Long Beach, CA—Adrian Young, drummer with No Doubt, and Todd Forman, former sax player with Sublime, have partnered to launch record production team Moxy Brothers. The pair, veterans of the Southern California ska, pop and punk scene, are offering full-service music production, from songwriting and performance through engineering, mixing and mastering.
Moxy Brothers, launched at the beginning of 2019, already have four records to their credit. “We just want to work with more and more artists, and to start working with record labels as a go-to production team,” says Young.
Forman adds, “As we got going with our production team, we were working with a lot of local talent—which was great, but how do we expand the universe of talent?”
In November, to bring their venture to wider notice and attract new talent, the pair launched a competition, sponsored by Universal Audio, to find an unsigned artist and deliver a fully produced version of a winning song. The plan is to handle all pre-production at their Long Beach-based Ruby Red Room studio, then travel to the artist’s home with their mobile Universal Audio systems, at their own expense. The winner will also receive a UA Apollo X4 audio interface. (The winner, announced just before press time, is Rozetta Marie, a Panamanian-American from Brooklyn, NY.)
Depending on the winner’s wishes, they expect to lay down Young’s drum tracks at Ruby Red before they leave. “After we come back from recording the artist, we can also overdub horns or more guitars or what have you,” says Forman, a multi-instrumentalist.
The idea came about after they learned that the band Vampire Weekend had worked on an album in a variety of locations using a mobile UA setup, according to Young. “Since we’re already big fans and already use Universal Audio components, we thought we could do something like that, but turn it into a competition.”
He elaborates, “We’re going to have matching backpacks of Universal Audio gear,” which will include an X4 with a UAD-2 Satellite Octo for extra processing power. They plan to carry eight microphones, including a vintage Neumann U 87 and U 77, Shure SM7, a pair of AKG 414s, a Shure Beta 52 and a Sennheiser MD421.
Situated in the basement of Young’s house, Ruby Red was originally a rehearsal space. “At the end of last year, I integrated the recording studio to be a part of that, so it’s technically both,” says Young. “I would argue that it might be the smallest recording space where you can record an entire record, including drums, with 12 mics on them.”
Young, who switched from Logic to Pro Tools a while back, was initially concerned about the results he could get in the room, which he describes as “small but very dead. I thought, I’m kind of limited in the space—I can’t get any kind of a room sound. Once I dug deeper into Universal Audio’s plug-ins, like the Ocean Way and Capitol Chambers plug-ins, I found I could make those drums sound as big as I want. And it’s so easy to do aux channels now, so you’re recording dry, but you also have the wet version.”
“Adrian has done a great job working out what mics work best where in that room for his drums, and what drums work best,” Foreman says.
Foreman built a home studio about 10 years ago that includes a vocal booth they can use for their projects. His gear includes a number of vintage pieces: a pair of Neve 1073s, a UA 1176 and Lavry converters, with Pro Tools and an old Digidesign 003 interface. “I’m adding the Universal Audio X4,” he reports.
Once the winning song is finished, says Young, “Assuming the artist wants us to stream it, that would be the beginning, but we’ll also share it with industry folks we’re friends with, just like we do with all of our projects that are currently unsigned.”
The pair will travel with Young’s brother, Alex, a marketing and social media expert. “We’ll see what we can do to enhance our experience when we visit the winner,” says Forman. Arriving a day or two in advance, they can check out the local music scene and interview the artist, he says. “We can see what influences he or she has had in their life, and what the inspiration was behind the song so we can get a deeper understanding of where that person is coming from. That will inform the making of the song. Having Alex along to film it would be a neat process.”
In 2010, Forman came off the road with Sublime with Rome, a group that had revived Sublime’s songs after the death of the band’s founder and frontman, Bradley Nowell, in 1996. He’s since put together a family-friendly band, Jelly of the Month Club. “I have a master’s degree in medical education and am a family physician,” says Forman. “I wanted to play music that my kids could listen to, other than Sublime.” That band’s 1991 debut single, on which he played, was entitled “Date Rape,” he points out.
The five-piece Jelly of the Month Club performs at venues such as Knott’s Berry Farm and the Fairmont Princess Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ. With the school music programs from which Sublime, No Doubt and their contemporaries befitted now almost extinct, Forman says, “We want to ‘vaccinate’ children so that when they become teenagers and hit the pop world the way it is now, they can understand what music with a real guitar, real horns and real production is, so they can hear the difference.”
That desire also informs the Moxy Brothers’ mission. Anyone can create a decent production at home and distribute it on one platform or another, says Forman. “At the same time, you’re not getting the investment into really professional quality we were getting in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s in terms of engineering, production, sounds, rooms and time. We just don’t see that quality on a broad scale. We want our productions to be a bridge between that homespun, do-it-yourself attitude, but delivered with more excellence, to the level it should be at.”
Moxy Brothers • www.moxybrothers.com
Universal Audio • www.uaudio.com