform in the studio. Let’s take a look at<br />

some specific practical techniques a producer can<br />

use to help a singer through a recording session.<br />

1. Mindful Breathing.<br />

Breathing can keep singers in the present moment, keep<br />

them in the music, and keep them from freaking out about<br />

the end result. Mindful breathing lowers the heart rate and<br />

blood pressure while increasing brain function.<br />

To give your your singer a nearly instant mental and physical<br />

“reset”, guide him or her through this simple mindful breathing<br />

exercise that can be taught in a moment, with benefits<br />

that will show after just 3 repetitions.<br />

[A] Inhale by opening down into the body to the count of 4.<br />

[B] Suspend the breath by suspending the open body to<br />

the count of 5.<br />

[C] Actively blow the breath out to the count of 6.<br />

[D] Repeat a minimum of 3 times.<br />

3. Help <strong>The</strong> Singer Catch <strong>The</strong>ir Breath.<br />

When a singer is running out of breath way too fast, it’s usually<br />

due to nerves that interfere with getting a deep inhale. I<br />

have 2 very simple exercises to unlock a singer’s breathing.<br />

Pant like a dog. This forces the singers breath down into the abs<br />

that are meant to propel breath and sound through the body.<br />

Be Santa! Say, “ho, ho, ho!” imitating a good belly laugh.<br />

Even better yet, real laughter will always do the trick. Just be<br />

sure not to make a joke at the singers’ expense or you too<br />

could find yourself with one less vocal client coming back for<br />

deeply productive and supportive sessions with you.<br />

Read the full arfticle here: http://bit.ly/TipsForVocals<br />

2. Help <strong>The</strong> Singer to “Sing to<br />

Someone <strong>The</strong>y Know.”<br />

A singer who isn’t really in the song, who is just<br />

phoning it in, instead of really getting down and<br />

dirty with the song, is a singer who isn’t communicating.<br />

And if music is about anything, isn’t is about<br />

communicating an authentic emotion or perspective<br />

to an end listener?<br />

Here are 2 simple instructions to get a singer communicating<br />

through the song, and singing like they<br />

are talking to their BFF.<br />

Ask the singer to decide who<br />

she or he is talking to and what<br />

is his or her relationship to<br />

that person. If the person they<br />

choose does not bring out the<br />

best for the song, ask the singer<br />

to use someone else just for<br />

giggles and listen to how their<br />

tone of voice changes.<br />

Ask the singer to “say” the<br />

lyrics very clearly, and with<br />

meaning. This does not mean<br />

over-enunciating by working<br />

the jaw too much. It means focusing on getting the<br />

simple, clear meaning of the words across.<br />

Ask the singer “What makes you begin singing this<br />

song? What happened the moment before singing<br />

this song that you are responding to?” This helps<br />

them get into the “story” behind the song and focus<br />

on what the performs really means.<br />

34 the deli Summer <strong>2018</strong>






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