This is all still coming together and I have some avails left in there and am working to connect the dots -- please contact me asap if you'd like me to come to you to play, teach, or both! email@example.com
In 2012, the avant-garde collective Anti-Social Music released it’s Sleeps Around record, which includes the heavy-drone work I played on called Music for ASM composed by the experimental hip-hop group Dälek
(hear the work here)
This record is released on vinyl and is contained in an amazing record sleeve that is a work of art on it’s own. (it turns into a cube!) The artist who designed it called “Scrapworm” was just awarded an official patent for it’s design!! Awesome! (www.scrapworm.info)
I finally got a chance to hear the CD by the Jack Grace Band that I played on! It’s a fun, whiskey-soaked romp reminiscent of Johnny Cash, Elvis and Dire Straits. I play on several of the tracks: Bothered to Think, and Poor Boy - which includes a cute tuba solo! I also add some pads to other songs as well. This CD also includes a cameo by Popa Chubby and horn parts by Emmy-winning J. Walter Hawkes.
The initial "hit" song off of the upcoming Dillinger Escape Plan album, called "When I Lost My Bet" (DEP is a popular math rock / metal / grindcore band) got over 100K views in just over 2 days. The song features a literal choir of tuba tracks I recorded as the "sub bass" power chord sound as well as many effected tuba sounds and other brass parts mixed in throughout.
Those brave enough to hear/watch the track (it's intense and the video is GORY) will hear a bass swell at 2:22, a moment people are commenting about -- that's the tuba! Rumor has it that the band is also using TubaJoe samples in their sold-out live shows!
Gato Loco released official video to the song "Splinter"
Filmed on location in an abandoned bank in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, this video, edited by Stefan Zeniuk includes audio recorded in Brooklyn and Paris, mixed by Joe Peretore and Clifton Hyde. Music composed by Stefan Zeniuk, arranged by Stefan Zeniuk, Clifton Hyde and Joe Exley.
Joe contributed tuba as well as valve trombone layers, textures, and brass orchestrations to several songs on the new Dillinger Escape Plan album called One of Us is the Killer. This anticipated release from the famous mathcore/metal/punk band is to be released on 5/14/2013 on Sumerian Records.
(tracking with Ben Weinman in New Jersey)
A few weeks ago, NEW BEARD had our most recent video debuted by MTV (and then repeated by Liquid Television)
The video for our song "Solamente Cloud" off of New Beard City, was animated by Moscow-based artist Deems and features 1001 completely unique faces which sing the song.
New Beard is also featured in the Jan/Feb edition of Relix magazine.
Here it is! Video by Joel Barhamand
This amazing painting (featuring the main boss from the video game DOOM (holding my exact tuba) was done by the incredible Dima Drjuchin to commemorate NEW BEARD's leading track off of the upcoming epic LP release New Beard City which drops this summer. Yes, you guessed it, the song is about playing the game.
You can download New Beard's DOOM here:
The Red Hook Ramblers (a trad band in which I play tuba) is the soundtrack to this great film short that appeared in the Huffington Post today.
Sunday, December 18th, at the Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg Brooklyn, indie-rock-band-with-tuba NEW BEARD will be doing a show to celebrate the release of our EP Moment of Peace. On this bill I'll also play with homeboys Gato Loco de Bajo as it will be a big family affair! ...and on the show our good pals Lavalier will play (with full-sized mics tho... ha ha, that's a joke), as well as the band Toys and Tiny Instruments.
This is exciting for me as the pre-release-release of Moment of Peace has been getting some kickass response! This EP is also to accompany the release of our video to the song "Given" which debuted a few weeks ago on Stereogum.
This is going to be an exciting night -- please join us!!!
Here's the video from New Beard's song "Given", produced by Gustav Ejstes of Dungen. (I'm thrilled about the tuba sound... which is the bass sound, but still nice and tuba-y!)
The link to it on Stereogum.com
*note, Stereogum's article mentions that the band will be playing on Dec 2, I will not be on that show due to a family commitment. James Schoen of the band Edensong will be filling in on bass, as will Ben Wigler. I WILL however, be back in the saddle as New Beard's bottom end for our EP release show on December 18 at the Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The fall is always a marathon, and I now finally have a couple of days to catch my breath. This fall has been a time of constant motion... Have tuba will travel!
Starting in September, New York's notorious Ja Ja Jas kicked off our Oktoberfest tear with shows in New York at our home base of Zum Schneider. It was madness as always; a line down the street to get in (and we heard that someone actually slept in their car to get a good space in line!)
Right after rehearsing in NYC, the Ja Ja Jas immediately hit the road for the south, first down to North Carolina, then up through Virginia, back to NYC for a few shows, then back down to Virginia again.
(here I am with Herbie Abernathy of Valient Thorr -- was at our show!)
Big festival crowds and new friends and great food and... beer. Those shows are a lot of work, but are worth it for the vibe and the crowd!
I took a break from the Ja Ja Jas' constant string of Blaßmusik rocking, to head overseas again with the mighty Gato Loco for our third European trip in just over a year. We brought our "Psycho-Mambo" brand of jazz-rock to headline the Salzburg "Jazz and The City" festival in gorgeous Salzburg, Austria. (original home of W.A. Mozart, who I share a birthday with)
Gato Loco all converged in Munich, from what seemed to be a million different flights. We finally all made it in and got a great afternoon of rehearsal in a gorgeous art loft transformed out of an old post office in Munich's West End.
Here I'll mention that this was the maiden air flight for the famed Accord tuba case. This is the hi-tech carbon flight case which weights only slightly more than a soft gigbag. It worked great - I had to take 2 different airlines to get to Munich and they obviously put the case to the test (scratched the crap out of the outside of it, and beat the bumpers) but the ultralight case held it's own - no tuba damage! It came right out of baggage claim, right up the conveyor with the normal-sized suitcases, and I was able put the horn right on my back and walk right out of the airport and hop on a train. Tuba players will understand what a HUGE deal this is!
We visited this retro place called a CD store and look what we found displayed prominently!
and of course, we hit some bier halls!
The next morning, we got up early and hurriedly headed up the Alps toward Salzburg.
Once in this very pretty town, we got to the hotel and the band quickly befriended the dirndl-laden hotel staff and everyone got a quick nap to chill in our nice digs before soundcheck.
The venue was great - a large ballroom type of venue. The band and house staff got quickly to work putting together our sizable setup of two separate drum setups, two separate bass setups, guitar plus seven different horns.
During our soundcheck, a representative came to our venue in Salzburg from the Accord Case company in Croatia to modify my case for me! (Rockstar treatment! yeah!!) He set me up well!
Between soundcheck we had the pleasure of heading up the mountain to one of the most notorious restaurants in Salzburg which overlooks the entire town. Amazing! There we dined on Deer and got a chance to catch up with our festival-mates Bobby Previte and Steve Swallow, who had just finished their set. We didn't linger long tho... Gato Loco was on the clock and had a job to do!
We started our usual off-stage entrance and quickly surprised the crowd.
The band threw down for the entire extended-length set. The kind Austrian crowd ate it up, got out of their seats and danced the night away. It was a great show.
After the show, per Gato Loco tradition, we joined some of the locals for some reveling on the town.
Upon my return to the Big Apple, there was no time to rest! First, immediately, the De Bajo portion of Gato Loco played at our favorite home base of Barbes in Brooklyn, and New Beard was in rehearsal. I then headed with the Red Hook Ramblers for a quick jaunt to Boston, then rushing back for a show at Lincoln Center in NYC. Right from LC I ran to a CMJ spot with New Beard at Union Hall in Brooklyn. The next morning it was back to the studio with NB and then break and run to play an orchestral gig at Carnegie Hall, all of this within about 3 days time. Whew!
Fortunately this week I have a few days to recover and then in a week it's back to the studio with New Beard, Halloween with Gato Loco de Bajo, then back to Germany for a few more shows with the full Gato Loco.
Lots of things to come... some great media from both New Beard and Gato Loco to be released soon and more shows shows shows with all sorts of bands. Tuba Life is never boring in NYC!
Simple, Post-Summer update:
This time of year is always a point of change and rejuvenation. Leaning into Oktoberfest is always symbolic - it's more than a bier-soaked gropefest powered by Oom and Pah, It's a transition out of the slower moving, fragmented summer into the work-frenzy that Autumn always is for me.
Summer was good, but I am glad the fall is here. As usual, I been working with quite a few bands and ensembles, but here's a few summer highlights from a few of the groups I am more vested in:
Big growth for the indie rock band of New Beard... from the big show we all put on at Littlefield, to the recent pre-hurricane show at Union Hall (which kicked ass!), and Zebulon and others between, that band just keeps getting better (and soon will hopefully release the awesome CD that we spent a year recording...!) The songs and dudes are just great.
I spent a lot of time in the trad trenches with the Red Hook Ramblers... we played all over place, and did several records. Highlights included our residency at Galapagos' Floating Kabarette, and now to add the Way Station. We made a live EP of original tunes recorded direct on to wax cylinder on an original Edison cylinder phonograph from 1908. The Ramblers will also appear in an upcoming episode of TLC's hit TV show "Four Weddings" to air in January.
Gato Loco has been working hard, much of it behind the scenes. We've kept the fire burning around town, but more importantly we've been working on two trips to Europe: Austria in October, then a larger trip in November which includes, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland. We have a number of trips already in motion for 2012. Stay tuned for upcoming media coming from this group!
Stay tuned for updates from NYC's legendary Mösl Franzi and the Ja Ja Jas. This coming Saturday kicks off our rockstar whirlwind that is Oktoberfest. Wish me luck!
Other CDs are coming out or recently came out with me on them: Recordings by Jack Grace, Kiku Collins, Voltaire, and Sabrina Chap' in addition to bands listed above. I go in this week to record another... I don't yet know who it is for!
I just finished up playing simultaneously on 3 different records, and I sit down to plan another tomorrow morning, so recording is on my mind! It’s something I do pretty regularly and I have really grown to enjoy it.
Time is always crucial in a recording situation. Following are some things I suggest to make a session (with me!) go smoothly:
1.) Be prepared. Make sure that the engineer has everything setup, at least approximately, BEFORE the musicians arrive. Naturally, there will be some adjustment after they arrive, but have things approximated and *line tested* beforehand. ...this includes a headphone setup. Have a plan in mind beforehand on how you’d like to do things as far as setup, isolation, and tracking order.
2.) Be prepared. Make charts! I know you know your tune, but others trying to learn your tune by rote can be time-consuming and leaves room for mistakes while tracking. Sometimes, only a head chart, or even a basic chord chart with the form of the song is needed...nothing fancy. It's just a matter of having something to visually refer to when needed. This can be the difference of two takes or ten, or getting one tune done in a 3 hour block, or rocking out 4 tunes. Don't worry, having a chart does *not* take any of the vibe or feeling out of it. In this situation, it's merely a tool to help make things go smoothly!
3.) Consult your tuba player on mic selection. MOST engineers (even high-end, very accomplished ones) have little idea on how to make a tuba sound good...or worse, how a tuba should and can actually sound. In the past, I have had wonderful performances completely destroyed by bad recording practices. Nothing is more frustrating and tragic! I now will usually send the setup I prefer ahead of time to help in this process... I also do my best to utilize standard equipment with which most engineers will be comfortable. The mic setup will also affect how I approach the tone. Tuba tone is actually quite delicate and must be dealt with in a fairly specific way. Fortunately, these days with software recording, there are many options available and there is never a reason for a tuba to sound bad, gross, thin or rough!
Above all, realize the ultimate goal is to allow your musicians to communicate your music through their own horns and voices. Encourage and allow them to
communicate. It's easy to get caught up in the process and get bogged down. Put your music in the listener's ears and try to remember why and how they might enjoy your music.
It's really fun to record with the tuba as it has this tendency to really open people's minds. It has this incredibly versatile, yet somewhat unknown sound. It's not abnormal for me to go into a session to play on one song, then after the artist hears the tuba, they end up wanting it on many songs.
One last piece of advice I can give to artists using a tuba on their recordings is to take mixing and mastering seriously (especially the EQ side of it). Mastering is often overlooked in many DIY projects. (it's more than just sending the sound through a compressor plugin) Adequate approach to these steps are crucial in dealing with the unique frequency characteristics of the tuba. I PROMISE it's worth the effort.
The tuba has a beautiful sound, use it wisely, and use it often!! The tuba CAN rock, the tuba CAN swing, the tuba CAN elevate any ensemble to a new level. Do it!
PS - see my recording history here!
On June 21, I joined about 20-ish other brass players at the shores of the Central Park lake to create / perform an ambient work set up just for NYC’s Make Music New York. This annual event presents large-scale (and I mean really large, to the point of being environmental) works throughout the city.
This specific mass-brass event was made up of members of and hosted by the new-music-brass collective named TILT which I occasionally play with, peppered with a nice handful of other players.
The day prior we met for a rehearsal at the amazing Seventh Regiment Armory on the Upper East Side. This great old building and sufficed well as we worked out and experimented with our plan for the outdoor concert the next day.
Set up by three Australian “sound artists”, the work was designed to be best heard from rowboats (which are cheap to rent from the city) out in the lake. We were to perform two sequential performances, each about 45 minutes in duration. It was ridiculously humid out, and we were sweating like mad, as well as swatting a mosquito or two or three or four. We pressed on positively.
We were segregated into many trios and were peppered surrounding the lakeshore. We all did our best to reflect our assigned tones off the water and to hurl them out into the midst as best as possible. My trio was the only low/conical trio, two euphoniums and myself on tuba.
The event got a pile of press including coverage by the NYTimes and NPR. Here is one good clip someone posted from a boat itself, I’m quite audible, sort of resembling a bullfrog, but not intentionally.
Logistically, the work was signaled to start via a sent text message to the leader of each trio, which came from the lead sound artist out in the lake. Thank goodness AT&T was behaving that afternoon. Each trio would then wait for a previous trio to start the long sequential pattern and start at an approximate self-counted time length after. The work had three consecutive “movements” per se, each following a specifically dictated row of tones, dynamics, and intent.
One of my trio was a composer / euphoniumist from Boston, Jason Belcher. He was interviewed about the experience here, it captures the event well.
(this page also includes a link to the great work for TILT Brass by Jason’s teacher, Anthony Coleman, which consequently ends with yours truly belting out a screaming *but* melancholy, unanswered tuba solo, recorded on the recent TILT release, which was a joy to record)
This particular event was surprisingly nice and extremely well received. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
It’s takes a certain type of energy to create an actual cohesive “vibe” out of tones out across a lake. I think we succeeded.
It's always an exciting day when a new CD that I'm on comes out! I absolutely adore the art of recording.
Recently, I got the pleasure to jam alongside my pal, trumpet monster Al Chez on the leading track of the rock-jazz trumpeter Kiku Collins' new record "Red Light." Kiku, boneman David Gibson, Chez and myself all get to bring it home on the jam-session styled tune called "Blue Patrol".
ps - all you trumpeters can pick up a copy in person, as she'll be at ITG this week
While unearthing some archived media, I just discovered a documentary about a studio orchestra recording session I did about a year and a half ago. The video documents the recording of a beautiful and moving work by Kenny Werner entitled "No Beginning, No End". He wrote the piece about the untimely death of his daughter.
At about 2:06 in the video it shows me closely as we work out some of the orchestration and chord voicing.
One of the recently released CD's I am on is is a recording of new works for brass ensemble. The "Tilt" Creative Brass Band is actually a standard-sized full brass ensemble made up of more than just great players, every member is a creative artist all in their own. I was honored to be a part of this group and to play this amalgomation of works by NYC "Downtown" composers. It was an inspirational group of folks to play amongst!
The group is led by trombonist Chris McIntyre and the CD was prodced by the legendary Anthony Coleman. We recorded it at Oktaven Studios in Yonkers, NY.
Here's some tuba-centric excerpts:
The New Beard record was an outrageous process. We started right away, probably a month or two after the first show. We tracked the tuba and the drums directly to tape, right in the heart of indie country, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, USA, 11211.
It was an intense process, it took us a good chunk of a week. Fortunately the studio was very close to a beer hall (just because it's Williamsburg does not mean one has to drink lame PBR!!). We worked like crazy, and it sounded good! We went about it in the traditional *rock* way... doing the drum tracks first, then tracking the bass (in this case, tuba). The drums got the large studio and we tracked the tuba in the un-airconditioned upstairs of the small complex. It was a sweaty process, but that's ok, this is rock after all. We recorded the tuba with a bi-mic setup, which I frequently use in the studio.
Once that was done, they wanted to let the tracks sit for a bit..., but the madness had started! The record grew and grew and Grew and GREW!! This rock band now had an entire orchestra behind it with the arrangements becoming so lush! Tracks were added (all LIVE instruments!) in Brooklyn, Long Island, Yonkers, North Carolina, and later, Sweden! Dunn and Wigler had far outdone themselves! We had also added another member, the backhanded shredder Yazan Shouldertap to fill things out even more.
The sound of the band had grown immensely. Every week more tracks and players were added!! (including some by Gato Loco's Stefan Zeniuk)
This record had turned into a massive project with a massive sound and a honourably massive scope. It became obvious to us all that we needed a set of "outside ears" to unify it.
The Swede Gustav Ejstes and his band Dungen were huge inspirations of New Beard’s basic sound. So, why not just go to the source for this fresh perspective?! Ejstes enthusiastically accepted the band's proposal to mix the record, and not only creatively mixed it, he completely threw himself into the project and even appears on many of the tracks on a host of different instruments. Gustav gave it all a unified sound; a sound which was already organically inferred from the get-go. This full-circle really made it wonderful and only enhanced the heart that Wigler and Dunn, as well as Tony and myself and everyone else had put into it.
Now that the arrangements had metamorphosed to such a size, naturally, the application of the tuba parts had changed a bit. I retracked and retweaked many of the tuba parts right as the record went to mixing, this time with a slightly better bi-mic setup. We tracked it again in Brooklyn, but this time in Carroll Gardens. It was another sweaty process. The results were far better this time around, simply as my role in the band was more defined, my sound better understood, and the songs better ingested.
To add to this great synergy and new energy was the final musical step, the mastering by the legendary Greg Calbi (google it)
On top of the great songs and great vibe of the band, I’m THRILLED about how the tuba sounds! As of recent, on other records with other bands, I’ve had some tragic results with how the tuba tone was mistreated by bumbling engineers post-tracking...once it is officially out of my hands. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have the tuba sound so warm and clear, present but with no edge, even when within a large landscape of hoards of different instruments all rocking simultaneously.
It’ll be a little while before this record goes public. I simply cannot wait to play it for you.