LA-based indie rock act Mating Ritual
is gearing up to release their debut LP, How You Gonna Stop It?,
as two six-track volumes this year. They recently released title track (below) and once we were swept away by the glimmering synths and surfy guitars, we had to pick their brains about the production aspect of it all.
Frontman Ryan Marshall Lawhon expanded on the space in which they record, "While recording in your living space allows the obvious advantages of accessibility and comfort, it provides several challenges that modern equipment still can't account for. I track every Mating Ritual record in my apartment, with the exception of live drums and (until two months ago) guitars."
Being based in Downtown Los Angeles affects things too, "[it's] by no means a quiet place, but recording a guitar amp at the level it needs to achieve that perfect tube breakup ain't gonna happen, or so my neighbors have informed me. I have tried everything to work around this, even having a friend build an isolation box for my cab (that doubles as an end table in between my couches), but no amount of emulator plug-ins or fancy tube DI's gave me that tried and true amp in a room tone."
Who knew the solution to a limiting environment would be a guitar pedal? "Sifting through the Reverb pages for a workable solution, I stumbled across a pedal I know I'd seen before but couldn't place it (Albert Hammond Jr's pedal board) for a remarkable price so I picked it up. For what I'm looking to do, it has been the missing link in my guitar chain and for the first time allowed the guitars in my studio to be the guitars that actually make it to your ears. Built like an absolute tank, my current favorite gear obsession is the 1997 Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde Overdrive/Distortion, a versatile but goofy looking pedal whose two channels can be played individually or combined. The distortion channel (which is somewhat of a ProCo Rat clone) sounds a little wonky on it's own, but when played in union with the overdrive channel (TS808 circuitry) it rules."
"That said, I haven't turned off the overdrive side even one time since plugging it in. It provides such a unique warmth while still allowing my Strat to cut through the mix, a dichotomy that I've severely struggled with in the world of DI guitars. Combined with an A Designs Red DI, UA 1176 and recorded into an Apollo Quad, this chain was the only source of guitar tracking on my new song How You Gonna Stop It?
and probably will continue to be until I get sick of it or move."
Looks like you can
record loud music at home, even with neighbors.