Saturday, June 12, 2010

ARRANT KNAVES "Recording Techniques"


aRRaNT KNaVeS has emerged from the studio again recently, paler than ever... we sat down with the guitarist while he was changing tubes, something to do with heat, filaments, and being a bit biased...
q.: What's the process like in the studio for the band?
a.: "Compression. Sticking some charcoal in a microwave and running it for a really long time... It's grueling, we don't eat a lot, compression takes over... ungodly amounts - it's really survival of the fittest. Bias and heat run the amplifiers, as well as the usual liquid proteins, it all comes down to plasma ultimately. Then we decide whether to run it analog or digital; either it goes through Solid State Logic or Neve. We all LOVE analog AND digital, but not all who wander are lost. For example, Michael has his preference of microphones, usually old RCA or Telefunken; Mongo is easy that way: Sennheiser on the old Ampeg cabs run through a choice vintage Neve channel he picked up at the Jagermeister booth at a NAMM convention back in the 20th century, but more often he's cool with a Crown PZM run into a Manley Vox Box or Massive Passive. My guitar cabinet is usually just mic'd up using the sm57 hanging down over the side or back of the speaker cab. All the effects on my guitar are live from my pedalboard. I have no idea how the thing actually works. We have a really good engineer. Michael has most of the mics though, probably 15-20 mics go Over, Under, Sideways, Down. Overall, the drums have to be fully actualized, they deserve the best, we ALL have total admiration for the snare in general, and the kick, and the floor toms, you know? Jung wrote 'Man and his Cymbals' for a reason. Don't get me started. Then there's the tape transfers from 30ips/2" to the 24bit/192k a/d converters... that's when it gets really complicated."
q.: So, do you use a lot of microphone pre-amps?!
a.: "Absolutely. There are usually about 20 - 30 high tech vintage microphones up and running through vintage british and german mic pre-amps, some American stuff too. It takes a really long time to get all that set up, days... it's hard to get back to the creative process sometimes. We manage though, find a movie or something... we've ALL learned over the years to avoid bad dates. Gonna eat that?"
q.: My burger? Yeah!"
a.: "You mind? [takes burger] That IS a tasty burger!"
q.: How much time do you spend on a mix?
a.: "Months, weeks... We run everything through the 24/192 digi stuff after it's been through the analog Neve console, tracked out separately, each track through the Neve console. But, since we track live and improvise it's always a matter of pleasing the engineer. We'd be happy with a rough mix, you know?! It takes a really long time. And then clean up. Like a year in the studio, with bathroom breaks, ala 'Courtesy Flush'."
q.: Is that red paint?
a.: "May I have some of your tasty beverage? Yeah, thanks for reminding me. Picnic!? Oh, yeah, that freaken Lago picnic, my ass 'picnic', nobody said anything about guns and... horseshit! Stacy Bridges... them Carlin boys. . . picnic! Hey, see how bright that one is? a Mullard 'New Old Stock' XF1, priceless! Right next to a XF2 and a pair of XF3's on the outside there? Yep. Anyway, that aggression will not stand man, Lago was a wash, goofy little bastards... Marshall Duncan my ass. These aren't matched but that's ok. It chorus like. By the way, how tall are you?"
q.: Red paint... Is there anything under it?
a.: "I'm biasing these a little on the hot side. Under what?"
q.: Thanks very much.
a.: "Under what?!"

- from

Friday, March 12, 2010


aRRaNT KNaVeS has been playing together since they was kids as well as
grown-ups performing half-assed autopsies on sharks
stretching the orifice wide open to see what's in there
also setting the teeth, stiffening the sinews:


part rocket science,
part irrigation crafts,
and part string theory.

All lights are green,
flaps up: