Burbank, CA (August 24, 2005)–This fall, seminal Los Angeles-based punk band Bad Religion will release Bad Religion: Live at the Palladium, a new DVD of live concert material recorded over a two-night stand. The disc features a 5.1 multichannel soundtrack courtesy of Chace Audio, and will be released by Epitaph Records, which is owned by Bad Religion founding member and guitarist Brett Gurewitz.
The work that went into producing Bad Religion: Live at the Palladium was extensive. The band recorded both shows with a multi-camera shoot with audio recorded on multitrack Pro Tools to hard disk. The disc presents 31 songs, along with several interviews and commentary from each of the members. Audio elements were presented to mastering engineer and mixer Noa Lazerus for mastering. “The engineers that recorded this material really did a great job,” recalled Lazerus, who is himself a musician and Grammy-nominated recording engineer. “The recordings of these live shows were large multi-track sessions that provided for a wide range of options for the mix.”
Lazerus tried something new, which involved using mastering tools to improve the sound of the individual multi-track channels. He used Cube-Tec’s Audio Cube 5 (AC-5) to create a session that was some 40-tracks wide. Meticulously, he mastered each track individually using the Audio Cube’s arsenal of digital tools. “The drums and bass are the backbone of punk music and it was essential to lay a strong foundation over which the guitars and vocals could be mixed. Using the Cube’s mastering tools allowed me to bring out the richest sound from each track without adding excessive EQ-ing or additional processing. Mastering traditionally comes at the end of a project, when one has a final stereo or surround mix that needs additional sonic overview before pressing and distribution. In this case I used those tools before the final mix to take an expansive multi-track recording and individually master each separate track. It was an innovative and successful approach to this project.”
To capture the dynamics and unpredictability of a live punk show, it was also essential to sonically communicate the urgency and tightness of the band alongside the spontaneity of the performance and the reaction of the crowd. Lazerus added, “I’ve done quite a few live albums including projects with members of Pink Floyd as well as live recordings in renowned venues in London, New York City and Los Angeles.” Lazerus has also done projects with punk/alternative bands such as the Violent Femmes and explained, “With a live recording it’s essential to capture the essence of the environment and ambiance of the crowd. With punk rock in particular, there is grittiness and an urgency that carries throughout the entire concert and the audience is reacting to that energy.”
He continued, “Bad Religion is incredible live and though they still stay true to the raw power inherent in the genre’s style, the band plays complex songs with tempo changes and unexpected chord progressions. The audio mix for this DVD depicts a band that is engaged and evolving and at the height of their powers. The 5.1 format lends a great sonic complement and brings the viewer into the venue and gives the experience of being right there in front of the stage.”
Following a three-day mastering session, the DVD went on to be mixed for five more days in the Rick Chace Theater by Lazerus and mixing engineer James Young. Several of these sessions were attended by Brett Gurewitz, who is himself a producer and mixing engineer. “Brett is very studio savvy,” Young recalled, “and while he was not intimately familiar with 5.1 surround mixing, he knew what he wanted and was very clear in communicating his intentions to us. It was fortunate that our expectations for the sound and feel of this mix were perfectly in sync with Brett’s vision right from the start. A lot of attention is paid to the surrounds and the subwoofer in the 5.1 format, but for me the real blessing is the availability of a discrete center channel.
“We utilized the center channel to present the kick drum, snare and bass guitar tracks, as well as singer Greg Graffin’s lead vocals,” Young continued. “Unlike a lot of modern music mixes for 5.1, the center channel was our anchor. This mix is more akin to a 5.1 feature film mix. By mixing in the Rick Chace Theater we had the opportunity to experience the entire concert in a THX-certified dubbing stage and in a room we know, love and trust. To ensure final compatibility in a range of different environments, Brett reviewed the final mix in Mix One, our THX pm3-certified nearfield room, and took a few songs on a DVD reference disc so he could also hear the final mix on the new Bose home theater system located at Epitaph’s Los Angeles headquarters. It’s a testament to the Rick Chace Theatre that Bad Religion: Live at the Palladiumplays so powerfully in these varied environments, with no surprises.”
During the final mix, Young and Lazerus also added some subtle reverb to define the space of the venue, but most of the reverb the viewer will hear comes from well-placed microphones placed throughout the Palladium. Lazerus concluded, “There is almost nothing artificial in these tracks and 98 percent of what the viewer will hear is just as it came off the stage in the live performance. The band is mixed like one sees them on the stage so when there is a guitar solo on the left, it comes forth from the left channels, but we also sent some subtle delay to the left rear channels so you get a feel for the space of the venue. This is a great example of how great music on DVD in multichannel surround can be.”
Gurewitz was also impressed and noted, “I had a blast working with Jim Young and Noa Lazarus. I’ve never been involved in a 5.1 project before and I’m very impressed by the ease with which they’ve created mixes that bring the live experience to the home theater.”
Denise Eckstrom, assistant general manager of Chace Audio, oversaw the entire project and has faith that the company’s growing roster of 5.1 multichannel mixes for music-driven DVD projects will continue to demonstrate that the facility can work with any style. “We have now done 5.1 mixes for a diverse collection of music ranging from Roy Orbison to the PBS special on the blues, which was directed by Clint Eastwood, to the recent critically acclaimed rockumentary DIG!, directed by Ondi Timoner. It was a privilege to work on such a visceral DVD for one of the pioneers of the punk genre, and this latest project demonstrates what the multichannel stereo format can do for almost any style of music and live or studio performance. I look forward to the fans of Bad Religion reveling in the energy and power that is present in this new release.”