|The Babies’ Gear: Tascam DP-008|
The Babies, who are a bit of a “super band” consisting of key members of both The Vivian Girls (Singer/Guitarist-Cassie Ramone) and Woods (Bassist-Kevin Morby), seem to have polished up their sound this time around with their 2012 sophomore release “Our House on the Hill”. Cassie and Kevin took some time to answer a few questions we had about their recording process. Here’s what they had to say:
How much of your recording is done at home versus in the studio?
Our latest record was recorded in a nice studio. Our first album was technically recorded at Kevin’s house, but it was a studio-like setup, recorded by Kevin’s bandmate in Woods, Jarvis Taveniere.
What are the pieces of equipment that you find particularly inspiring when recording at home?
Kevin and I both have Tascam DP-008s that we use when recording on our own.
What one piece of hardware/software would you most like to add to your recording setup (cost not an issue)? Why?
I’d like to have a reel-to-reel 8 track and an old tube condenser microphone.
Do you expect your next record to be self-produced, or would you like to work with a producer again?
Our next record will likely also be recorded and produced by Rob Barbato, who we worked with while making “Our House On The Hill.” We love working with him. He is extremely talented and easy to get along with.
Do you use rack effects or guitar pedals to forge your own sound? If you do, please list the ones you use the most and let us know why you love them.
I use an Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy and a Boss Super Overdrive while playing live, and also while recording sometimes. Kevin uses a booster pedal playing live and that’s it. We also both sing through Electro-Harmonix Holy Grails.
Do you have a particular recording style that you aim for? What techniques do you employ to recreate it?
We wanted our last record to have the energy of playing live, so we tracked almost all the instruments live for many of the songs.
Who determines the direction and style of your recordings?
It’s a group decision.
Is there a person outside the band that’s been important in perfecting your recorded or live sound?
Rob Barbato was incredible as a producer. He brought many ideas to the table that made our recording sound way better than it would have otherwise.
Would you say that your live show informs your recording process or that your recording process informs your live show? Both? Neither?
Both. Our live show informs our recording primarily, but there are some parts on our record that we hadn’t been playing live, and after we recorded them we started.
Is there a piece of equipment that you find particularly useful on stage?
I love my ’65 Fender Pro Reverb amp. It never lets me down. It’s hard to play out of other amps sometimes.
With bands doing more of everything themselves these days (recording, performing, self-promoting, etc.) and the evermore multimedia nature of the world, how much effort do you put into the visual component of your band – fashion, styling, photography, graphic/web design, etc.? Do you do these things yourself or is there someone that the band works with?
I’m a visual artist as well, so the visual component is very important to me, especially in terms of album artwork and music videos. It’s important for a band to have a defined aesthetic, whatever that means to the band themselves.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspects of the recording process? On the flipside, what aspects are the most rewarding?
There can be stressful moments when someone is trying to nail a part and it takes a while. However, it’s extremely rewarding when you listen back to the song and it sounds better than it did in your head.