Which End? Lit End!

Lit End (L-R) Me, Daniel Billingham: Bass Guitar/Vocals, Matthias Gallagher: Lead Guitar, Jeremy Conley: Drums, Tracy Sayler: Guitar/Vocals

Lit End (L-R) Me, Daniel Billingham: Bass Guitar/Vocals, Matthias Gallagher: Lead Guitar, Jeremy Conley: Drums, Tracy Sayler: Guitar/Vocals

Lit End is a Progressive Alternative/Hard Rock rock band working from the Olympia area led by Tracy Sayler.  Tacy keeps the boyz plugged into the social network scene and busy playing shows all over the Puget Sound area.

Matt's Rig from 'Lit End' Session...with Cascade Microphones VinJet ribbon mic customized with Lundahl transformer...smooth

Matt’s Rig from ‘Lit End’ Session…with Cascade Microphones VinJet ribbon mic customized with Lundahl transformer…smooth

Jeremy's Drum kit setup from 'Lit End' Session.  AT4050 room mic, and DIY subkick, the pillows under the toms are to absorb extra tom ring

Jeremy’s Drum kit setup from ‘Lit End’ Session. AT4050 room mic, and DIY subkick, the pillows under the toms are to absorb extra tom ring

I had the guys come in on a Saturday night and after two hours we were all set up with 14 microphones (drums, bass, two guitars and a scratch vocal track) and were able to cut a couple takes to make sure everything was dialed in to hit the ground running the next day.  I could tell right away that all the shows and rehearsals these guys put in was going to pay off as their songs sounded tight! But after listening back later that night when the guys had left I realized that my first guesses on microphone selections were just not quite right, so I made some changes early Sunday morning before the session began.  The cymbals needed to cut through more so I went from my Fathead II Ribbon mics for overheads to my beloved Groove Tube SC5 microphones.  This brought a bit more brightness and crispness in to the recording and helped cover the 9 cymbals plus hi-hats that Jeremy plays.  Jeremy is not a cymbal basher and his even playing and solid performance made everything ‘just work.’  This freed up a Fathead II ribbon microphone to use on Tracy’s guitar rig, a similar mic to what I was using on lead guitar player Matt’s amp which was the VINJet.

Tracy's guitar amp from the 'Lit End' session... Cascade Ribbon microphone.  The blue tape was from locating the sweet spot for the SM57 that was on the amp prior to the change

Tracy’s guitar amp from the ‘Lit End’ session… Cascade Ribbon microphone. The blue tape was from locating the sweet spot for the SM57 that was on the amp prior to the change

I love to use the ribbons on rock guitars as it removes much of the annoying “sizzle” that you can often get from the Shure SM57 mic and can cause a mix to be fatiguing.  They also take EQ beautifully.  The other thing that was cool about this session regarding guitars was that both Tracy and Matt use a similar Fender guitar amp, and although their pedals, guitars and playing parts were different, this gave me a chance to really glue the sound together by having an cohesive tone between the two.  Matt’s tone is meaty and chunky while Tracy’s tone is clear and cuts well with great definition.  Both sounds serve the songs well.

Daniel's bass rig from the 'Lit End' Session...all that power and we found that his pre-amp into my Universal Audio 710-D pre-amp compressor was all we needed to get a super tone

Daniel’s bass rig from the ‘Lit End’ Session…all that power and we found that his pre-amp into my Universal Audio 710-D pre-amp compressor was all we needed to get a super tone

The low end of the show was handled by Daniel’s massive bass rig (0ver 6′ tall.)  Daniel runs a Behringer pre-amp processor for bass that gives him a lot of tone options.  I found the direct balanced signal from this was a beautiful full sound when run into my UA710D pre-amp and compressor, so we didn’t end up using that ‘stack-o-speakers’ after all, didn’t need to.

Lit End was a blast to have around, really nice guys and very accommodating.  The guys were gracious enough to pop a cover of ‘Them Bones’ from Alice in Chains (my all time favorite group) while we were all set up that I will be mixing soon just for fun.  The session lasted about 8 hrs or so on Sunday and the next day I had exported all the tracks so Daniel could work on mixes.  I can’t wait to hear how they turn out.  These guys are very busy in the music scene playing lots of local shows with other great bands like Hot Hoodoo and certainly would be worth your time to go see them play!

-Jason Suko