Session Buzz: Who’s Recording In & Around NYC — A Monthly Report

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GREATER NYC AREA: Heading into Summer, the city’s recording studios show no signs of slowing down. The following is but a sampling of recent sessions, and works in progress…a snapshot of what’s going on around town:

Aventura – the Bachata band out of the Bronx – has been at Daddy’s House tracking and mixing a new release with Justin Sampson engineering. Pop artist One Love has also been recording at Daddy’s House – tracking basics and vocals with producer/engineer Jon Thimple for his upcoming full-length album on Intrepid Music.

Meanwhile, Daddy’s House is currently undergoing a complete overhaul of infrastructure, operations, and aesthetics – with extensive work being done to both the SSL G Series and Neve VR consoles. Stay tuned for more on this, as the studio prepares to re-set as a full-blown commercial operation.

Chris Taylor's latest solo album as CANT will come out on Terrible Records in September. Mixed by Jack Aron at Germano Studios.

Queens born rapper Ja Rule was at Area 51 tracking and mixing for his upcoming LP with producer Seven Aurelius and engineer Darren Moore. Also at Area 51: Jacob Latimore recorded new material with producer “CJ” and engineer Alberto Vaccarino, and David Banner was in to mix his upcoming release with Pat Viala (50 Cent, Mariah Carey).

Downtown, Christina Aguilera was recording vocals at Germano Studios for a duet with Maroon 5 – the song “Moves Like Jagger” – with Manny Marroquin (Kanye West, Alicia Keys) engineering. Aguilera has also been writing and recording with producer/songwriter Sandy Vee at Germano in sessions engineered by Kevin Porter.

Vee – whose songwriting/producing credits include Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Rhianna’s “Only Girl in the World” – was also working at Germano with Disney ingenue Demi Lovato, and with pop artist/singer Dev, writing and recording new material with Porter engineering.

Other Germano sessions include will.i.am, Beyonce, The Kin recording with  producer/engineer Thom Panunzio, DJ/producer/remixer Chew Fu, and Tiësto mixing with engineer Ben Chang. And Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear) brought his new solo project, CANT – featuring George Lewis Jr. of Twin Shadow – to Germano to mix with Jake Aron (Yeasayer, Jamie Lidell). The new album will be released September 13 via Taylor’s own Terrible Records.

Up the block, experimental Toronto punk band Fucked Up mastered their conceptual sophomore LP David Comes To Life (on Matador Records) at The Lodge. An epic 18-song rock opera, David Comes To Life was produced by NYC’s Shane Stoneback (Cults, Sleigh Bells, Vampire Weekend).

Engineer Hillary Johnson, Jean Morisson, Vernon Reid and producer Diego Paul Sanchez at Electric Lady.

Other records mastered at The Lodge and released this month include Hooray For Earth’s True Loves, Ford & Lopatin’s Channel Pressure, and both The Postelles’ and Cults’ debut albums.

Nearby, rock singer Jean Morisson, formerly of MorissonPoe, has been recording at Electric Lady (Studio C) with producer Diego Paul Sanchez and Hillary Johnson engineering – assisted by Pete Bishoff.

Vernon Reid has been through to play guitar on several tracks on the album, and Nuno Bettencourt will be adding guitars on this project as well.

This week, Universal Japan artist Chihiro Yamanaka recorded at EastSide Sound in the Lower East Side. The recording session, engineered by Marc Urselli, featured Yamanaka playing (piano) with legendary drummer Bernard Purdie and upright bass player Larry Grenadier.

Urselli has also been engineering sessions with John Zorn this week – recording soundtrack music for a play featuring Zorn on sax, Bill Laswell on bass and effects, Kevin Norton on vibes and percussion and Rob Burger on piano/organ/Rhodes.

Bassist Larry Grenadier, Universal Japan artist Chihiro Yamanaka and drummer Bernard Purdie at EastSide Sound.

Heading on over to Long Island City, Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler checked into Spin Recording Studios to track drums for the band’s upcoming release with Josh Wilbur producing and engineering.

Also at Spin, Andy Wallace mixed Natalie Findlay’s upcoming album for Polydor, guitarist-producer Alex Skolnick (Testament) worked on Adrienne Warren’s upcoming album with engineer Nik Chinboukas, and Jeff Kazee (Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Bon Jovi) produced Jersey rock-and-rollers Outside the Box for their upcoming release – also with Chinboukas engineering.

And south to Williamsburg, indie rock band Nada Surf recorded basic tracks for their upcoming LP at Headgear Recording with producer/engineer Chris Shaw. Also at Headgear… Virgin Forest tracked and mixed their second full-length album (for Partisan) with Alex Lipsen engineering; Lipsen produced some new music by Sam Marine, which John Agnello mixed; Kelli Scarr did some tracking with Scott F. Norton; and Male Bonding mixed their upcoming SubPop album with Agnello.

Chris Shaw and Nada Surf also recently booked Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs, Loser’s Lounge) at Carousel Recording in Greenpoint to play and record keyboard parts on new songs. McGinty added Hammond Organ, RMI Keyboard Computer, Mass-Rowe Vibrachime, ARP Strings, Modular Moog, and Fender Rhodes to their forthcoming record. McGinty also recently recorded Piano, Hammond, Combo Organ, and others for Lianne Smith’s debut record, being produced by Anton Fier.

And Norah Jones stopped by Bryce Goggin’s Trout Recording to lay down some vocals on an upcoming So Brown record, being co-produced by Goggin and Sonia Brown and engineered by Adam Sachs.

Back in Manhattan, Carol King has been at KMA Studios mixing her upcoming holiday album with producer Louise Goffin and engineer Nathaniel Kunkel.

Also at KMA recently… Pianist Eric Lewis recorded and mixed an album with Bryan Williams engineering, Mike Posner recorded songs for his upcoming Sony album –producing/engineering the sessions himself – hit songwriters Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony wrote/recorded for CJ Holland with engineers Ben Chang and Conrad Martin, Corey Gunz cut vocals for his upcoming Cash Money/Universal release with S. Dot engineering, and Yo Gotti recorded vocals for his album on Sony with Leo Goff engineering.

Engineer Leo Goff, Yo Gotti and KMA manager David "Roz" Rosner.

Yo Gotti’s new album – Live From The Kitchen – is scheduled for release on Sept 6th, and is expected to have guest appearances by Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne, Nicky Minaj, Ciara, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka and Young Jeezy.

John Lithgow was also at KMA doing voiceovers for a children’s book – Trumpet of The Swan – with Jayson Brown producing and Ian Kagey engineering for PS Classics.

Out on Long Island at  PIE Studios in Glen Cove…NYC rock band Lion in the Mane recorded a new EP, taking advantage of Pie’s Neve-equipped, George Augspurger-tuned control room and 35’ x 28’ x 18’ live room. NYC-based producer/engineer William Wittman oversaw the sessions.

Back in big town, Joe Jackson recently recorded his upcoming self-produced release at Avatar Studios with engineer Elliot Scheiner, assisted by Aki Nishimura. Other recent sessions at Avatar include… Esperanza Spalding recording her upcoming release co-produced with Q-Tip in Studio A with engineer Joe Ferla, assisted by Fernando Lodeiro; Honor Society recording on the SSL 9000J in Studio B with producer Adam Blackstone and engineer Jon Smeltz, assisted by Tim Marchiafava; and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra recording with producer Howard Cass and engineer David Merrill.

Also in Midtown, Foreigner checked in at Threshold Recording Studios NYC to cut acoustic versions of ten of their greatest hits — Mick Jones and Jeff Pilson produced, with Jeremy Sklarsky (Freelance Whales) engineering. And Dave Eggar and Heather Holley produced a track for singer/songwriter Jacob Baine Fields at Threshold recently, also with Sklarsky at the controls.

Santigold with producer Dave McCracken, engineer Andros Rodriguez and songwriter Ian Dench in Stratosphere Studio A.

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  • Blueyodels

    Sounds great! But how many studios have gone under in the last 5 years and what kind of rates are the folks left still getting? At what point is it over?

  • No doubt plenty of rooms have closed, but the story now is about the new model studios — some scaled back and some purpose built to suit modern budget/workflow/realities. Many are owner/operated, or run like a collective; some have built-in clientele. How many rooms have closed in the last 5 years? How many have opened? expanded? are still opening? Still tons of recording happening, and professional rooms and talent very much needed! Oh, and there still is that top-tier of platinum-selling artists who want the highest end high-end, and guess what? A lot of them are looking for that in NYC, booking time at places like Germano, Jungle City, Electric Lady, etc. Maybe not enough biz to support a dozen such studios, but at that level the market has contracted, so there aren’t a dozen such studios.

  • Anonymous

    No doubt plenty of rooms have closed, but the story now is about the new model studios — some scaled back and some purpose built to suit modern budget/workflow/realities. Many are owner/operated, or run like a collective; some have built-in clientele. How many rooms have closed in the last 5 years? How many have opened? expanded? are still opening? Still tons of recording happening, and professional rooms and talent very much needed! Oh, and there still is that top-tier of platinum-selling artists who want the highest end high-end, and guess what? A lot of them are looking for that in NYC, booking time at places like Germano, Jungle City, Electric Lady, etc. Maybe not enough biz to support a dozen such studios, but at that level the market has contracted, so there aren’t a dozen such studios.