James Febris tracking in Nashville

How do you cut tight, rocking tracks with great tones? Simple… have KILLER players.

To record a few more tracks for Ecuadoran singer James Febris’ debut album, I returned to The Tracking Room studio with producer Rodolfo Castillo, executive producer Jaime Araque, Arranger/Contractor Chris McDonald and an amazing bunch of musicians. It was one of those days where you might be tempted to ask the client how much you need to pay THEM just for being there to listen (but, of course, you do not ask this.)

Anchoring the band were drummer Nick Buda and bassist Tim Marks (as just one example of their massive list of achievements, this duo was the foundation for many of Taylor Swift’s big hits.) This was my first time working with Nick and it was really a pleasure. Not only is he a truly great player, blending sophisticated studio savvy with a hold-on-to-your-hat live concert energy, but he’s also a great guy and very fun to work with.

Tom Bukovac and Troy Lancaster manned a dozen or more guitars, and John Deaderick played piano, wurli, B-3 and synths (I guess I could have just said “keys”, huh?) TONE, TONE, TONE. These guys are tone monsters. The hardest part of my day was trying not to mess up their great tones.

Nick played a Gretsch kit which I mostly covered with condensor mics; KM84 on snare, AKG C-12’s on over head, 414’s on the toms. Both guitarists chose closed-back 2×12 cabs which I miced with Royer and Neumann’s. John played the Yamaha C-7, the Hammond and his synth rig with Nord controller.

Technically, the day was nothing fancy, but having all 5 players out in the room was great for energy and communication and, especially for as quickly as we were working, the guys really played like a band and the tracks are all the better for it.

So, I’ll say it once again, it’s all about casting. Having the right people for the job… there is no substitute.

Check out these photos by Rick Malkin

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