jacob detering is making records

Icon... The endless quest to make a record that I enjoy listening to ...

new england | i wish it was home.

The last 1o days have been jam packed full of great people, great music and amazing conversation. More than anything, I am so touched by the generosity and hospitality of all my friends out here - I am so, so grateful for the time and connection with all of you.

I landed in Manchester, New Hampshire hopped in Billy Petty's car and after a quick pit stop to grab dog food for Dora, trekked to Portland, Maine for a gig at a tiny, eclectic place called 'Blue'. It was here that I tasted one of the most amazing beers ever - Allagash Curieux; a tripel ale aged in used Jim Beam barrels. Ah - and prior to Amy's gig, we saw the red-headed woman from 'Sex in the City' at comic shop in Portland.

The next morning, Amy and I headed out early for a gig a The Berkshire Muse Fest in Pittsfield,MA. Despite being super hot and sweaty (amplified by carrying all of Amy's stuff around) it was a day full of great music. Just prior to Amy playing her set, I had a chance to talk with Sarah Bettens in person - which after shooting demo reels around for months and months was a real treat. It's always nice to finally meet someone in person and make that connection. All in all, it was just great to see Amy share a stage with the likes of Sarah Bettens, Melissa Ferrick and Susan Vega.

After grabbing breakfast with friend, I drove North of Portland to Lewiston, Maine to hang with producer, engineer and songwriter Taylor Mesple. After showing me around his studio in downtown Lewiston, Taylor pit stopped at a teeny tiny place a grabbed a handful of Maine lobsters for dinner. The rest of my evening was spent with Taylor and his amazing family eating lobster while trying to trick his kids in to eating ANY part of their dinner. (I never realized how much time is spent getting kids to simply, eat!).

Tuesday Amy and used as a day to rifle though her catalog of tunes. We begin working on a new record for Amy in the fall so having the chance to get in on the songs at the ground floor has been great. I have to say, her new record is going to be stunning; I can't wait to get started.

Wednesday Amy and I spent the day in a few of my favorite places in New England - Rockport, MA and Gloucester, MA. We ate at the Red Skiff - walked beaches and more or less talked about big and little things for the better part of the day. The only thing that would have made that day better would have been to have Billy around - but he was busy working.

Thursday I took a trip thru Cape Cod and jumped a ferry to Martha's Vineyard to spend a day with my friend George. Beyond great conversation around the music bizz and business in general, George drove from point to point of the island culminating with a stop at the cutest grocery store I think I've ever seen. We grabbed a few steaks, tomatoes, corn and bread - and then drove to a nearby beach and strolled a bit. The highlight of the day had to have been listening to George's daughter Annabelle outline in detail all of the careers she was going to have when she got older. Sure, we all talk about what we want to do when we grow up - but this amazing kid had well plotted business plans at the age of 5. Awesome.

Friday I drove back from the Vineyard, swung thru Derry, New Hamspshire grabbed Amy and Billy and headed back to Portland, Maine for another Amy-gig. The gig was at this great little place called North Star Music Cafe. Amy shared the stage with two other super talented songwriters - Rebecca Katz and Putnam Smith. It was a songwriter in the round type show - a format that I really love. All in all - a great night of music.

Saturday inolved a trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to catch up with an old, dear friend - and today, Sunday - I spent the bulk of the day hanging out with guitarist Bill Derby in Manchester, New Hampshire. All I can say about that is that I might have to sneak back to Bill's house, steal most of his guitars and his cat - a Maine Coon kitten.

Altough fairly sure I've thanked all of you personally for your generosity and time, I figured I'd do so here, too. It was so great to spend what time I had with all of you and I look forward to seeing you all sooner than later.





mastering :: loudness wars.

I've been trudging through old blogs on myspace lately and re-posting those that I feel are still relevant or interesting. The one I'm re-introducing today was written after a visit with mastering engineer M. Brad Sarno @ Blue Jade Audio Mastering.

I don't want to get into too much detail on this topic. Suffice to say, if you know what the 'loudness war' is, the attached video is very informative. If this is a foreign topic for you, please watch and listen carefully.

**I just realized that the embedded file didn't carry over to my facebook feed**



brain surgery at home for fun and profit!???!

It's pretty comboggling (a great word created by my friend Josh Meng - which in Menglish means confusing / mind boggling) to think that the portion of my life spent making recordings now exceeds time spent NOT making recordings. Over the years, it's fair to say that I've recorded on nearly every format available and in just about every environment imaginable.

In the early days, I'd hole up in what used to be the old coal room in my parents basement with my Yamaha four track recorder writing and recording several songs a week. On occasion I'd even rent a Tascam PortaStudio from my local music store for a month at a time. I would use these machines until they literally stopped working... And while at the time I knew nothing technically about recording and even less about gear, the whole experience was an immensely valuable learning in songwriting and process.

Since then, in addition to owning several of my own work spaces (I never liken them to world-class recording facilities) I've worked in a myriad of spare bedroom studios, semi-commercial rooms and full-on pro facilities.

Several years ago, I stumbled on Sear Sound Studios in NYC. Both Sear Sound and owner Walter Sear are mainstays in the studio world and have been for many years, advocates for the professional studio environment. And while I find myself far less rigid than Walter in his insistence of working in a world-class facility, I do find a great deal of wisdom in the analogy he draws. I decided to repost this blog because as of a few months ago, www.searsound.com was redesigned, eliminating Walter's 'articles' page.

I guess too, I decided to blog about this after discussing the decline of music qualitatively with my new-found friend George Howard (@gah650) over dinner. And while I don't think either of us really arrived at a definitive answer to the question, advances and the proliferation of music technology did get strong mention. But I think beyond everything, what's often omitted from the record making process these days is experience. And the decline in experience and wisdom throughout the recording process is at the heart of Walter's blog. Again - I'd link to the blog, but it's no longer available; the following is from a web clipping I grabbed long ago.




I'm not very technical but I just love doing brain surgery. I couldn't see wasting all that time to get an undergraduate degree in science, then wasting four more years in medical school and another three or so as a resident, but I'm sure that I can make up for the deficit with my enthusiasm and my love of brain surgery.

First of all, you really don't need to be in a big fancy building like a hospital. I use my ping-pong table in the basement to do my surgery. (I do throw a plastic sheet over it to preserve the paint). By doing it at home, I save on rent. I admit that sometimes the neighbors complain about the occasional screams that they hear, especially late at night.

Next thing is the equipment. They have all of that shiny stuff in the operating room and believe me, you don't really need it. I equipped my Operating Room at my local 99 cent store. At the hardware department, pick up a hack saw. This is very handy for cutting off the top of the skull. If you want to get fancy, pick up a cross-cut saw, for emergencies. A good claw hammer is handy for removing any extra bone that you missed with the saws.

Move on to the housewares department. Here, for $.99, you can get a whole set of steak knives. These are very sharp and they are good for the fine work. For the rough work--get a bread knife.

In the sewing department, you can pick up a sewing kit with all kinds of needles and different colored threads This is handy to sew the scalp back in place. You can also get a set of three different-sized scissors. Sometimes they come in handy.

There! For $7 to $8, you can completely equip your operating room.

On TV, you see the OR full of assistants. This is a waste of space. If you really watch them, they are all just standing around doing nothing. In my home operating room, I have eliminated all of these unnecessary people. I do, however, engage the family dog to sit under my operating table to clean up the scraps.

You see how simple it is to do brain surgery at home? Anyone with a love of brain surgery can do it. I never read Grey's Anatomy although I did see a copy once. Very nice pictures but half of it was in Latin. Who wants to bother with that! If you really want to be a brain surgeon, all you need is the desire and enthusiasm.

My prices are very cheap since I don't have all that stupid overhead.


Walter Sear