Peter Kiesewalter, center, oversaw the complicated recording process behind EVOC’s new album.New York (July 9, 2008)–Plenty of rock bands have been labeled as “operatic” over the years, but the East Village Opera Company goes one better (to 11, you might say) by dusting off opera’s greatest hits and amping ’em up on its new album, Old School, due out in August on Decca.
Led by creators Peter Kiesewalter and Tyley Ross, the album took 12 months and 14 engineers to record and mix in 10 different studios worldwide.
Kiesewalter explained the complicated re-writing/recording process, noting, “After figuring out keys and approaches with the singers, I recorded rough demos using MIDI gear, adding our guitarist Ben Butler after forms were sketched out. I wrote rhythm charts and initial orchestral arrangements using pencil and paper, printing final versions using the scoring program Sibelius for better legibility. Rehearsals with bassist Richard Hammond, drummer Jeff Lipstein and myself further honed in on grooves and transitions before recording bed tracks at Avatar Studios in New York on their renowned Neve 8068 console with engineer Kevin Killen.
“Multiple guitar overdubs took place at the Magic Shop in Soho and my studio on the Lower East Side using an arsenal of vintage amps–Hiwatt, Vox, Marshall, Fender, etc. The string quartet and choir were recorded at Avatar and the Magic Shop, followed by a trip to Prague to record the Czech Philharmonic string section. Orchestral brass and winds and R&B horns were recorded back in New York to maximum control over the separation between the sections come mix time.
“Vocals were continually being laid down at my studio during all this (one mic for all vocals–a Brauner VMA); it was important for the singers to get comfortable with the arias, the language, and the approach they would end up taking that would differentiate our version from a “legit” singer’s approach. Keyboards were real as opposed to samples; (we used a) grand piano, Wurlitzer electronic piano, Hammond B3 organ and Farfisa, tack piano, vibraphone, and Moog synthesizer. Some computer-based soft-synths were added for color here and there.
“The final mixdown took place over 16 very long days at Saint Claire Recording Company in Lexington, KY with Grammy-winning engineer Neil Dorfsman on an SSL SL9000 J Series console. The Digidesign Pro Tools rig (150 voices) and console (80 inputs) were pushed to the absolute max on almost every tune because of the sheer amount of information–but I knew that this record was going to be sonically large from the get-go.”
Some of the upcoming album can be heard at the band’s MySpace page.
East Village Opera Company
East Village Opera Company MySpace Page