Anatomy of a session in Bogota, Colombia

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

joel hamilton
zen recordist
Posts: 8876
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 12:10 pm
Location: NYC/Brooklyn
Contact:

Anatomy of a session in Bogota, Colombia

Post by joel hamilton » Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:50 am

I just got back in the states after doing a session in Bogota, Colombia.
I was asked to produce a record for a very well known band there called "Diva Gash."
They are an awesome, modern, kind of 80's funk/rock band that really is a lot of fun to listen to. Think of Talking heads meets pauls boutique era beasties, with a little daft punk thrown in at the edges sometimes.

Anyway, they are a great band that is hard to describe because they play music to have fun to, without making me cringe like that description normally would. They are HUGE in Colombia, and they are very talented people.
here is one of their video's:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1mMG98pMmo

So ANYWAY,
I was asked if I would produce their new record, and if I would come to Bogota to track it with them.
I said "hell yes" because I have never been to Bogota and I was totally excited to go.
Working out a place to do the recording proved to be interesting, as I wanted a console of some sort, rather than just an ITB situation. I knew there had to be a mixer of some kind somewhere in Bogota, and I told them i didnt care what it was, at all.
Long story short:
We load into the studio that had been chosen based on my criteria:
Mixer of some sort.
Protools HD rig.
Medium size room for drums.
Some microphones.

This was my tech rider for a place where I did not know how much i could ask for beyond that. Turns out I was right.

There was a decent size studio, with an HD rig, wired totally weird to a mackie 32x8 mixer. TOTALLY weird. Like the first 16 channels were normalled to the inputs of a PTHD 96i converter, and there were only 10 outputs starting at 23/24 as the main outs, with 8 more to the right of those... The 1-4 buss's were normalled to a focusright liquid pre, and the 5-8 buss's were straight to inputs in the other 96 i/O... confused? I certainly was.
Thankfully there were a couple of really helpful guys there and we rented and brought in a few key pieces that I asked for, compressor wise.
They even brought in an AMAZING SSL bus compressor clone that a local guy makes there in Bogota that he was selling for $500 US. needless to say , I put in the order for one. it was incredible, and It looks awesome, and is built really well, and it is ONLY 500 DOLLARS!!!! I used that for some room mics...
The drum room was pretty dead, but there was an amazing stone hallway with a marble staircase with a rounded cement wall around the staircase... Hmm... stone stairs? I have heard that before somewhere in drum recording history 101 I think...
So anyway, I put a Sage Bova ball out in the hall and it might just be one of the best ambient drum sounds I have ever recorded. Even at Avatar, or other well known drum rooms. The bova ball and the Marble stairs/stone foyer combination turned out to be stunning. I used what I had, which was a focusrite liquid pre into the SSL bus comp clone and it sounded KILLER. We were all excited over that one.
I had flown with my drum mics, which includes a Telefunken U47, a 602, a FET47, a bova ball, a pair of stapes Omni's because I couldnt fit my pair of M49's for OH, a pair of oktava 012's, and a little altec lavaleir thing from the late 60's that I forget the name of.
I dont think I used one microphone that the studio had. Oh, yeah, an SM7 that we borrowed from another studio. The studio community there was incredible to me, letting us borrow stuff. Totally cool. We wound up on that first setup day with assistants running all over bogota picking up items from different studios. The day felt long and the setup took a long time because we would hit roadblock after roadblock, wiring wise...
Basically, we built a studio out of 4 or 5 studios and people's personal collections.
I used so many things I would not normally choose to use here in the states, because it was what was avaiable, and that turned out to be a great lesson: If it turns on, and does its job, you can makegreat sounds with it. I know the concept gets beat to death here, but it is SOOOO true. I wound up with like 7 devices I had never really used before and they turned out to all work really well. The presonus digimax helped with the number of inputs and pre's, the RME 8 channel thingy running via optical to get me 8 more outputs. the SSL 4 channel mic pre, a pair of quad 8 strips that the kid saved up for like 5 years to buy (literally) and let me use them for free ( i bought him lunch for a week instead), the SSL clone thing that was AWESOME, the Mackie, the event monitors that we replaced the small yamaha things that were no fun with...
Pretty much a whole assortment of non standard, weird stuff that you wouldnt normally find in a "pro" studio here in the states.. except the one distressor we borrowed, i guess.
All of that stuff performed flawlessly.
The food is amazing in Colombia, the violence is amazing in Colombia, the extremes are amazing in Colombia. Not a city for the faint of heart. If the driving doesnt give you a heart attack, the ladies will...;)
We tracked 8 songs and I really put effort into 7 of them, production wise. I am really, really psyched about this record, and it was made ith a mackie and some other borrowed stuff and man it really was a nice reminder that this whole recording/production thing is about the people, the songs, and as a producer? Being the magnifyng glass for the hopes and drems of the people in the room, much like the way you can start a fire with a magnifying glass using sunlight....
just giving the energy in the room a focal point, and once you get it in focus, no mic pre, or lack of mic pre, can stop you.

mjau
genitals didn't survive the freeze
Posts: 3972
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:33 pm
Location: Orlando
Contact:

Post by mjau » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:25 am

Dude, awesome.

chris harris
speech impediment
Posts: 4270
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 5:31 pm
Location: Norman, OK
Contact:

Post by chris harris » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:57 am

Great story! Great experience! and, some great lessons to be learned here!

drumsound
zen recordist
Posts: 7045
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Bloomington IL
Contact:

Post by drumsound » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:45 am

Thanks for posting that Joel! That sounds like a great time. I'm sure the energy and vibe translated to the music and is helping your next production too!

dsw
tinnitus
Posts: 1247
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:23 pm
Location: Portland Oregon

Post by dsw » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:16 am

Got any pictures?
"Analog smells like thrift stores. Digital smells like tiny hands from far away." - O-it-hz

musicians are fuckers, but even worse are people who like musicians, they're total fuckers.

User avatar
Wagz
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 186
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:44 am
Location: Kalispell, MT
Contact:

Post by Wagz » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:30 pm

Man that is completely awesome.
The best sessions seem to be the ones where the ones where we have the most fun and adventure i guess.
The best is going to a little corner shop and getting an empanada. or wandering to the nearest panaria. I miss that city.
Snoring Hound Studio
Kalisepll, MT

joel hamilton
zen recordist
Posts: 8876
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 12:10 pm
Location: NYC/Brooklyn
Contact:

Post by joel hamilton » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:28 pm

dsw wrote:Got any pictures?
Bogota is an amazing place, man.
Here are the studio pics and a few other random ones at a show in the main park there....

http://gallery.me.com/joelhamilton#100061

User avatar
T-rex
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:44 am
Location: Louisville KY

Post by T-rex » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:50 pm

that is totally amazing.

That is truly a total hodgepodge of gear. Did I see an apogee mini me in one of those pictures? I heart mine. . .
[Asked whether his shades are prescription or just to look cool]
Guy: Well, I am the drummer.

ctmsound
george martin
Posts: 1259
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:43 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Post by ctmsound » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:39 pm

NIF?

joel hamilton
zen recordist
Posts: 8876
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 12:10 pm
Location: NYC/Brooklyn
Contact:

Post by joel hamilton » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:48 pm

ctmsound wrote:NIF?
Say "Neve" with a latin american accent and it comes out like "NIF" with the "I" being the "EE" sound. We would say it like "NEEF"...
One of the guys in the band was clowning the picture of my neve console on my website...
Yeah, there was a mini me that we used for some inputs via coax/spdif.
That gave us another mic pre as well, so I really could just use the mixer for monitoring. I did not use the pre's, because I didnt have to. I would have if I needed to, but I didnt.
Before we got that RME thingy in there, I set up a DA88 as 8 more channels of D/A via the ADAT optical/TDIF converter box and connected it with the HD rig. That gave me 18 outputs total. amazing. The guys at the studio actually needed the DA88 the next day, so I had to give up that rig and we got the RME in there and hooked it up via the ADAT/optical I/O and it worked like that for the rest of the session. The mini me was borrowed from a guy in a hip hop band from Caracas. People were chipping in all over town.. really amazing.

User avatar
@?,*???&?
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5804
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 4:36 pm
Location: Just left on the FM dial
Contact:

Re: Anatomy of a session in Bogota, Colombia

Post by @?,*???&? » Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:58 am

joel hamilton wrote:Thankfully there were a couple of really helpful guys there and we rented and brought in a few key pieces that I asked for, compressor wise.
They even brought in an AMAZING SSL bus compressor clone that a local guy makes there in Bogota that he was selling for $500 US. needless to say , I put in the order for one. it was incredible, and It looks awesome, and is built really well, and it is ONLY 500 DOLLARS!!!!
These SSL knock-offs are very common and work fine. Metering doesn't always behave like a real SSL, but...the sound is there!

That's VCAs sound more clear than what SSL uses.

Here's one company that offers their clone:

http://www.gyraf.dk/gy_pd/ssl/ssl.htm

There are others out there. We've got one at www.rockcitystudio.com now too and it works great.

dsw
tinnitus
Posts: 1247
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:23 pm
Location: Portland Oregon

Post by dsw » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:16 pm

Joel, thanks for sharing the pictures and your wonderful journey. Truly inspiring.
"Analog smells like thrift stores. Digital smells like tiny hands from far away." - O-it-hz

musicians are fuckers, but even worse are people who like musicians, they're total fuckers.

joel hamilton
zen recordist
Posts: 8876
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 12:10 pm
Location: NYC/Brooklyn
Contact:

Post by joel hamilton » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:38 pm

If anyone knows people there, I am in todays issue of "el tiempo" [the times] newspaper. It is a national paper in Bogota, just like The Times here.
It was an interview that I did because The paper found out I was there and did an interview with me about being there and producing and why I decided to go there to record instead of the band leaving and coming to the states , which is the "usual" according to them.

As far as the SSL clone goes, the one that I used down there was better made, build wise and quality overall, than any other I have experienced here including owning the original to this day.
Seriously, it is way better build quality than the SSL FX384 I have, and was quieter at full gain. The black anodized, engraved faceplate that also said "made by hand in Bogota, Colombia" [hecho y mano] is super high quality, rather than silkscreened numbers, the thing is engraved, with precision detented pots that actually match up to the scribed, engraved numbers. AMAZING for $500 US, man. Totally amazing.

stereopathetic_banjo
steve albini likes it
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2003 10:51 am
Location: Iowa
Contact:

Post by stereopathetic_banjo » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:39 pm

So uhhh, if that guy is willing to sell one to another tape-opper, let me know... :D

User avatar
@?,*???&?
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5804
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 4:36 pm
Location: Just left on the FM dial
Contact:

Post by @?,*???&? » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:18 pm

joel hamilton wrote:As far as the SSL clone goes, the one that I used down there was better made, build wise and quality overall, than any other I have experienced here including owning the original to this day.
Seriously, it is way better build quality than the SSL FX384 I have, and was quieter at full gain. The black anodized, engraved faceplate that also said "made by hand in Bogota, Colombia" [hecho y mano] is super high quality, rather than silkscreened numbers, the thing is engraved, with precision detented pots that actually match up to the scribed, engraved numbers. AMAZING for $500 US, man. Totally amazing.
Yes, those are the Thats VCAs that are recommended that make the entire unit quieter.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 64 guests