Volumen 1 :: Shane Hickey
Volumen 2 :: Doug Smith
Volumen^2 :: Bryan Hickey
bKCAWCK :: Chris Bacon
Volumen Beta :: Bob Marshall

Doug Smith Volumen 2
Doug Smith

If Shane is the high school Physics Club treasurer of VOLUMEN, Doug is the affable, popular guy who toes the fine line between band dork and senior class president. Cheerleaders leak the info that they want him to ask them out, but he’s always genuinely nice to the less popular girls and boys, too. In addition to writing most of what doesn’t get written by his longtime friend and musical partner, Shane (in the platonic sense, that is—at least we THINK so), Doug’s signature wikkid lyxx and fine tenor are the yin to Shane’s yang, the butter to Shane’s muffin, the hot dog in Shane’s....well, anyway, the other half of the songwriting equation. Additionally, Doug is a beacon of calm and tranquility in his other bandmates’ roiling sea of adolescent squirreliness, and a fine cook to boot. The last male bonding I did with Doug was undertaken when we spent two days in the Montana wilderness picking morel mushrooms. Oh, the magic he worked with those little morsels...

Here's some articles and other random press for your viewing pleasure.

Internet 03/01/2003
Title: Interview with Nate Greely of ARLO via email March 2003
Author: Doug Smith Aka Volumen2

Dug - I heard you recorded "Up High In The Night" on your computer. What did you use?

Nate - We used a G3 with 256 MB of ram with a 350 MHz processer that my friend cranked up to 400. The aforementioned cranking caused me no end of troubles with overheating and crashing. For a soundcard we used the MOTU 1224. It's 24-bit with 8 ins and outs, I got it for $1200, but they're way cheaper now. I got a cheap sound card first, but you couldn't eliminate the latency and so everything got delayed running through the computer and you couldn't play along to the computer playback becuase you guitar would be heard a few milliseconds after you hit it. Very confusing. I know this band Chocolate that recorded a whole album this way and it came out fine, but it must driveyou crazy.

Dug - Yea, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack while we were recording "How Do You Spell...?" on the computer. What program did you use?

Nate - We used Cubase 5.0 becuase it works with the MOTU. I was used to Logic, but I had to switch. There's a few things about Cubase I don't like. A big thing is if you have to cut a long piece of audio sometimes it just arbitrarily moves it and it takes forever to get it back in
sync with the other tracks. I have been able to do anything I need on the program satisfactorily, though.

Dug - Did you have to spend an arm and a leg on microphones?

Nate - For mics we used SM57's. They cost about $75. For drums on the first album we used one on the kick, one on the snare, two overheads, and one room. The room was actually a Rode NT1, but it sucks and it costs $300. For the next album on guitars and vocals we used a
SM7, which I highly recommend in the $300 range. Mic placement was just by the book.

Dug - 57's are great! I heard that Rick Rubin used only those to record "Blood Sugar...".
Did you mic the bass too?

Nate - Bass on the first album was done direct on a cheap combination preamp/eq/compressor we got for $500. It also has a little tube that you can drive stuff a little bit with. It's cheesy, but it sounds alright. I don't remember the name, but it's red. I've since bought a direct box, which I run the bass through first, and it helps immensely. We used the same compressor on vocals. Our board was a Mackie with 6ins and 4 outs. Guitar just went from a 57 to the Mackie, with no effects. I would use cubase plug-ins for rough mixes, but when we went to a real studio to mix, we brought the tracks totally dry. For THAT 80'S show and OFF CENTRE, we made extensive use of the Cubase plug ins with great results. I mostly used Wunderverb, Echo, and the Waves EQ and Compressors.

Dug - Ben Vaughn helped you get the gig with "that 80's show"... he also did production on some Ween albums. How did you meet him?

Nate - Shmed met Ben because he was going out with Tom's sister. Ben became a fan of Shmed's band Holliston Stops, and saw us play with them a few times and became a fan of Arlo. So when Shmed joined Arlo it all came together. He's a really great guy because he helps us out without any ulterior motive of helping his own career. He's satisfied with where he is and doesn't need to use us to get himself somewhere. He's also just really funny and fun to hang out with.

Dug - Can you tell me a little about the actual process you used in recording at home?

Nate - For the first album we had the drummer playing along to a rhythm guitar plugged direct into the board so it wouldn't bleed on the drums and a click track. The direct guitar was then scrapped once we got a good drum take and everything was overdubbed. I try to do as little editing as possible with drums, but on the first album it was unavoidable, as some of the performances were sub par. I wasn't as good as editing then as I am now, so some of the cuts and loops are pretty obvious to the trained ear, but overall is still sounds like a rock record (nowadays rock records are all chopped up anyways). Yeah, we were trying to make up for bad drumming. Whenever possible we kept the original, but I removed most of the bad parts. I left a bunch in, too.

Dug - You did a great job on the loops. I had no idea. Who were the drummers?

Nate- Soup was our live drummer at the time, but we also used Adam Wade from Jawbox. When we were looking for a drummer earlier, Rod (our old bass player) met him out of the Recycler and we played a couple shows with him before he bailed. We stayed friends, though and he played on most of my songs: Shutterbug, Elena, Skyscraper, and more that I forgot. I think Oh Yeah has both him and Soup.

Dug - The new album, "Stab the Unstoppable Hero", has lost the 'home recording' feel. Now it's super hot, but you still recorded some of it on your computer at home.

Nate - The second album we tracked drums and bass in Mark Linett's studio in Glendale. He has a old 60's valve board he uses on the Beach Boys, so we used that and then went straight to pro tools. This time most of the stuff was done in one or two takes with almost no editing later. We then took the files home and tracked guitar and vocals the same way we did the first record, except with the SM7 instead of a 57.

Dug - I tell bands that I can't master their stuff so it's not gonna be super loud. Who did your mastering?

Nate - Mastering was done on the first album in Ventura with John Golden. He does a lot of Sub Pop stuff and he's cheap. For the second album we used Bob Vosgien at Capitol. It was more exspensive and sounds like it.

Dug - Yea, there's a huge sonic quality difference between the two.

Nate - For the most part if you mixed well, mastering is just getting the songs in order and figuring out how much space between them. They compress it a little and EQ it if something sounds fucked up, but the less mastering the better I think.

Dug - Mixing is always a big process. sometimes it can be tortuous. how did it go with you guys?

Nate - Our first attempt at mixing Up High was done at Josh Schwartz' studio downstairs from where we lived at the time. Josh was in Further and Beachwood Sparks and played lead guitar on Up. Because we only had 8 outs on our soundcard, we had to do the mixing internally in the computer. We used Josh's Manley compressor (which he borrowed from my friend Matt) and the EQ's on his Mackie board on the 2 track mix that was coming from the computer. When we recorded the first album, all we had for monitors were these crappy speakers I bought at a thrift store which were really bassy. When we
heard the tracks through real speakers, all of a sudden there was no bass, so we had to try to fix that.

Dug - What a night mare! I remember seeing the monitors i use at Tim Green's Louder Studio. He said that he only used them for the band to listen to play backs in the studio... doh!

Nate - Good monitors are very important. I recommend Yamaha NS10's because everybody uses them, and they reflect pretty well the average home stereo system. Some people say they destroy your ears after a while, but so does playing in a rock band every night!

Dug - When I talked to you last in person, you said that sub pop had you remix the first album... what happened?

Nate - We did the best we could, but Sub Pop was not thrilled with the mixes. They suggested we rerecord the entire album with Jimmy Tamborello (PostalService), but we suggested we just mix in a proper studio. Shmed had joined the band halfway through the recording and he was good friends with Ben Vaughn. He asked Ben if he would help us mix, and he agreed. We brought the tracks into Mark's studio, and he was pretty unimpressed by how fucked up our tracks were. All the drum sounds were crappy, so he had to trigger snares and kicks, only the rest of the drums bled so bad on the snare and kick tracks that he couldn't even get the triggering to work, so I had to go home every night and draw in by hand the new
kicks and snares in cubase, export the files, and bring them to Mark the next day to mix. I didn't get to sleep much. Also, some of the tracks, particularly Sean's, has two or more drumsets going at once, to compensate for the thin sound ofour 5 drum mikes. This drove Mark nuts because they weren't always perfectly in sync. We got it done though and Sub Pop was happy.

Dug - What kind of studio gear did Mark have?

Nate - I wish I could tell you all the outboard gear and mixing techniques that Mark used, but I didn't pay that close attention. He's got all the walls in his studio, plus a spare room covered in racks and racks of preamps, compressors, eq's, etc...

Dug - Did mark mix your new album?

Nate - "Stab..." we mixed with Rich Mouser. Mark was kinda mad about it, but Rich is pretty awesome. We recorded our first album with him. It was on a little label called Waxploitation and it never got released. I'll send it to you. He charges $1,000 a day, so most of our budget went to mixing. I had to bring my computer over to his house, sync it to his 24-track and stripe the tape 7 tracks at a time. It sucked and it took forever, but he also tweaked stuff as it went to tape. Then he mixed it pretty much without us. Ben came out some and I came out when he was about done with something for the final OK. We didn't use any Cubase effects on that record (except for fuzz on the beginning gtr of temperature). Rich has some rack stuff, but nowhere near as much as Mark. He's just got good ears. Yes we used the SM7 (back home for the vocals and guitars).
I will send you a tune, send me one too. NAte