Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I had this great idea (at least as far as my ideas go, this one seemed better than usual), that I wanted to both fulfill my creative wanderlust and at the same time help musicians trying to get their ideas on tape with a modest bankroll all while not squashing the creative environs necessary for these ideas to flow. Through a parting of ways of sorts, a mutual space came available that allowed me and some friends to share a space that was also where they lived. It worked out nicely. The problem was I wasn't willing to spend very much money to convert this living space into a ful blown recording space. It wasn't that this space was not suited for recording, because it worked quite nicely for our needs, but there were always obstacles that couldn't be overcome without redesigning the whole building, which clearly wasn't gonna keep anyones overhead down. That being said, we forged ahead as is. The vibe was nice, the place was functional, just limited.
So idea 2 comes along. This idea was start looking for a place that already exhibits qualities in a spacethat lend itself to recording. What a novel idea, a place for recording. (Hey dumbass --- these are called recording studios!) Oh yeah, so I guess I was looking for a space to build a studio. A modest studio. One that I could live above and keep my office in. And one that sounded nice and had a nice vibe. And oh yeah, one that I could afford. So I started looking. LOOKING. Plan was see what's out there, what I can afford, where I could afford, etc. Get my ducks in a row, so next Spring, I could put all this dream stuff into reality. Well you know how that goes...
Looking turned into finding, finding into investigating, investigating into offering and with a lot of luck, a LOT LOT LOT of patience, some good friends, and as EL says everyone's calendars being aligned (how 'bout them calendars), we gots us a place:

Look at her in all her majesty! She needs some TLC for sure but I really think it will be a perfect fit for Yellow Hat. I hope to keep a blog of the rehab of this joint going so all 2 of you who actually look at this can see where we are. Hopefully with any luck, we will be rocking the new joint by January 1st. Stay tuned for more details!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lolla Day Three (Final Day!)

So, the last day of Lolla fell with a twinge of humidity and we once again found ourselves looking back over the experience, the highs, the lows, but wait! (insert record skip sound fx)... it's not even over yet!!!
We started the day right with a proper face melting from the Whigs who could have benefited from a proper sound guy (who didn't struggle with the concept and operation of gates). They rocked anyway and are definitely on my must catch again list! We also caught bits of Brazilian Girls, Chromeo, and get this, Perry Farrell and Slash doing a medley of cover tunes including "Superstition", "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", and Jane's Addiction favorite "Mountain Song". Pretty cool stuff.
After a quick bio break (30 minutes of standing in line!), we settled in on the north side of the park for Flogging Molly who drove us straight to hell on the sinner bus with a witty and enjoyable set that kicked off with the lead singer demanding, "How are ya doin', ya bastards?!?" Afterwards we saw Love and Rockets, who ,while not terrible, wasn't among my favorite moments. I'm not hatin', just saying. They summed up my feelings with one song that spelled it out, "time moves so slow..." Ain't that the truth. Why did I sit through this if it were so bad, only to have a long distance seat for the National (who ruled, by the way)? Why, to have a bitchin' view for the mind exploding rockfest that was NIN! Amazing sound, amazing visuals and brilliant theatrics made this one of my favs for sure, not to mention they played their collective asses off. Get yourself over to YouTube and check out the vids. Wow!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lolla Day Two

Day Two. Cooler. Happier. More ready to rock. Having the massive rockfest that was Radiohead behind us, and a decent night's sleep, Sarah and I head off for some coffee and quiet time and quickly find ourselves on Michigan Avenue and directly in the shop of an unnamed purveyor of such things. We order our beverages and find seats in the mostly quiet storefront. As I author the Lolla Day One blog here I find myself somewhat distracted by three males and one female--"band dudes" we will call them. Only distracted in the way that upon hearing a few choice words like beggin' strips or wanna go outside would make any dog's attention stir, not to say I am a dog or even dog-like. At any rate, some words were spoken and I only caught a few like, "the coolest little apartment in the Village", and "yeah, that band is way too much", and "what time do we hit the stage?". Special Note: I only saw one from the front, which was the female and I didn't really study her appearance other than to note she was indeed a female and that she was wearing a red and black striped shirt. As for the dudes, I didn't really catch their faces, only that they were all wearing fedoras. They drank their coffee (or whatever they had, I didn't notice) and vacated the premises. After they left, I got my wife's attention and said, "Did you see those guys? Obviously playing the fest, obviously today, and what douchebag New York hipster-band are these guys in anyway?" Why is this significant you ask? Which band were these cats with? All in good time, all in good time.

Back to the fest.

After coffee, we got into the fest and commenced the rocking directly. Do not pass go. Forget all about collecting $200 (Lolla tix?). Just go directly to Rock. Why, you ask? Three words. The Gutter Twins. Maybe, quite possibly, the best ass-kicking I got all weekend. Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan (not to mention the band) were stellar. Did I mention that this dark creation played at 2:30 in the afternoon? YEAH. Bad-ASS. The day continued on a good note with an amazing performance from the always fantastic Explosions in the Sky. Note here: My wife almost got into a fight after people kept coming up past us in the rudest of ways upsetting not only us but many other fans. Cooler heads prevailed and a riot was kept at bay.
Next we made our next stop at the Citi stage for the first half of a blistering set from Battles which was amazing. We decided to head on, walking across the park in hopes of catching the last half of Broken Social Scene's timeslot. As we approached that stage, the camera shot on the screen was of the singer sporting a fedora, quickly cutting to a girl singing in, you guessed it, a red and black shirt. Uh, um, yep, this was the band I uh was calling um a hipster NY... uh, yeah, I had coffee next to... Broken Social Scene. I feel like a huge dork. At least I didn't verbally say something stupid. Anyways, they ruled from what we saw and I am glad I caught the end of their set. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings strutted and grooved our souls next and we got equally rocked directly by a stunning set from Chicago's own (not to mention just a guy formerly from 'round here) Wilco. Yeah, I know. We didn't watch Rage. I'm over it. I saw enough last year at Coachella. Awesome day. All in all.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lolla Day One

Chicago. What a great town. Just in general, always a good time to be had in the windy city, you just have to find it. Not hard to spot the location where surely fun can be had this weekend. Inside the beautiful greenness of Grant Park, nestled on the banks of Lake Michigan, one can find a cornucopia of fun that calls itself Lollapalooza. My wife and I made the pilgrimage again this year, joined up here by Shae, Annie and another player to be named later.

It all began on Friday. Actually, nope. Let's rewind that. It all began on Thursday, for us at least.

Thursday. We took the train from the Lou up, which is always something to behold. Always an interesting mix of folks on the train and always something that makes for good stories (maybe next time). Once we made it to Chi-town, we checked into our deluxe accomodations and found some food and made our way to the first of shows to be seen, a secret-prepalooza show for Butch Walker (formerly of the Marvelous Three and Southgang), known on the bill as Chalky Jesus. This was a cool show for many reasons, one being the fact I have been trying to see Chalky for almost the last 5 years, but due to schedule conflicts and canceling shows due to sickness (his not mine) he has evaded my grasp. But more to the point, this show was for industry folks (who didn't seem to know much about him), and a handful of fans who caught his blog and bought tix. The venue held only 130 people so it was quite intimate, and he played solo on acoustic guitar, rhodes and assorted percussion. Great show. Worth the wait.

Friday, Lolla.
Yeah, lots of cool bands on the bill for Friday; Butch playing with his band the Let's Go Out Tonites, The Go! Team, Jeff Tweedy on the Kidapalooza stage, Gogol Bordello, The Kills, and so many more. But the reason most people were there was the amazing mysticism that is Radiohead. Yeah, they rocked. And so did their crew. Sounds like such an odd statement, but seriously. The lighting and sound were so good. At times I asked myself if they were even playing because it sounded so good. The tones were amazing and their performance was amazing. And the lights. Don't even get me started. Also amazing was the band we saw right before Radiohead, the Raconteurs. Brendan Benson, Jack White and the boys smoked the other side of the park with a blistering set of energetic rockers. This was the second time I caught them in the past month and they delivered an even more powerful mix of jams this go around. At one point White says to the multi-thousand numbered crowd, "I broke two strings, Patrick (the drummer) has broken two bass drum pedals, Brendan blew a tube in his amp, and Jack Lawrence (the bass player) is just blowin' my mind!" Yup, that is a good sum up.

Today should prove to be interesting, lots more good rock to be had. Check later for more not so useful descriptions from me!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Echo Bravo sounds sick!

Wednesday night the Bravo boys came through to finish mixes of their first effort with Yellow Hat and it was a rocking good time. You can check out one of the tunes on our MySpace and I believe all three are available on theirs. Now you won't confuse them with a Cannibal Corpse Tribute Band! Good stuff. I hope they come back and rock with us some more soon!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Long time, No see...


It seems that time flies when you're having fun, but it also seems that sometimes it flies when you are just doing what you do. We have been busy for the last month and I apologize in advance for the lack of info during that time. So, what's new?

First and foremost, projects.
Stella Mora. All tracks are cut editing has begun and mixes to follow. Very excited as this project just keeps sounding better and better. Way excited.

Echo Bravo. Did some rough mixes with Shae and happy how these turned out. The guys are stopping by on Wednesday to do some tweaking and hopefully walk out with smiles on their faces. Nice stuff for them to share with the masses. Stoked.

Jason and the Beast. EP done. Really nice touches put on by Shae on the drums and percussion really helped breathe some life into the wickedness of the Beast's bumping beats. Hoping to catch up with Jason next week to begin work on the rest of his tunes for his upcoming full-length effort. Awesome.

Syna So Pro
. I got to hang out and engineer the drums for Elshua (producer) on this project. Shae rocked the skins and we got some bitchin' tones. Really great songs. Excited to hear how this turns out.

So what else? I decided to entertain the notion I got a month or so ago to start looking for a new space to move my residence and studio to and really make it what I really see in my mind. I found a building and I am working on negotiations currently and hope to know if this is the "one" by the end of this week. Will keep you posted on this as it develops. It could prove to be wicked awesome. This process also includes getting the old place ready to put on the market which is quite a bit of work and has totally monopolized my time. Not a bad thing, but a busy thing as well as quite an inconvenience. I cannot say I was hoping that I would find a place I was so interested in this quickly, I was more hoping to see what was out there and get my "ducks in a row", so to speak. However, the energy and vibe that surrounds this building I am currently trying to acquire, is so strong that I have to see it through. So thanks to Shae and Elshua for staying flexible and amenable during this crazy time.

So as the sun may be setting on this chapter of the Yellow Hat story, another is already being scripted. I am totally excited (not to mention nervous) to be embarking on the next part of my journey. More soon!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All good things

Wednesday. Middle of the week. Hump-day. Today feels like that. Last night, Syrhea from Stella Mora successfully knocked out all of her scheduled vocal lines. Now this doesn't mean that she is completely done, but for now, we have wrapped up all of her stuff. Now, I must tell you, Syrhea has a symphonic big-bang swirling around inside of that cranium of her's. It is the most crazy cool creative combination culminating collectivelly creating caccophonic curvaceous characters clashing condesendingly...wait, where am I going with this? It's awesome. She has some of the strangest and crazy harmony ideas I have ever heard that, although I may not always agree with, I have to give her credit for being able to pull off. Good job girrrrl! Anyway, with all of her jams laid down, Laura and I will finish up rocking out her parts tomorrow. And then? The part you've all been waiting for! KEYBOARDS!!! Once Dave lays down a heaping helping of sonic shredding I think it will be time to regroup, re-listen, reflect and reassess. It is one of my favorite parts, with all the heavy lifting done and the songs coming together, we get to smear on the shmootz (thanks Roid-dog), and really have some fun. Exciting stuff!


Today Jason and the Beast was in the studio with DJ Uptown scratchin' up the scene. He popped by and laid down some live record spinning awesomeness to the Beast's upcoming release. Not to forget to mention that on Monday Shae was kind enough to rock out the drums for some live drum action to complement the tracks that Uptown produced. Really sounding cool! Pics and sneak peeks coming soon.

Friday, June 13, 2008

So much music...

A day that has a soundtrack which spans from Hip-Hop, to Traditional Folk, and finally ends with a proper face-melting helping of straight-forward Rock, in my humble opinion, can never be a bad day. Yesterday was that day.

My morning saw the first foray of the Jason and the Beast sessions at YH Studios. Jason has asked us to assemble his tracks and help him add vocals to five tunes which will make-up his debut EP. His "hip-hop sonnets" are different and refreshing to my eardrums and are proving to be fun to work on. We completed the better part of three songs, with some backup vocals from Emily splashed onto two of the three, which set us in a good spot for the day. We are looking to get together next week to complete the tracking portion of the vocals. We are also chatting about collaborating with him on his imminent full-length release.

After my session with Jason, I joined up with my wife to check out Robin and Linda Williams and their Fine Group at the Focal Point in Maplewood. These veterans of A Prairie Home Companion sang some beautiful folk and gospel tunes that would soothe any man's soul. You should definitely check these guys out!

Leaving the show at the intermission, we headed to see the Raconteurs sold-out show at the Pageant. Brendan Benson, Jack White and company rocked my ass off. Performing almost all of the songs from their latest release, they slashed open my face and let the rock flow in. If you havent heard this record, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Today finds me neck-deep in rock guitar recording with the boys from Echo Bravo. Adding some fat riffage to their three song and discussing vocals and such is on the menu today. Shae is at the controls and I am simply an observer today. I get to sit on my laptop and drink coffee. Such a hard life!

Also, we have also moved a bit on the Stella Mora record finishing up vocals on a couple more of the tunes. Syrhea laid down a symphony of backing vocals on Lucid Dream swirling that song into completion. Just a few more tunes to finish up vocally and we will be doing some seriously spaced out keyboards/theremin/noise with Dave. That is gonna be totally rad! I can't wait.

Lastly, check some of the new photos of what's happening with us at our joint!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rock Vocal Power

As the Dynamos say, "you can't stop, you can't stop the progress". Hopefully that mantra continues to follow all of my projects. Yesterday saw the near completion of Laura's vocals on the Stella record. We slashed through song after song stopping only after a lengthy discussion and realization that it might behoove us to wait for Syrhea's part on a particular track to go down first. All told, we finished every song but that one. Awesome. Syrhea is up tonight to most likely kick the crap out of the rest of her vocals and leave us in quite a nice spot, yeah!

There has also been some talk of cutting some new and "never before heard" some could say "exclusive" SM tunes to include on this new album. Pretty stoked about that. I believe these will be approached from a different direction and could prove to be the glue that binds the record together. I will let you know as I know more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Head games, that's all I get from you, Head games, and I can't take it anymore...

Ahhh, Foreigner. Where are you now?

Last night found me working with Syrhea from Stella Mora and Syna So Pro. We began her journey in the vocal realm on the Stella's forthcoming release. All in all, we had a fairly productive night. It is always a challenge working with someone on vocals, but one I am always excited about undertaking. One always has to figure out the nuances of the vocalists psyche and learn to communicate in the same "speak". I am pleased that I feel Syrhea and I got that out of the way last night as well as knocking out two of the songs cold and kicking one in the teeth rather good. Today will find me working with the other singer from SM, Laura, forging ahead with her parts. Should prove to be a good day and find us further down the path to completion. I cannot say enough how happy I am with how awesome this recording sounds.

Yesterday I also took a peek at some of the Echo Bravo rough mixes that Shae had whipped up and have to say he is kicking out the jams. Look forward to hear those barn burning guitar jams as they progress.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Update

So another week has come and gone, and this one was a very busy one indeed. I spent the first half of the week working in Manhattan. It has been a while since I had been to NYC and actually had a few minutes to roam the streets. I enjoyed this trip very much, even though most of the time found me loading into or out of a ballroom. You would think I would be used to that by now. We had some great food and some great weather. What more could you ask for? I even got to sample those cupcakes Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell are so wild for in this video. All I can say is they did have all the bomb frostings! The only part I didn't enjoy was somehow losing my phone between the airplane and home. Oh well, it's only technology!

Once I got home, it was time to get right back to work in the studio. Shae and I finished construction on most of the planned acoustic enhancing devices that now inhabit our studio and I also re-patched the patch bay adding in a new headphone distribution system (that should be appreciated by all the musicians who stop by!). We also added a new microphone to our arsenal, a Beyerdynamic M-160, which is extremely awesome. We got to try it out on the Echo Bravo sessions this weekend, utilising it as a room mic for the drums. It's transparent character added a nice feel to the sound of the kit. The sessions went extremely well, seeing the drum and bass tracks rocked out as well as most of the guitar overdubs. The band is coming back soon to finish up the guitars and add vocals. Look out for these scorchers very soon.

The upcoming week will also see Stella Mora working on vocals and the start of the Jason and the Beast EP. All in all, sounds like anothe busy week. Will post a progress report as things progress. Until then, "Good Niiiight ChicagOOOOOH!! You're brutal!!!"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Weekend Update

Just waking up in my Manhattan hotel room, I realized that I didn't catch up with my weeks progress. I don't know whether it was all the fresh air from our walk through Central Park, or my belly full of wine and pizza from Fiorello's (or some combination of the two!), but I totaly crashed out last night neglecting my poor little recording blog. So let me sum up what has happened this past week:

Stella Mora
  • The triumphant return of Greg's amp=kickass guitar tone and all of his parts (for now) done
  • Laura's guitar parts conquered
  • Bass overdubs over
  • Vocals underway
  • Shae Moseley+Drums+SSL console+Jason McEntire=wicked baddassness
Jason and the Beast:
  • Tracks loaded
  • Ideas abounds
  • Time scheduled
Heroes of the Kingdom:
  • Recording? Check.
  • Mastering? Check.
  • Kickass tunes? Check.
  • Baddass record? Check. (I like the double D!)
  • Happy band? Check.
Also on the horizon is Echo Bravo. These dudes are headed over this coming weekend to unleash some serious rock on us. Should prove to be filled with awesomeness.
We also completed some new baffles (gobos, bass traps, etc.) at the studio and continue to tune the rooms. We recently added a new headphone monitoring system which should help the artist to hear what they want a little bit easier.

Not to forget, the Jovian Chorus is having it's first ever show at the Bluebird in St. Louis this week on Thursday, June 5th. Please come out and show your love.

Gotta run, can't be late for work!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Amps of Fury 2: The Deafening Continues!

After the technical difficulty we saw with Greg's amp (and the still ongoing road to repair and re-entry, more on this in a sec.), Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday saw Stella Mora guitarist Laura Sisul succesfully knock out all of her axe duties. With her parts out of the way, it begged the question: What now? Well, I am still holding out hope that Greg can prevail over the corporate overlords at an unnamed national music purveyor, and actually get results in a somewhat timely fashion and we can return to the punishing of eardrums with his bitchin' Marshall JVM combo. Knowing how these things usually go, and in the interest of time, I have decided that the most logical next step would be to press forward into the dark reaches of VOCALS! Yup, vocals (no Dave, I haven't forgotten about you!). With most of the guitars finished up and bass and drums all wrapped, I believe it is time to smatter on some swirly, hallucinogenic harmonies of the vocal variety. It is starting to sound really nice with all the layers of echoey, fuzzified, verbed-out, tube-saturated goodness now in place, and I am very pleased with all our progress and the expediency of it all. I might even have a snippet of a rough mix of something hiding in the blog early next week, so keep those eyes peeled!

In other news, tomorrow brings the start of another project for us. Jason from Jason and the Beast is due to stop by and discuss his upcoming project. We are slated to add some vocals and do some mixing on a 5 song EP. This might be a preview of some of what may become his future full length debut later this year. Really looking forward to working with Jason on this!

Also in the works is a weekend session with Echo Bravo in early June. Should be a prove to be kickass weekend.

Lastly, I just got in my hot little hands this morning, a mastered copy of the new Heroes of the Kingdom record from my good friend Jack Petracek and let me tell you it is S-M-O-K-I-N! Kudos to Jackie for keeping the hot side hot, and the cool side cool! Hopefully the boys in HOTK will approve and it could be burning a hole in your cd player and melting your eardrums before you know it!

Here is a sneak peek to tide you over!

"This Mess" - Heroes of the Kingdom

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday shots

Here are a couple of shots of Stella Mora recording guitars tonight. To see more you can click here to go to our flickr page. Enjoy!

Amps of fury!

Greg, Laura and Syrhea from Stella Mora were over today as we started phase 3 (I suppose...?) of their upcoming release. Greg brought a bitchin' new Marshall JVM combo which completely rocked our worlds. We plowed through the better part of five tunes until someone forgot to pay the tube amp gods, and they decided it was time we better recognize. During a blistering take of Squaline, this fantastic new amp decided it was time to take one monstrous defecation all over our session and ceased producing sound. I guess we could always use it as a space heater? Fortunately we did get 4 songs all rocked out with Greg's guitars and plan on getting to work tomorrow with Laura and hopefully in the meantime someone will find some change in one of our couch cushions and restore the balance of rock. Also, Saturday saw Syrhea putting the wraps on the bass overdubs in bombastic fashion. All in all, I am very pleased with the progress made. Check out some photos of Greg rocking before the amp threw up. TTFN!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Somethin' somethin'

Hello again,
Just thought I would post some pics from the Stella Mora sessions @ our friend Jason McEntire's Sawhorse Recording Studio. We will be working hard over the next couple of weeks on the forthcoming Stella record back in YHStudios and might just give you a little taste of it here on the blog. Be on the lookout for that and more pics coming soon. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

This is a test...

This is the first of many blogs to come for the Yellow Hat Studios boys and girls. This blogspot will become the pseudo recording journal/diary/blogumentary, etc. for what we are doing at our place. Right now, we are currently doing some renovating and remodeling and hoping to share it with the world very soon! Some cats who have been/are/will be hanging around are Heroes of the Kingdom, Stella Mora, the Jovian Chorus, EL EVANS, Jason and the Beast, Echo Bravo and Jason House. Stop by our myspace and drop us a line or shoot us an email here.

In other news, I just finished a yummy skim latte, in what is I am sure soon to become my new favorite hangout, Stone Spiral Coffee, Books and Curios (myspace page to come soon!), which is located at 2500 Sutton Ave. (one block north of Manchester), in Maplewood, MO. You should get yourself down there and taste for yourself!

At any rate, I am out of coffee, and I think they are gonna make me leave, so until next time...