Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Time...the greatest time of the year

Its break time from school, holiday time with family, which means to me time to do something new! New, as in a project to add to my repertoire and continue my experience of making music and continued self-education!  So I challenge my fellow artists in this global community to do something out of their comfort-zone as we go into the new year.  And for those of you who may be thinking, like what? I have the perfect solution, a re-working of happy birthday, the song.  There is a contest being held by The Free Music Archive, and I urge all of you who may have an interest to check out their site and see how to submit your song version and what the outcome could be!  Enjoy your holiday and the best of luck to you all! Click here for more info...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Its the holiday season and this usually means there is an abundance of seasonal work!  So while the semester is out why not take advantage of the free time!
I was at Guitar Center in Union Square, NYC...who in our department wouldn't want this job???

Thursday, November 29, 2012


There is a contest by DreamGig  where you could win a about 6k worth of gear for your home studio.  This is more of a raffle but like they say you have to be in it to win it! Click here for more info and good luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012

RJD2 Talks about Production Techniques

I found this great conversation with producer RJD2 on 
I really enjoyed the discourse and thought there was some useful insight into his production techniques and wanted to share!


Since this has been requested on another thread, i'm gonna kick it off.

first off,
i'd like to know everything about the production and recording process of DEADRINGER.

-how long did it take you to finish this album? ... from the first sketches to the final mix and mastering.

-what equipment did you use?

and since this was asked on another thread:

-how did you get your drums to bang so hard?


haha, ok! here we go folks, im gonna do my best to answer 'em all....

re: deadringer. ok, the SPECS. get ready to laugh.

the album was entirely produced, arranged, and composed using one mpc2000, one
1200 turntable, and one numark bullshit dj mixer with a fader that kept falling into the mixer, and an ADAT.

it was mixed using a
behringer eurorack 20-something channel board, one lexicon outboard unit i'd use for reverb, one ADAT. that's it. scratches on ADAT, synced to mpc. sounds dumped from mpc-ADAT to mixdown to DAT.

98% of the processing happened either going into the mpc, or within it. to go into this more would require specific examples. but i'll go into the drum thing a little:

I'd generally hit the mpc inputs kinda hard. not distort hard, but not like 30% peak, more like 85% peak. I 've built up alot of tricks over the years for internally processing drums. one is to double up drum hits-same hit on two pads, assign to trigger both, then pitch one down AND filter it. More important on this is finding the PITCH of it, not just the filter cutoff of it. use your ears doing this, not the numbers. Big trick here-you can double up bigger portions of drums, not just single hits, if you dont pitch them, but just use the filtering and resonance controls. Again, use your ears, dont look at the numbers.

A big thing to mention if we are gonna talk drums is that i have a personal aesthetic about drums. i like drum loop type sounds. I like to hear long portions of drums sampled. So I spend a lot of time trying to make programmed drums sound "real". again, lots of tricks to do this, but main thing for me is to think about the whole song, and try to put as much variation as I can throughout the WHOLE song. There's individual things I have learned, like sampling the decay portion of a drum hit, not the big transient part. Then, assign the attack and decay so it has no transient at all. It just whooshes. Now, think of this like spackle. After you chop a break, and reassemble it, you paste these little pieces into any places where there's silence. You can smooth things out like this. Even if its not a silence portion. It can make an awkward decay sound more natural.

There's alot of "thinking like a guy directing a drummer" in the composing part.

Also, don't discount the simple act of finding ALOT of drum breaks, and prioritizing them. I always have lots of breaks that are chopped up and ready to go, saved as a program, with no song.This gives me the option to go thru lots of drum programs and see what drums work on a loop/groove/song. LOTS of a/b/c/d comparisons to see what drums really WANT to be on a track. lots of revisiting songs and trying other drums. then deciding the original, or the new, are better.

Another thing: I dont need the feel of the drummer. I want the tone of the engineer who cut the record. I'm gonna take it apart and put it back together anyway. So drums in 4/4, 5/4, 7/8, it doesnt matter. In fact, lots of my drum breaks arent even drum breaks. here, lets play a fun one, ill rat myself out:

YouTube - Billy Thorpe - Children of the Sun

Please, do me a favor - I don't EVER rat myself out, so lets just leave it here ok? who can guess where i used these drums? It's a good example of what im talking about. I just want the tones. I don't need anything resembling a groove sometimes.


Hey RJD2,

Thanks again for doing this and I hope you had a good Xmas day.

I wondered if you'd care to talk about sampling records versus playing "real" instruments in terms of the creative and sonic advantages and disadvantages.....
Could you also cover the average speed of your workflow involved with each approach?

Also, do you mainly prefer studio work or touring?

Paul G


I see the big sonic advantage being in samples, cause you acquire tonalities that you will never-ever-be able to recreate, they last for one song, and then they are over.

w/ playing, I like the freedom it allows in the writing aspect. I would always get frustrated w/ samples, cause if you wanted a bridge, you;d have to use a totally different sound most of the time.

My compromise is usually to play the verses of songs - if I am playing-super repetitive. No wanking. It gives it more of a groove/sample type of feel, then, you add the spice by writing different parts, or turnarounds, etc.

If im on the sampler, a beat gets done usually in about 25-20 minutes for rough draft, mind you, that doesnt include all the hours/days i spent looking thru records. Then, another few days to do the song steps, touch it up, dump it in PT, for a BEAT, for an all sample song, like "iced lightning", that usually takes about 4-5 days of work, but not 8 hour days, couple hour days.

Touring vs. studio? Studio, mostly because the downtime isnt so painful. the 90 minutes im on stage, I love touring, but the 12 hours of travel/prep time makes it much harder. but i've never taken a year off since I started touring, so I might feel differently after that happens-someday....

Posted by Josh Groessbrink 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recording Bass Guitar

Our music technology program is full of students with various levels of recording experience, I think every now and then we should take the time to step back and cover some basics of recording.  The process of recording is a huge factor in determining what your mix will sound like.  It is much harder to create a good mix with low a  quality recording.  In my opinion, one of the best feelings you can get as a mixing engineer is when you have such well recorded tracks, they essentially "mix" themselves.  Signature Sound Studios does a nice job posting videos of their recording techniques on various instruments.  These short instructional videos do a pretty good job showing how they record, such as certain techniques, gear, etc., as well as explaining why they do it.  Not only are the videos great, but they also have nice write-ups at the bottom of the page enforcing whatever points they make during the clip.  This specific post from Signature Sound demonstrates how they typically record bass guitar. 

The bass guitar is a very important part of laying the groundwork for a song.  Along with the drums, it is often referred to as the "foundation" of the arrangement. click the link to continue 

-Post by Justin Cosentino

Thursday, September 6, 2012

IMSTAFEST September 22, 2012

 Here is a very interesting event for anyone that is interested.  There will be software companies there for most of the major music brands and a ton of industry folks.  On September 22, 2012 IMSTA and SAE Institute New York will partner again to bring you IMSTA FESTA, a celebration of music technology that allows you to learn more about the different production products in the market. Admission is FREE but you mustregister to attend!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

BMI Songwriting Workshop in New York Now Accepting Submissions | News |

BMI will offer an eight-week songwriting workshop directed by renowned BMI songwriter and instructor Billy Seidman starting September 12 and ending on October 30 in New York City. Participants will focus on music composition, lyric writing, music theory and production/arrangement techniques as part of an immersive curriculum that includes stimulating assignments and constructive feedback.

Apply Now: BMI Songwriting Workshop in New York Now Accepting Submissions | News |

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recoup Lounge Summer Bash

Don't miss your fellow artists/students in action, live in New York City at the Recoup Lounge Summer Bash, May 26, Saturday.   Artists currently finishing their degree here at Bloomfield College will be performing live at the Summer Bash, doors open at 7pm and cover is only 10 dollars!  Please bring ID, must be 21 and over to party and enjoy the festivities!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

NYTimes article on TuneCore

May 6, 2012

Out to Shake Up Music, Often With Sharp Words

Like any big music company, the offices of TuneCore, a digital distributor in Brooklyn, are lined with official-looking plaques certifying blockbuster record sales.
But rather than the industry’s standard gold and platinum records, they are TuneCore’s own awards for its clients — like a rippled black disc representing 500,000 downloads for Nine Inch Nails — and the first sign of a company looking to challenge music’s status quo.
TuneCore was founded six years ago by Jeff Price, a veteran independent label owner, as a service for artists working under the radar of the mainstream music industry. Without a label, most acts cannot get their music onto iTunes and Spotify, but for $50 a year TuneCore will place any album on dozens of online services around the world and route all royalties to the artist.
That simple model — revolutionary when introduced — has made TuneCore one of the world’s major suppliers of music, and made Mr. Price one of the digital world’s most influential figures. In the United States, TuneCore represents about 10 percent of the 20 million songs on iTunes, and it accounts for almost 4 percent of all digital sales.
“You wake up one day and go, ‘Oh, wow, the customers sold 600 million units of music and earned $300 million off their recordings,’ ” said Mr. Price, the company’s chief executive.
As TuneCore has grown, it has also served as a pulpit for Mr. Price to criticize the ways of the music business. Through aggressive posts on the company’s blog with titles like “How They Legally Steal Your Money,” and occasional outbursts at industry conferences, he has established himself as a particularly vocal gadfly, denouncing opaque accounting systems and sometimes hurling insults at companies he dislikes.
Mr. Price, a trim 45-year-old who speaks so rapidly he sometimes seems to be on fast-forward, says his actions are a form of advocacy in line with TuneCore’s original mission of serving musicians.
“The plan,” he said in an interview last week, “was to start a company that righted a wrong.”
Mr. Price has inserted himself into some of the most contentious issues in the music business, like the legal obligations of streaming services and the complex mechanisms for paying royalties. But his excitable manner — and his tendency to portray business disputes as pitched battles between right and wrong — do not always endear him to his colleagues.
“Typically when you hear people talk about how artists need to get paid, usually some party is posturing for political positioning,” said Michael Robertson, a digital music pioneer who has also fought the industry with his companies and MP3tunes. “Jeff has done a fantastic job with TuneCore. But I think his bombastic style drives people crazy and doesn’t always serve him well.”
Mr. Price helped found spinART Records in 1991, putting out music by the Pixies, the Apples in Stereo and others, and learned about digital music through a job at eMusic. By the mid-2000s, with his label winding down, he began to rethink the way artists get their music for sale online. Rather than taking a cut of sales and offering marketing services, as many distributors do, he decided to charge a flat fee to deliver music to retailers and leave the rest to the bands.
“I’m not going to promise anyone they’re going to be a star,” Mr. Price said. “I am going to promise that if you pay me a fee for the service, I will distribute your music to the places you want it to go, and I will deal with all the hassles that come along with that.”
TuneCore can be lucrative for musicians who already have a following or can build one on their own. Major acts like Jay-Z and Keith Richards have used it, and two clients, the rapper Hoodie Allen and the Americana band the Civil Wars, recently hit No. 1 on iTunes after extensive social-media campaigns. But most of TuneCore’s 700,000 acts — as well as the clients of competing services like CD Baby and Zimbalam — have very low sales.
“A real temptation in this industry is to think there’s a quick fix, that all you need is one thing to be successful,” said Travis Yetton, one of the Civil Wars’ managers. “For us, TuneCore was great. They did the service we needed. But if we need them to break a band, then we are doing a bad job, not them.”
Last year, TuneCore expanded into music publishing, which deals with the copyrights for songwriting. Already a daunting business, publishing has become even more complex in the digital age, since songs that can be sold around the world in an instant may still have to filter through multiple layers of international middlemen before all parties are paid. As a result, millions in royalties sit unclaimed around the world; Mr. Price believes that TuneCore’s customers may be owed up to $70 million.
“This is a mighty problem to solve, and not just for the band in the garage,” said Michael S. Simon, the senior vice president of business affairs at the Harry Fox Agency, which processes music licenses in the United States. “Getting royalties for international online exploitation is a problem at every level of the music industry, and many folks are trying to solve it.”
TuneCore’s publishing service offers to register songwriters’ works around the world and collect any money owed, for another annual fee and a 10 percent cut of recovered royalties, which Mr. Price says is necessary given the intensive work. So far, he said, he has signed up 4,000 clients and collected about $41,000.
Recently, Mr. Price has become even more aggressive as an artists’ advocate. In January, after TuneCore releases were removed from Amazon’s download stores in Britain and Europe, he accused Amazon of not paying royalties properly there. Last month, he lashed out against the streaming service Grooveshark, saying that its executives “are immoral and could care less about who and/or what they hurt as long as they make money.”
Mr. Price is far from alone in criticizing Grooveshark, which is being sued by all major record companies for copyright infringement and other issues. But his attack is perhaps the most personal. After his blog post was copied to Pho, an e-mail discussion list about media and technology, he wrote more than 15,000 words in dozens of heated messages defending his stance.
Sam Tarantino, the chief executive of Grooveshark, called Mr. Price’s criticism unfair. He said that Mr. Price had demanded $25,000 for his publishing clients but that according to Grooveshark’s accounting they were owed only $500.
“When somebody comes in and attacks us like this, that’s just intimidation,” Mr. Tarantino said in an interview on Friday. “This space has worked through intimidation and extortion before, and we’re not going to have it.”
When asked for a response to Mr. Tarantino’s statements, Mr. Price wrote — as part of a long e-mail including royalty rate charts and excerpts from correspondence with Grooveshark executives — that he did not know how much Grooveshark owes because it has not supplied necessary data about its streams.
As much as he has been criticized for his tone, Mr. Price has also shown that he gets results. Two weeks ago, he announced that TuneCore’s dispute with Amazon had been resolved and that its songs would be restored. (Amazon declined to comment for this article.) And however tempestuous his public exchanges with Grooveshark may be, the two sides are still negotiating.
“If people don’t take Jeff seriously, they do so at their peril,” said Eric Garland, chief executive of BigChampagne, a media analysis firm owned by Live Nation Entertainment. “They are confusing his personality with his business.”
Sitting in his office in Brooklyn, where he flipped through a slide show of TuneCore’s successes and excitedly sketched charts of how royalties are paid overseas, Mr. Price disputed a suggestion that his public efforts were meant to attract new clients.
“Yes, I run a business; I am not running a philanthropy,” he said. “But I’m not writing those things because I’m trying to get customers. I’m writing what I write because I believe it.”
“Whether I had this company or not,” he added, “I’d still have a big mouth about it.”

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sonic Geography Contest

This could be an interesting project for some:
Musicworks Second Annual Electronic Music and Sonic Geography contest
Call for entries

Musicworks is holding their Second Annual Electronic Music and Sonic Geography contest. To enter the Electronic Music Contest, compose a piece in one of the following genres: Acousmatic, Audio art, Electroacoustic, Glitch, Intelligent dance music, Microsound, Noise, Turntable art, or Video music. There is no maximum length. To enter the Sonic Geography Writing Contest, write prose to describe how sound influences place. How does sound define the chosen location? Listen to your local coffee shop, grocery store, or commute to work. Choose anywhere—urban or rural, indoors or outside, busy and loud or mysteriously quiet—and literally describe what you hear. Write about language, geography, landscape, urbanization, culture, architecture or people. Maximum: 500 words. Six winners will receive cash prizes.

Deadline: May 21, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Advice to the class of 2012

This is an exciting time for the students that are graduating this May but it also can be a scary time for a lot, especially for C.A.T. majors.  Entering into the entertainment business is tough and takes a certain type of stamina and approach.  I came across an article that does a good job of getting across that point.  That you are better off trying to establish your career as opposed to just fishing for a job. read more

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Song Submission Contest

I am not a fan of song contests but sometimes it can't hurt to compete right?  That being said, I was on twitter and saw that MIDEM posted a Song Submission Contest for their promotional trailers and immediately felt like this would be fun and worth it.  For those of you reading this that have never heard of MIDEM: MIDEM is the acronym for Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale which is held been annually in and around the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in CannesFrance. The event, which is billed as the world's largest trade fair for the music industry, has been held since 1967. Several thousand musicians, producers, managers, and journalists from around the globe regularly attend the event, which is currently held at the end of January.(  The contest has the following guidelines and benefits:

What we are looking for?

  • An original creation – doesn’t matter if it’s acoustic or electronic, instrumental or vocal
  • Music with a dynamic, cool & joyful sound
  • An audio track to act as the keystone for midem’s sound strategy in our corporate communications and mainstream marketing


  • Access global audience of senior music executives, brands, advertising agencies, artists, and more
  • Receive two free registrations to midem 2013
  • Get a free one-year SoundCloud Pro account (worth ~€ 250).
  • Gain massive visibility in midem marketing channels (including our newsletter, midemblog, social media, and more)
  • Your name and copyright will be included at the end of each trailer

Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer, Summertime...

The semester is almost over and people are already making plans for fun in the sun!  Seeing how I have lived my whole life in the Tri-state area and have never won the lottery, I have learned to surf the cityscape of New York City with power of frugality!  Unfortunately for you guys the days of being able to make it from Newark to New York with five dollars to cover transportation and food are over.  There was a time when roundtrip on the PATH train was a total of two dollars, but that was a different era.  In the summer there are a ton of FREE events that are fun and exciting!
Most of the NYC parks have their own concert series that are totally free with very few exceptions.  The granddaddy of them all is Central Park Summer Stage that is located by the bandshell near Columbus Circle, the exception here is usually a top tier concert where you can buy tickets.  The free shows at Central Park Summer Stage are strictly first come first serve and are usually crowded.  I personally have watched Chester French, Raphael Saadiq, Gil Scott-Heron, Q-tip, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, and plenty more.  New York City also does movie screenings outside in the park, the mainstay here is usually Monday nights, HBO Presents: Movies after Dark and I'm pretty sure one of the parks down in Battery Park City also show movies after dark on specified days.  For those of you who live in the North Jersey area or within reasonable distance to New York City should keep your eyes and ears open for free and interesting events and I will include a link to get you started, enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Opportunities sprout up in all forms and in the most unlikely places, which brings me to the reason for today's post. My mother, who is a big supporter of green living and organic eating, sent me an email that contains an opportunity that anyone in the Creative Arts and Technology department could partake. I plan to donate my time for this project and I encourage others to do the same! Below is what was contained in the email for your opportunistic dining:

We’re working long hours everyday on our feature length documentary, which exposes more evidence of GMO health dangers than ever before. The timing is just right. California will have a labeling measure on the November ballot, and voters need a big dose of hard-hitting facts that will inspire them to avoid GMOs, not just label them.

For greatest impact, we’re beefing up our visuals and sound, and can use your help. Our wish list includes people with skills in:

  • Motion graphics
  • Animation
  • Visual effects
  • Sound engineering
  • Sound track production
  • Theatrical trailer editing
  • Camera work (for shooting additional “B-roll”)
  • Translation (lots of languages for global distribution)
  • Filmmaking/editing (To use the footage to produce trailers, short pieces, PSAs, and TV commercials)
We also need researchers to search the web for script-related images, footage, articles, etc.

While we have some funds due to the generous donations and matching grant from Mike Adams of (thank you all so much), we certainly prefer donated services, so we can stretch our budget for maximum promotion and distribution.

We will not be releasing the film in April as originally targeted, since the project has grown way beyond what we were first planning. This is big. Very big.

Send inquiries to

You can also support this important work by donating to the film today.

Link not working? Copy and paste this into your web browser:

Thanks again for your support.

Staff at IRT

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Free Webinar by SoundExchange

I urge all music creatives to RSVP for this and check it out live, Soundexchange is the source of income for many artist. They provide royalties for songwriters, producers, record labels, session musicians, and more. It's free and it doesn't not air until April 27th, Friday at 2:00pm Eastern time. Click here to RSVP

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Student Garden Ground Breaking

GREEN HEARTS PRESENTS: Student Garden Ground Breaking behind the Deacon's Den this Wednesday March 21st! Come out and be apart of the BC Community of students, staff, and faculty! Enjoy the company of your collegiate neighbors with free food and drinks and special guest performances!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The Experienced Music Project (EMP), based in Seattle, is a museum and cultural institution devoted to popular music. Every year, they sponsor a conference of talks and panels related to all areas of pop music.

This year, the conference will be held in New York City, sponsored by NYU.

Admission is free, but you must make reservations.

And FYI - I will be involved - along with Abraham Gomez-Delgado, Ned Sublette, Zack Layton and Elio Villafranca - in a special presentation of VIDAS PERFECTAS on Saturday at the conference.

Do check it out!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tips on Releasing music the DIY way!

Almost every week as I walk through Westminster Hall a student proclaims that they are releasing a mix tape, cd, or single next week or tomorrow or the day after. I always find it exciting when people have completed their creative process and feel confident enough to share that project with the world, there is no doubt this can pretty intimidating! When I worked at a record label our busiest days were weeks before the release of a record as our months of planning continue to unfold. Any student that has had my class in the fall knows my attitude with releasing music on your own, its a lot of work and best handled with a plan already in place. This is an extremely difficult task, just ask established artists that have teams already in place to help with their releases. I believe there is a misconception with most Do It Yourself artists that money and the backing of a label would help streamline this process, I would respectfully disagree to a point. Like the saying goes: more money, more problems, this can also be true. If you haven't done the basic research regarding your market or let alone how to release a record even with funding you will find yourself still frustrated with the process. Some people are lucky and their music will carry them over most hurdles but in this day with half the world trying to be the next big thing the cards are definitely stacked against you but at the same time they are in your favor. With the masses of artists pushing for that coveted position of number one, the proliferation of the world wide web, and the denigration of the old music industry many tools have emerged to fullfil this new need in the marketplace for DIY distribution, promotion, and marketing. Companies like Tunecore, CDBaby, BandCamp, Onesheet, and plenty more all cater to the DIY artist and give support in the way of information via articles and blog posts. I follow many of these entities on Twitter and have improved my knowledge base and kept abreast of changes as they come down the pipeline.
There isn't one 'correct' way to promote and sell music, but without a plan and the proper research you could be wasting a lot of time. The easy part, for creatives at least, is producing the product and then the real work begins. If you take the DIY route or are seeking funding or a record deal I suggest you educate yourself as best you can and make this business of music your new reading interest. This is only an investment in yourself and your intellectual property! So before you decide to release that new mix tape and spam your friends and family via email and Facebook and any other social outlet take some time to find your true audience and figure out how to find them, reach them, and garner their attention. Its always better to have an audience of 200 people that you targeted and know how to reach than an audience of 1,000 anonymous people that you cannot reach directly for your next release. There is a great article by CD Baby to help the DIY artist navigate a release and prepare properly. I suggest this as a good start for your research and good luck on your career!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Internships and Jobs

We are already half way through the month of February and quickly the semester will be over once again. For those of you who have internships or plan on applying for them for the summer and the fall I would suggest you start now. It gives you plenty of time to prep your resume and have it reviewed by the Career Center so that you can focus on cover letters and finding the right spot for you. Sometimes we think we 'want' a specific position because it seems glamorous or has more appeal than other positions but from my experience you have to play it be ear and see how each situation can work to your advantage. One of my earliest internships was for a small marketing company that had a whopping one employee and two interns including myself, and for various reasons it turned out to be profitable to me in many different ways. The most important was the connection made with the owner/operator Tanisha Nash Laird, who has hired me back as a freelancer later on down the line and was a great mentor and wealth of information regarding marketing and the entertainment business. It showed me the true value of interning: a chance to learn with someone who is doing what you want to do and opening my eyes to the various avenues I could travel to accomplish my professional goal. I interned with her approximately fifteen years ago and maintain communication with her and her husband with whom I've crafted my own friendship over the years.
There are a lot of young people who would love to get their start in entertainment as producers, engineers, rappers, singers, song writers, etc and are currently mapping their plan to achieve that goal through internships and volunteering at events in their area. Never forget that you are competing against a sea of applicants and that preparation is your best way at standing out.
I urge anyone interested to immediately respond to these postings, don't waste time by stopping me, Toriono, in the hallway with questions about the postings, do your research and apply in a swift manner. Good Luck.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tips on Music production and being a producer

I think its safe to say that this is the age of the producer, whether you are talking in the traditional sense or the new edge of electronica and hip-hop. In the music tech program I am affiliated with a lot of our students are striving for that coveted position of super producer. So when I came across these articles I immediately thought of the students in our program. There are two articles, one that gives tips on how to be a better producer in the traditional sense and tips from a mix engineer for hip-hop producers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


For those who don't know our new adjunct of World Music - Cuban, Ned Sublette, this would be a good chance to hang out with him and his class when they check out the show Havana To Brooklyn, in Brooklyn at Roulette. The show features singer and percussionist Pedrito Martinez. If you wish to check out the show, students should contact Peter Gordon(

Monday, January 30, 2012

Time to Think Outside the Box

If anyone can do it, so can you! At least that's what my grandpappy told me, and I take it as sage advice, all is possible. A lot of elements go into a successful Kickstarter campaign. Spanish Prisoners combine a unique request, funding the purchase of a low-budget tour van, with unique offerings, songs recorded in the van along with other goodies from their upcoming trip to SXSW. Original article in full.

Music Industry Internship!

In the industry of music, whether we are talking: record labels, studios, publishers, licensing houses, etc, you need to pay your dues the old fashion way, work! When I say work, I mean getting dirty with it by running errands without complaint, helping around the office diligently, able to be seen and not heard yet helpful, among other things that are hard to swallow. I did 2 internships while finishing my degree at Bloomfield College, one at a production studio and another with a post-production house in mid-town(5 days a week). I did these while going to school with a minimum of 4 classes and a part-time job and I was already in my 30s, which is a disadvantage all by itself. Despite all of this I was humble, attentive, and always carried enthusiasm with me which help pay off in the end. The music industry is very small and there is always a strong possibility that you will run into someone you've worked with previously at some point in time.
With all that said I suggest you go after all internship possibilities with the same zeal you would a paying job. Conduct yourself in a way that is appropriate, helpful and humble to say the least, and take this opportunity to network at your internship in a way that won't damage you relationship with the business or the staff.
There is an opening with a record label in New York City for a music intern, click here to find out more. As with jobs I would apply promptly, since there are thousands of other students with the same goal in mind.
good luck

Job Posting: Asst Mastering Engineer

Its rare for us, as audio professionals, to find a decent position opening up in our field. Usually these positions are held for years until someone passes or moves on and then it's usually about who you know. This position is with which is located in downtown Newark and an affiliate. For all the seniors in the program and juniors as well, I suggest you apply for this position with graduation right around the corner. To apply click here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"WAR HORSE" Sound Design Article in NY Times

I Found this story on the sound design of "War Horse" to be particularly interesting

JANUARY 3, 2012, 2:05 PM

‘War Horse’ Sound Tricks: Otters Stand in for Horses and Other Trade Secrets

Box office-wise, the surprise winner of the holiday season was “War Horse,” Steven Spielberg’s military epic. With an absence of recognizable stars -– save perhaps, for the horse -– the film’s appeal is in the very filmmaking:Mr. Spielberg’s own style, of course, and that of frequent collaborators like the Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and the sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who has won Oscars for “Saving Private Ryan,” “Titanic,” “Jurassic Park” and more.

In his long career Mr. Rydstrom has worked on “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” “Terminator 2” and “Spaceballs.” But he had never done a World War I movie, and, sonically, the prospect excited him.

“World War I has a specific sound to it,” he said. “I thought the tanks and the guns should sound more primitive, unrefined. In World War II, the guns weren’t as clattery, the artillery didn’t make as much of a whistle when they came in, the tanks probably had more oil in them. The movie is about the historical clash when the old ways of war met the new ways -– cavalry vs. machine guns.”

Skywalker SoundThe sound crew actually plowed land (Skywalker Ranch, in this case) for the farming scenes in “War Horse.”

He did research but, he said, “there aren’t too many people around who remember what World War I sounded like.” For Mr. Rydstrom this proved extra-delectable because he got to make it up. “You are always going to hear a lot more than you’re going to see if you’re in the middle of the battle, and when I talk to people who have been in the middle of battle, a lot of their memories were about the sounds of war,” he told the Bagger in a recent phone interview from his office at Skywalker Studios in California. “For this movie, I tried to imagine what the iconic sounds of war would be, from the horse’s point of view or soldier’s point of view.”

Among the instruments he used to recreate these sounds: swarms of bees, ice skates, copper bowls, gallon water bottles and a vacuum cleaner.

“What I usually do, out of laziness, is I do a lot of my recording around my house,” he said. “The golden rule of sound design is, it doesn’t matter what a sound really it is, it matters how it works in the movie, how it makes you feel. It doesn’t matter that it’s a vacuum cleaner.”

Of course, there are moments of realism. The sound for a pivotal early scene in the movie involved actually plowing Skywalker Ranch (it sits on 5,000 acres in Marin County), using a borrowed old-fashioned plow and two plowhorses. “The moment of success, the plow dipping on the dirt, there’s now this smooth yet heavy and extremely satisfying sound, that was a wonderful day that we spent recording plowing on every possibly angle,” Mr. Rydstrom said. But they also needed the sound of a plow stalling. So they pulled it themselves.

“I just want to point out how dedicated the sound crew was,” Mr. Rydstrom said.

Here, a glossary of other effects in the distinctive soundscape in “War Horse.”

Bullet whizzing by: The “bullet-by” is what sound guys call it, Mr. Rydstrom said, and for that effect he went Winter Olympics: “If you do quick turns in ice skating or skiing, you get that ripping sound,” he said. “We extract those and maybe do a little Doppler effect on them.”

Bullet-by of artillery missiles: “We used a string bow across a copper bowl to make these weird metallic sounds,” Mr. Rydstrom said. “I was in a weird artillery missile frame of mind. There is a classic artillery whistle that we did put in, but Spielberg is such a connoisseur of classic movie sound, there’s a classic artillery whistle that he remembered from ‘Paths of Glory’ that we had to emulate.”

Horse stampede in a cavalry scene: “There’s such a rumble on a mass of cavalry, it’s hard to record literally that. The first thing you do is record things like horses on racetracks. We’d put recorders on jockeys – there’s a local racetrack here in the East Bay that’s sort of horses with carts. You could go in the pace car or something, you could get a real straight-on recording of a group of horses galloping. We also recorded cattle being moved. For the really low end, we can use deep, almost rumbly explosive stuff – I’ve had a sound for years of glaciers breaking apart. It was useful as horses galloping and as a distant artillery sound.”

Incoming shell: “That’s one of the scariest sounds in war to me, knowing that a shell is coming in to explode near you. I recorded my vacuum cleaner. I was vacuuming my stairs and if you vacuum in the crack of the stairs in the carpet, it makes this crazy whoosh. This happens to sound people all time, you’re doing something mundane one day and you hear this great sound. My wife has long thought I’m crazy; she probably had to be quiet for a few hours while I recorded a vacuum cleaner. The cracks of my stairs are so clean now.”

The star horses, Joey and Topthorn: “Our first instinct as a sound man is, if I just take a walrus and an otter, and speed them up, it’ll make a great Joey vocal! Spielberg tried to warn against that. He wanted the horses to sound like horses. We recorded many, many horses to find the voice for Joey. My favorite was miniature horses. They sound different, they have a different emotional range – they’re a little closer to dogs. We have to make a library of different horse vocals and start categorizing them into different emotions. We had to record horses in veterinary hospitals that were sick or coming out of anesthesia. My wife has a horse, her horse makes this weird teeth grind, we used it all through the movie. I use it as a tender friendly sound between Joey and Albert,” the boy played by Jeremy Irvine.

The sound editor Teresa Eckton specializes in creature vocals, Mr. Rydstrom continued. “She cut Chewbacca. She and I would look at a scene and we would talk about it as if working with an actor or working with an animator. So we would talk about what was going on in the horse’s mind. It’s like ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ – what is the horse’s goal? You need action verbs to describe what the horse is going through. It was good to decide separately Joey and Topthorn, where their minds were at. We started to build piece by piece, breath by breath, to make a horse vocal come alive. It was the most intricate and difficult thing to do, to make the horses believable and have character.”

Tanks: “I have the old-fashioned push mower with no engine. I’m mowing the lawn and I hear this clattery thing – you slow that down and record it really close, it’s perfect for a tank.”

Trenches: “Trenches for World War I are key. I tried to find the claustrophobic sound of being in a trench. If you take one of those big water bottles and you blow over the top of it, and you loop it and you slow it down, it makes this steady howl. So we used that. Again, the sounds of your household can be immensely satisfying.”

For those wondering how Mr. Rydstrom got his start, he said he went to film school: “The fundamental irony of my career is that I got interested in film because I loved silent film.”