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Being Kevin Bowe: Inside the IPR Sessions – Communist Daughter

Award winning singer/songwriter/producer/guitarist and IPR Instructor Kevin Bowe (photo: Darin Back)

Award winning singer/songwriter/producer/guitarist and IPR Instructor Kevin Bowe
(photo: Darin Back)

This blog is part a series of entries from inside the production mind of Audio Production & Engineering Associate Program Chair Kevin Bowe. Kevin will detail the audio production sessions that he and his Production Portfolio class run during the course of the term. This term, Kevin and his class are working with artists like Hot Date, Alexander Young, Jonah Marais, Batteryboy, Hot Date, Maudlin, Jake Ilika, and Communist Daughter.

10/28/2015,  Mastermix A

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, our AP292 class had one of the most popular indie/folk/rock bands in the midwest as our guests. I’ve worked with Communist Daughter for years and on this occasion they wanted to record a version of the Pogues Christmas classic “Fairy Tale In New York”.

Bandleader Johnny Solomon wanted a live and loose feel for this one and Mastermix is the perfect studio to achieve that – just because of the physical layout. Basement recording is great (I’m sitting in my basement studio right now) but setting up a full five-piece band can be tough.

 Using Mastermix’s large physical plant, we put Steve Yasgar and his drums right in the middle of the main room, with Al Weiers on guitar right next to him. Al’s amp was in Iso #2, while Adam Switlickon bass recorded DI. We put Johnny and Molly Solomon in Iso #1, both singing into SM7’s. That mic provides so much rejection it’s like high school all over again… (what?). Johnny was also playing a beautiful Guild acoustic guitar with a Neumann KM84 on it (we also got a DI signal off his pickup just for safety). Dylan Marchus played vintage synths right in the control room, we DI’d him with those 2 funky API DI’s – they have a lot more mojo than regular ones.

Dylan is an IPR grad and actually met this band years ago when he was a student in my AP292 class! He fell in love with their music the first time they ever came into record. He approached Johnny, asking to help them in any way he could: being a roadie, running sound, whatever. After a short while, he worked his way up to being a full band member on keys and guitar; he’s now toured the country with them several times!

After running a few takes, we got a good one – then various band members punched in and fixed small things. Lastly, we ran a couple of clean vocal takes and one clean acoustic guitar take. Johnny took the session home to add his own brand of basement magic to the tracks. We’ll get together soon to mix the results in my home studio.

If you’re interested, you can watch some cool video from the TPT show “MN Original” showing me in the studio with Communist Daughter on a previous AP292 session.


 -Kevin Bowe

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