(click thumbnail)“Hey There Delilah” | Plain White T’sSingle: “Hey There Delilah”
Album: Hey There Delilah EP (Fearless Records)
Dates Recorded: December 2005 at Big Gold Studios in Chicago (EP live version recorded at the Metro in Chicago)
Single Producer: Sean O’Keefe
Single Engineer: Sean O’Keefe
Single Mixer: Sean O’Keefe
Dates Mastered: Spring 2006 at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, CO
Mastering Engineer: Dominick Maita
Other Projects: Maita has mastered O’Keefe-produced projects for This Is Me Smiling, Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights, Company Of Thieves and Spitalfield, as well as releases for Less Than Jake, Loudon Wainwright III, String Cheese Incident, Kiss Kiss, The Hush Sound and Jewel, among others.
Single Songwriter: Tom Higgenson
Mastering Monitors: B&W Nautilus 801 loudspeakers powered by a stereo Classe Omega amplifier
Mastering Console and Workstations: Muth Audio analog transfer console, Nuendo and Sequoia digital audio workstations
Mastering Processors: API 550M stereo equalizer, Manley Vari-Mu mastering compressor, Sontec 430B mastering equalizerENGINEER’S DIARY
“That was the standout,” states Dominick Maita, mastering engineer at Boulder’s Airshow Mastering, of the US chart spanning hit single “Hey There Delilah.” We are discussing his work with the Plain White T’s, a talented Internet boom band from Villa Park, Illinois led by writer/vocalist Tom Higgenson. “They came to me and said they needed to knock this out right away. That’s what we did. And I will have to say that their songwriting is incredible. They go right back to ‘64/’65 Lennon/McCartney in an updated way.”
At the beginning of 2005, the T’s had completed and self-released their full-length, All That We Needed, only to discover that track 13 had more than a few miles left in it. As a matter of fact, it was such a fan favorite that it warranted its very own “EP” — the Sean O’Keefe-produced “Hey There Delilah” enhanced CD — which was book-ended by a string-enhanced original recording of “Delilah” and a live “Delilah” at Chicago’s Metro. In between, several new songs and three music videos were featured.
The EP helped propel the T’s to a Number 3 Billboard Modern Rock Track, their current major label deal (with Hollywood Records, recently deciding to add “Delilah” to 2006’s Every Second Counts) and major tours with the likes of Sugarcult, Hawthorne Heights and The Almost — a hit single, indeed.
(click thumbnail)Dominick Maita“As I go back and listen through the two versions of ‘Delilah’ (on the EP), I just hear a simple love song with a great melody,” offers Maita. “You can’t get away from it.”
Its earnest lyrics and thoughtful vocal — one that could probably camouflage itself within the melodies of Rubber Soul — warranted a simple mastering chain itself, yet it was surrounded by audio of a different consistency.
“I was a little bit all over the place, trying to match them up for presence,” recalls Maita. “But for ‘Delilah,’ there was little done to it. I just called up the original mix, which is beautiful; it’s that simple vocal and simple guitar. It went through my typical signal chain: the Chris Muth analog transfer console into my Sontec 430B. I have a Manley Vari-Mu in the chain. Because it’s such a lush arrangement and where the guitar sits, I found that cleaning up a little bit of the lower midrange gave the vocal a bit of space without taking away any lushness.”