INTERVIEW with Oliver Palomares on recording and choosing the right studio

by rockroll

September 30, 2014 – 12:29 am - Oliver Palomares - Recording Engineer

Few words about yourself and what studio/s do you work at?

I am an Audio Engineer/Mixer since 1996. I work at Excello Recording in Brooklyn NY & Fenix Studio in Staten Island NY, and also I freelance in lots of other studios (studio G, metrosonic, chung king, premiere, etc) around the city.

What kind of studio is this?

They both are 100% Analog with 2”, ½”, ¼” tape machines and/or HD Protools system. Excello has a 42 ch Calrec series B analog console from late 70’s and Fenix has a 72 ch SSL 9000J superanalog console that used to be in a pretty famous place in Midtown Manhattan.

How would you recommend choosing a studio for the musician looking to record the next album?

Get a good Engineer.
Room matters a lot, but having a close relationship with your engineer is more important, especially if he is experienced.

Do you think the equipment you record on is important? Is it only about the equipment?

It could be, but not all the times. You need a good talent to generate a good source therefore you will achieve a good recording..

How should musicians prepare before the recording session?

Learn the parts of your music/band/lyrics to the fullest, (unless is a 30 day lockout and writing process is part of the recording).

When they arrive to the studio without knowing their songs to the fullest it consumes a lot of time and affects the project, especially if that band is on a BUDGET.

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Do you think the price is important when choosing the studio?

Well now-days people value their money more than their art, so price does matter.
Example: tracking in a ssl room in NYC is going to be pricey, or tracking in a studio with protools and a few mic pre’s is way lower than the ssl room, but the sound is completely different.

Can you give an advice of what to do and what not to do at the studio? Ex: drinking or when getting stuck on a song?

To do: Be prepared , Bring your own instrument (drummers specially) , producing your own band and is your 1st experience in the studio is risky, I advice to talk to the Engineer and do a pre production planning before enter to the studio.

Ps: don’t let drummers drink or smoke pot before recording their parts because they will get lost (physically) and wont hit the drums the same..

Describe most epic moment from your recording experience…

Wow there’s a few but this is about Rock & Roll Lol. in January 2002 I was working at a studio as an Assistant Engineer next to the MSG and I was supposed to assist Zakk Wylde B.L.S. session, but something happened that the engineer didn’t show up, so Zakk ask me “Do you know how to drive this thing” referring to the SSL 4000G console. I said yeah, and I ended up working with him as his ENGINEER until the end of the record. A week later he was playing with OZZY in Japan, Budokkan. I saw the DVD later on and I noticed that ZAKK hasn’t changed his clothes since that session Lol. m/

Thanks a lot for you time…
– Dmitry Wild of

INTERVIEW with Leo Freire. Getting the best drum sound for beginners

by rockroll

September 28, 2014 – 2:30 am Leo Freire Interview

Few words about yourself and what bands do you play in?

Hey guys, my name is Leo Freire, I’m a 25 year old professional musician based in New York. I currently play the drums for a number of talented projects of various genres. Highlights include Hypodive, Fire and the Romance, My World, and Foirmoda. Whether it be Pop, Rock, Funk, Jazz, or EDM, I’m into all music and take every opportunity I can to play!

What’s your advice for a starting out drummer and what kind of a gear they should look into?

For a drummer who is starting I would recommend buying that they identify with their musical voice. Look into drummers and bands that you listen to and respect and pay attention to how they sound. Look at the brands associated with them and use that as an opportunity to explore what each brand has to offer.
Ironically, I only bought my first drumset when I was 20 (though I had been playing for 8 years already!) and though it took a while, I’m glad I waited to buy an amazing kit: the Yamaha oak custom series.


Any advice on how to get the right sound out of your gear?

The right sound from your gear should be connected to how well it fits your musical voice. Make sure that your gear is representative about how you feel as a musician. Look back at what other musicians you respect have done and use this foundation as a basis for you to build your own sound out of. You will know you have the right sound out of it when you feel like it is a good fit to yourself as a player.


Do you think that the gear you own is important for being a better musician?

Especially if you are striving to be a professional musician, having great gear is absolutely necessary. Though high end gear is expensive, I always find that it is an investment that pays for itself. Great gear will make you sound better as a player in the practice room and live, which will ultimately transmit a more positive image of yourself to your audience. Great gear is like wearing a great outfit: how you present yourself is fundamental for how you want people to perceive you.


Tell me about some epic moment from your career. 

I’ve had a number of epic moments in my growing music career, but I will choose to tell a story from when I was starting out and had just moved to New York from Brazil. At that time (I was 14 or 15 years old), I spent a great deal of my free time transcribing music for hours at end (including all instruments, from bass to guitar to drums…everything!). One day I had the crazy idea of tackling some material by one of my favorite bands at the time, a legendary underground Technical Metal band called Spastic Ink, who plays extremely complex music. Because I had no life, I spent hours upon hours writing out every part, note for note, and finally decided to send the final product to Ron Jarzombek (the band’s guitarist) and Bobby Jarzombek (the drummer). Not only were they very impressed that a teenage kid had gone through that ordeal, Ron sent me an autographed CD of the band and I later got to meet Bobby in person when he played a concert in town, after he also sent me an autographed piece of music from the band. That is still today one of my proudest achievements and it helped me see that perhaps this musical journey is not so out of reach as it seems!


“Artifact” afterthoughts on the music business and the war between the musician vs. label…

by rockroll

September 24, 2014 – 4:07 pm Seconds to Mars

Movie “Artifact” Synopsis lifted from IMDB:

Telling harsh truths about the Telling harsh truths about the modern music business, this riveting and award-winning documentary gives intimate access to singer/actor Jared Leto (“Requiem for a Dream,” “Dallas Buyers Club”) and his band Thirty Seconds to Mars as they fight a relentless lawsuit with record label Virgin/EMI and write songs for their album “This Is War.” Opening up his life for the camera during months of excruciating pressures, Leto reveals the struggles his band must face over questions of art, money and integrity.

– Written by Anonymous

What did I learn from watching a movie “Artifact” last night?

I learned that the artist having signed to a label always ends up being screwed by a clause in the contract that no one reads. Then attempting to leave it ends up turning into a lawsuit. That in case lost, ends up costing the artist a lot of money. 

  • Record industry, as we know it is dead. Having functioned on the old business model it hasn’t figured out how to make money on sales of songs in the new digital age.

  • Songs are now downloaded for free. Whether you want it or not. Torrents and other ways of downloads will lead to downloading music rather then buying it.

  • Money is still made on concert ticket sales. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster has figured out how sell tickets with their overhead on top, therefore resulting in higher ticket prices. Of which artist only sees a percentage. For example a way to make money off of ticket sales is buy selling them through a cheaper service bypassing the big conglomerate.

    1. The artist still needs label’s distribution channels, since even after recording a great album. Artist usually can’t go and spend time promoting it, or can he?For the sake of promotion, you can hire a whole company. Promotion has to be done smartly and in the right channels

    Promoting an artist is an art form.

    Lots of bands started out promoting themselves non-stop. Then the label hired the company that was doing all the marketing. Therefore the marketing is that necessary step that took the music to the people that in return would go see the artist live, buy their music, buy their merchandise.

    As a result 30Seconds to Mars after a yearlong lawsuit went back to EMI to get their album promoted, since as they said in the movie they couldn’t promote it themselves naturally.

    In the end the album got promoted and they went on worldwide tour, selling 2 million albums, but the EMI remained saying they owed them 1.7 million.

    So in the end dealing with a label is a dependency where you feel like you are asking them for something and then in the end they give it to you, but you will end up owing them for life. Since that’s how they make their money, by turning artists into their property, by claiming that we gave you money now you work for it.

    Being on a label it’s kind of like a bad version of a Credit Card.

    So ask yourself do you want to have a 100K+ credit card debt.

    So Labels are a like a dying dinosaur that’s making it’s roar, but the truth of the matter is the music business is not dead, it’s just transforming itself into a more robust way of existing, where the artist instead of the label carries most of the weight, but in the end the artist isn’t owing money to someone all their life but actually makes money on their art.

    Smarter artists create smarter ways of making money without a third man.

    Funny! Jack White called his record label Third Man Records, but Jack White knows how to see through the bull shit.

    Photo Copyright Thirty Seconds to Mars

    How to book and put together a killer show…

    by rockroll

    September 24, 2014 – 2:19 am Crowd rocking on the concert

    So I have been booking shows since I started playing music. I have made many mistakes and has been guilty of playing live for my own sake.  You might ask what do you mean. I thought that’s what music is all about playing for your own sake of sanity. Perhaps, but there is a good anecdote I am sure you have heard of it. What’s the difference between a jazz musician and a rock musician? Jazz musician is playing a thousand of notes for 3 people and a Rock musician plays 3 notes for thousands of people.

    The Rock Manifesto

    When you play rock-n-roll you have a responsibility in front of the people as their spokesperson to put on a show, give them something memorable, to make them forget where they came from and to be there with you in the same space while you are channeling your higher purpose.

    Everyone has got something to say, but the reason why everyone came to see you, because you say it in a unique way. You play it with a feeling, and you scream it out into the universe, like the primordial gods

    K well now let’s get back to booking a show.

     In todays’ world when the people’s attention is being studied and fed according to what they are doing at that particular time you have to be smart about booking your show. Depending on where you live, but for example when you live in New York city you got hundreds of shows happening every night and every other one is good. So you can’t really grasp attention of all the people in the city since everyone’s tastes are different, but you can attract attention of the people that have the same interests that’s why you gotta be smart about booking shows.

    Booking a live show is not as easy as it sounds.

    It’s actually close to an art form. To book a great show that people will talk about afterwards takes time, effort and creativity.

    Here are few tips on how to book a successful show:

    • 1). Think of your show as an event.

    I learned that when you put together an event people will respond to it differently. They want to attend and stay for the whole line up of bands + dance to the DJ then it will be a stellar night.

    • 2). Choosing the right venue.

    The right venue has to be chosen carefully and you gotta be honest with yourself. How many people can all the bands bring to a show to fell like it was a success? Take that number divide it by two, since not everyone will show up. So you can tell venues all you want but the post-show facts will reveal the truth. So no egos, do the right thing. It’s better to choose a smaller venue then a larger one, since you want to feel like you are playing a packed house rather then a half empty venue.

    • 3). Booking similar bands / DJ’s and styles

    Make Sure All bands and DJ’s are of the same genre or if not at least they should make sense playing the same night. For example, you don’t want end up with a hip-hop artist, metal band and a garage band. Trust me I have been on those line-ups.

    • 4). Advertise and Promote the hell out of it.

    There can’t be said enough about this topic, but we all know what that means. Your show poster or flyer has to be in front of everyone’s eyes. Social Media, newsletter, Your website, blogs, magazines try to get as much publicity as possible and build momentum of excitement because as the owner of The Cavestomp – garage rock movement in NYC told me, “Excitement grows when it’s shared!” The more people know and see it the more chances are that they will start wondering what is this show going on? We want to attend. Basically the facts are: if before you have to show people marketing information 4 times, today you have to show it people 16 times to make an impact. Can you imagine that? Yes 16 times, for them to scratch their heads, what’s this about? So get to your promotion and advertisement early and do it massively.

    Now you know how to book and put on a successful show. Go and do it make it happen. Now!!! Go!!! Go!!! Go!!!

    So you wanna be a MUSICIAN? What? I can’t hear you!

    by rockroll

    October 16, 2013 – 12:45 pm


    So here you are watching a live concert of an artist you waited for 6 months to see, or you are watching a video of a live performance and you feel almost high, as if you took a drag of something really good and suddenly you witness this epicness.

    How do you know it’s epic?

    Because it speaks to you like nothing else speaks to you. Because you feel like this is the best thing you have ever seen or heard in your life!

    That singer is a suffering soul singing the lyrics that you understand and can relate to. That guitar player takes a solo and all the girls go ape shit over his every move, the bass player is a bad ass with his feet apart and bass up in the air, and the drummer is an animal beating on skins like it’s his last day on earth. As you stand there, you say to yourself, “This is what I want to do with my life! I want to be just like those guys on stage! I want to be a musician!”


    You are in a sweaty club, the lights are low and the anticipation is building because a super electronic duo from Britain is about to get on that stage. You paid $250 for that ticket and you are watching the stage. Finally they come on, the drum machine goes on, the guy grabs a guitar, the girl grabs a mic and from the first sleazy lyric you are hooked because she said, “I am gonna have you anywhere,” and that girl is barely wearing a skirt, and she is super hot. You think to yourself this is what I want to do with my life, I want to be a musician.

    And from that first moment, when you just screamed out into the universe what you want to do with yourself, the universe listened and replied back:
    ”Well shit, then do it!”

    You go back home and start thinking, “That’s it! I am going to be a musician and I am going to make it and I am not going to work a boring job and I am going to sell millions of records and everyone will love me!”

    Sorry to be a BALL BUSTER, I will tell you off the bat,
    “It’s a long way to the top if you want to ROCK-n-ROLL”
    You say, “Hey, Elvis did it by the time he was 21.”
    Someone will say, “You are not Elvis.”
    And you will say, “I don’t care! I still want to do it.”
    And your parents will say, ”It doesn’t pay, you will make no money.”

    And the moment you say, Fuck you all I still want to do it!

    Then my lambs, I will tell you that starting a band is an impulse of the royal blood of great emperors.

    If you feel like you want to be a musician, that means you must feel that you have something important to say, that you also know you’re embarking on an important journey that will require love, sacrifice, courage, stamina and lastly, again, LOVE for what you do. Without that strong foundation of LOVING what you do, you will get into the very difficult situation where you are going to say, Fuck It! I don’t want it anymore! If you don’t have that love feeling as your base, then you will find out you are in it for the wrong reasons.

    Answer 3 of the most important questions:

    WHY? WHAT? and HOW?

    This way you will start focusing on what you want from the beginning.

    This should be the reason WHY you want to make music? What drives you? Why are you even here reading this?

    What is it that you are going create? For Example, I will create Rock / Electronic music for the Appreciative fans that will travel 1000 miles just to listen to my song, because you bring honesty and you mean it. This is just an example.

    Now think about it, how are you going to do it? How are you going to make the kind of music that people will drive 1000 miles just to come see you play? Are you going to do it by being a singer / songwriter, an electronic duo, a power trio, a band of four, five?

    So yes once you have answered those questions to yourself, you just told the universe the 3 most important things, and the universe listens.

    It will start rotating the wheels of karma, time and space to bring what you want forth.

    But it’s not just enough to say it, I suggest writing it down as an affirmation.


    Affirming will make it even more powerful.

    An affirmation is a declaration of your intent / your will on paper, screen, or someplace where you could see it everyday and read it to yourself over and over.

    One day you start realizing that things are slowly coming true, but you gotta do your work. 

    Let’s move on to the next big topic, how do you look for your band mates?

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