Gary Rhamy speaks in a booming radio voice, which must come naturally to someone who’s been in broadcasting for so long. He has been recording for over 40 years in Youngstown, Ohio, opening his own studio, Peppermint Productions, in 1971 along with partner Del Sinchak. Peppermint is well known within the polka and ethnic music world for its multiple Grammy awards and nominations. The studio is also gaining a cult following for the rock, prog, and psych records that were done there in the '70s. Although functioning somewhat under the radar, The Edsels, Frank Yankovic, the Judge Judy theme song, even the American Gladiators TV show all have early day ties to Peppermint. They’ve kept their doors open since day one; which is something only a few businesses (let alone a recording studio) in post-industrial Youngstown can say.

Where did you first start recording?

At Ohio University. I was in there for broadcast school. I think I always wanted to be in recording, but, at that time, radio was the closest I could get to it. I liked radio; I liked playing records, and I thought it’d be fun to make them too. At Ohio University we had a good station that was all-student operated, AM and FM. We had to create programs, and I did a show called "Campus Jazz." Obviously it featured students who were jazz musicians, or thought they were. The show was set in a nightclub kind of atmosphere, but we would prerecord all the music ahead of time and then package it all together in a show. So that meant that I had to do a lot of recording at the station, as well as on location where the show was happening. So that was really the start. That, and also at the radio station that I first started at in Wooster, Ohio. They had a beautiful, big studio because it was built in the days of when you would have a lot of musical groups come in, so they had a studio that could accommodate that. Of course, we only had about three microphones. I did some recording there too, so that’s really where it started.

You grew up in Wooster?

Yeah, I grew up there, then went down to Athens at Ohio University, and after I graduated I started a semester of graduate school. Of course the Vietnam War was going on at that time, and I knew as soon as I stopped my education process that I’d probably be drafted. That’s what eventually happened. I went on to start my masters and then I decided, "I’d really like to get out of school now." I came to Youngstown to work at a radio station. I was interested in seeing what was going on in the recording scene when I got here. There was a studio here, which, at that time, was called WAM Recording. I had an old Presto recording lathe that I had picked up, and I called the guy that owned the studio, Bill Warner, and I said, "Are you interested in a lathe, or any equipment?" He said, "Well, bring it down. Let me see what you’ve got." I brought it down, he saw what I had, but he decided he was going to hire me instead of buying the equipment. That was kind of nice. I thought I knew everything at the time. I didn’t, but I knew enough to know that there was enough good talent in this area that I should be able to do some recording with the bands, as well as everything that was going on. So I ended up working for him. Later it became United Audio and United Media, but that was sort of the ground work for Peppermint.

Did they close around the time that you opened here?

No, actually they went off on their own and stayed open for a while. They were doing more voice, educational, and instructional type work, and we definitely went off into the musical world here.

Is that where you met Del Sinchak?

Yes. I met Del at WAM. Interestingly enough, Del, and another fellow by the name of Ed Dusi who had a music store, Dusi Music Center, in Youngstown, started WAM. It was on the Southside, down on Ellenwood Ave. They originally called it Words and Music, which they later shortened to WAM. They did recording, but they also did some work, as in, "Send us your lyric and we’ll put music to it," which is where the name comes from. Del got more involved with Dusi Music and sold the studio to Bill Warner, who I started working for. But I met Del because he not only had WAM Recording Studio, but also the WAM record label. It was doing custom recordings, some religious recordings, and polka bands too.

I’ve got an Eddie Vallus record that has Del credited as the engineer.

Sure. And that would have been done at WAM. So Del kept his interest in making recordings, but out of the studio arena. He kept the label alive, and that’s where I first met him, doing engineering for him for some of his recordings. He went on to do the Dusi Music scene, and was very successful in that. Eventually that closed down, and he came to me and said, "You need a marketing director?" I said, "Yeah, tell me what you’ve got in mind." So he started working for me. That would have been in the late '80s, and we’ve been working together ever since. We actually probably started back in ’67 – I suppose those were the first sessions.

So in ’71 you started here?

Right.

Did you build this place out? You said it was a TV studio before.

The building was for a TV studio. When we first saw it a doctor had offices in the top part of the building; it’s sort of split level. This was completely open down here. They had a couple different things going on in here from time to time, but it was empty when we found it. So we had some offices upstairs, as well as this big empty studio, and we just started building from there. Bill Warner and United Audio was in here first, for about a year, and then Peppermint started in ’71. Some of the construction work was done with Bill, at that time.

And you built this console, right?

Yes. Well... it was built by a guy by the name of Gaston Nichols, for somebody down in Florida. I found it through a company that sold equipment at the time, Mace Corporation, down in Birmingham, Alabama. He had started the work on the console for a place, I think it was called Papa Don Schroeder’s studio, in Florida. He said, "I built this because the guy likes to literally dance on the control board." It’s pretty solid! At that point it was a 12-channel board. We arranged to acquire it, and, step by step, we eventually took it up to a 24-channel board. It’s handmade, in the sense that we all took pieces that we liked and put them together. Like, we would use the Universal Audio 1008 preamps, and they were coupled with an equalizer that worked in the feedback circuit. He had designed some custom booster amps, line amps, and so forth. Eventually it just evolved. I replaced the equalizers with APIs and a variety of things like that, because, at one time, that was the thing, "Well, how much EQ do you have on your board?" I’d say, "Enough!" [laughs]

Is that the old EQ section? [on the ground, next to the couch]

Those are the old EQs. The reason they’re sitting there is because, conveniently, they fit in this spot, same as the APIs do. But I took them out because there wasn’t room for them. I had them stored upstairs, and then Henry Hirsch [Tape Op #56], who was working with Lenny Kravitz at the time, called me because he wanted to come down to the studio, as he heard that we had a lot of vintage equipment here. I was telling him what I had, and he said, "Could you wire in a few of those EQ’s, just so that I can hear it?" He rented the studio for a day; we set up drums, guitars, and all that sort of gear. But part of the request was to put in those old EQs. I think they’re [Universal Audio] 508 [envelopmental equalizers]. They work in the feedback circuit of the tube preamps, so the sound doesn’t actually pass through them as an equalizer. What they do is tailor the frequency response of the preamp. So that’s why they’re sitting there. What I’ve always wanted to do is actually put them back in, because it’s one less thing that the sound goes through on the way to the recorder. Then I could have the APIs as an option, switched in or out, which may be handy for mixdown. But the recordings we did in the early '70s were all through that UA EQ, and the only limitation was that when we’d get to the mixes we didn’t have much in the way of frequencies that we could get at. But, then again, any engineer knows that the mix starts at the mic, so you should have it right by then. Right? [laughs] Henry wanted to trade me his Trident, I think, for this board. He had rebuilt the power supply in the Trident and wanted to know if I’d trade. I’m thinking, "Wait a minute. Here’s this guy who’s got all the access to anything in the world, so the smart thing is to keep it, right?" But he would always call me, "Hey Gary, what was the model number on that Scully?" Because he recorded on the 288, then took the tracks back up to New York. And, "What was the model of those speakers?" Or, "What’s the model of those preamps in the board?" He’s a good guy. He’s got a studio now...

Yeah, isn’t it upstate?

Yeah, in a church. You know, he found some of those same preamps in New York. Not being from the old school, he said, "What happened? We had them up and they were running, and the next day they’re not making any sound at all?" I said, "Did you leave them on?" He said, "Yeah, we left them on." I said, "Did you terminate them?" He said, "What do you mean?" On the output, they’re designed to work into a 600 ohm load – faders are generally 600 ohm in the old style. "So they probably just went into oscillation and you burnt out the transformers." And he said, "Oh, that’s not good, huh?" [laughs] That’s terrible, as a matter of fact. He had my studio scheduled for Lenny.

You said the reason they didn’t end up doing it was because they didn’t want to be in Ohio in March, or something?

Henry kept saying, "Can you get the studio really warm, because he likes it warm!" I said, "We’ll do whatever we have too." But I would rather go to the Bahamas, or wherever they went, anyway!

From recording here, I noticed everything is super simple. It’s a very pure signal path. Obviously you’ve got a bunch of great mics and a sweet sounding board, but there’s not much in the way of outboard gear. It’s EQ’s and compressors. It’s great!

Thanks. The signal path is always as short as we can make it. You don’t see a lot of meters moving on the board, because I’m taking the direct outs of the channels. It’s just coming through the mic preamp, through the EQ, or not, and through a little booster amp and right to the track. And that’s why it was really great when those 508s were in the board, because you didn’t have all that extra circuitry to go through. And, if you can get the sound right, it’s pretty magical. If I ever get enough downtime, I’d like to put those back in.

Yeah, that’d be cool to have those and then have the APIs as outboard.

Right, then, at that point, you’d only be running through the 1008s. But I’ve only got 16-channels of the 508s. Ah, that’s enough. What I should do is outboard the 508s, then have a switch to bypass the APIs completely, because when they’re off the signal is still going through the op amps. That’s really what I’ve wanted to do. The 1008 preamps that are in there also have a socket, besides the tubes, they were designed to also have an LDR [Light Dependent Resistor]. It was right at the first stage of the amplifier, and the idea was that you should be able to remote control that with a little pot on the board – you could adjust the brightness of the lamp on the LDR and that would work as a gain control for the first stage. I’ve never seen one hooked up that way, although it’s possible. I guess it was a problem with the consistency of the LDRs at the time, so you couldn’t get from one channel to another with the same performance. But I thought it was a good idea.

When you got the desk from Birmingham, did you already have the rest of the gear at that time?

Yeah, there was a lot of gear. Actually the mics followed around the time when Peppermint started and separated from United Audio. We didn’t buy their business, but we bought assets, and I was in the position to know what assets I wanted. So we bought most of the equipment, including the Telefunken microphones and all. Along the line I’ve just sort of picked up gear. Actually Del bought those (the Telefunken 251s) back when he started WAM. He and another fellow bought four of them. He kept two and the other guy kept two. So they’ve followed him around.

When you guys started, were you using the 8-track 280 Scully?

When we first began, we were operating on 4-track Ampex for a while, and then we tracked down the board. Then [we got] the Scully, but the Scully that we opened up with was a 12-track on 1-inch tape. That was quite a thing. I actually just saw a picture of Jimi Hendrix posed in front of a 12-track Scully, just like we had. At the time I was looking for a couple of them, because the 16-tracks might have been out, but the 12 seemed to be in the price range. It was more than 8, less than 16, and also the tape, which was cheaper because it was 1-inch. It worked good. We did all of the Blue Ash albums on the 1-inch, as well as Left End and a lot of the early things. That was in ’71. In ’74 we got the 16-track machine. That came from Tyler, Texas. I was just talking about this. We went down there in the station wagon and drug the thing back to Youngstown. That was the machine that John Fred and his Playboy Band recorded "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" on.

Right, I was looking at that old flyer you had for the studio and saw that was the 12-track, not the 16.

Right. It was in a different cabinet. It was a beautiful machine.

You opened this place and covered it in psychedelic shag.

Oh, yeah!

The studio is known for polka as well as a variety of ethnic music, but that picture seems like you wanted this to be the hippest studio in town.

Well, it probably was, at the time. [laughs] There was a fellow who was working with me named Norm Taylor. He was my partner in the business. He was the money guy, and I was the engineering guy. I was focused on making sure the equipment was going to be good, that it worked, and whatnot. He was more involved with surrounding himself with people who were thinking, "Maybe we can do this," and how it should look. So I can’t take credit for all of that, but I remember thinking, "Wow! We just created the world’s biggest Twister game out there in the studio, with all that shag carpeting and the circles." It was fine, we enjoyed it. And we still have remnants of it out there on that choir stand. It’s the hangout stand now.

Was Del bringing in polka bands? What was the clientele back then? I guess it was kind of all over the place.

It was all over the place. Of course we had some polka bands, and there were a lot of bands in the area too, like Blue Ash and Left End, who eventually ended up on Polydor. There were a lot of bar bands too, and they were all good; a lot of good musicians. And there was other ethnic music as well. We were doing Greek bands, as well as some gospel and religious work, probably some high school bands that we’d go out and record too. We were doing quite a diverse amount of material. I enjoyed the polkas, but I was really more into the rock and pop projects. I was really interested in honing myself on doing pop recording. The thing that actually was a benefit in the polka field was that I would take the same techniques that we were doing with the rock bands and apply them to the recording techniques with the polka bands. You know, most of them were used to recording with one microphone in a room, or two for stereo. Then, all of a sudden, they would bring the drums in and I’d have a microphone on the top and bottom of the snare, and the toms all mic’d, and the front head off the kick drum too. I was trying to take the approach that we would take to contemporary music and apply it to the ethnic music. I think that’s one thing that helped form the sound that people recognized us for. But we were doing all types of bands. It was amazing. And I was doing most of the engineering. There was one other guy that worked here too, but I was doing a lot of it. They were amazed. They’d say, "I don’t understand how one minute you’re doing a Greek band, and the next you’re doing a rock band, and the next you’re doing a Slovenian polka." It’s all music, right? And you know when it sounds right, and when it doesn’t sound right. You should know that if you’re sitting behind this board.

How many Grammy award-winning records have come out of here?

Five. The very first one was Frank Yankovic’s 70 Years of Hits, and that was also the very first Grammy in the Polka category. We did that one here, then I had three by Walter Ostanek from Canada. I was working with Frankie Yankovic, who was called America’s Polka King, and my other client was Walter, who was called Canada’s Polka King. I produced a record by a group called Brave Combo, from Denton, Texas [Let’s Kiss, 2004]. We actually recorded it live up at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland. I was lucky, because Frank Yankovic was being produced by Steve Popovich. He was the guy who brought us Cleveland International Records, and that brought us Meatloaf. He was originally from Pennsylvania, but he was very much aware and believed a lot in the ethnic music and his ethnic background. So he was able to make music with Yankovic and we did several albums with him. Joey Miskulin, who was Frank Yankovic’s right hand man, great accordion player and musician, was helping to produce those sessions too. Joey later went to Nashville and joined Riders in the Sky, the Western band.

Did the economy of Youngstown in the '70s effect the studio much?

Well, we were doing a lot of commercial production work, and we were doing a lot of work for Youngstown Sheet and Tube through an advertising agency. So when they went down, that took a big chunk out of the commercial work we were doing. I would say we were somewhat immune to the local economy, because by the time we got into the mid-'70s and later on, we were doing a lot of the ethnic music and were getting bands from all over the place. So they would come to us, whether or not a steel mill was operating. That was a good thing, that we had a lot of bands from Canada. There was a guy doing a lot of Polish polka bands, and he would bring in bands from Buffalo, New York City, Michigan, and Wisconsin. So we were pretty busy and a little bit immune to the local economy; fortunately for us.

I wanted to ask about some of the other labels in the area. One that I’ve found a lot of records from is Marjon International Records.

From Sharon, [Pennsylvania].

Did they have their own studio?

Yes. That was run by Johnny Krizancic. He was the guy who bought the other two Telefunken mics. He did a lot of ethnic music; Croatian, and polka music too. At first it was in a store front, but I think later on he built a home and incorporated the studio into that. It was a nice facility.

What about Tammy Records?

Tammy was owned by a fellow by the name of Tony March, who was a musician and entrepreneur. He did his own thing, but I did a lot of recording for him. He got rolling because he got involved with The Edsels, which was a vocal group from Youngstown. They ended up doing the song "Rama Lama Ding Dong," so Tony achieved some success with that. And he was always looking for the next "Rama Lama Ding Dong" [laughs], so he did a lot of recording of rhythm and blues and a lot of novelty things. As a matter of fact, I’m even on his label, of all things. He did a Christmas song with Floyd & Little Soul Sisters called "Moon-y Min-i Men Visit Santa Claus." It’s a story about Santa Claus and how three Martian kids save Christmas. It was a clever story! But I told Tony, "I’m really having trouble understanding the lyrics. The music is good, and they sing nice, but I’m not sure that the average listener is able to understand the plot of the record." So I ended up narrating side B, as well as using the background music and bringing the group in a certain amount of times. That was funny. Tony’s a great guy and has put out a lot of records. He had a place called Discount Records, so he was able to record them and sell them.

But they didn’t have their own studio?

No, I would say that I did most of their recordings. But "Rama Lama Ding Dong" was done up in Cleveland, because there wasn’t any place to do it here. Incidentally, we had talked about Del Sinchak; Del was in his rock stage with his band. Del’s always had a band. They started off as the Polka Serenaders. Then he went into pop and rock music and called himself Del Saint & The Devils, and he wore a turban. So he was the band behind that song. I always say, "Del, there’s no accordion on that song." And he says, "No, but there is a cowbell, and I’m the ding dong who plays it!" [laughs]

That song "Rock Yeah" (by Del Saint & The Devils) has one of the coolest guitar solos in it.

Oh, yeah! That was all recorded before I got into it. Some of that was on Chess and Checker. He was doing that, and then he got drafted. He was in basic training; they were listening to the radio, and all of a sudden he heard his song come on. He jumps out of the bunk, running around. Everyone says, "What’s wrong?" He says, "That’s me on the radio!" Of course, those were the days that you could do that; have an obscure recording and get it on the air, if you could find the right disc jockey. Those days are no more.

Getting back to gear: you went from 4-, 12-, 16-, and 24-track. When did you make the jump to the digital age?

Well, I think the first mixdown I did digitally was in 1988 or something. Still all the tracking was done analog, then the mixdown was done to a Sony F1 system. I don’t know if you are familiar with that. Sony would make a digital encoder that you would record onto either a Beta or VHS tape. So you’d have this two-channel box you’d plug everything into hooked up to a VCR, and that was the first digital mixdown. I thought it sounded really good! I thought the F1 series sounded better than all the DATs we got into later. So we were doing mixdowns before we were tracking digitally. I think it was in the mid-'90s; we never got into the ADAT machines, but instead the Tascam system [DA-88]. Part of that was because of some other work I was doing in Cleveland, where I got familiar with the DA-88s. Then we eventually got into the Alesis HD24, one of the machines that I still use today. Of course we’ve got programs on the computer as well.

You don’t do any tracking on the computer though? You just track with the Alesis, then do editing on the computer?

Right. We can unload them and do editing, but most of it is done there on the HD24. And we don’t do much mixing in the box; we do it all here through the board. So we need the analog outs that come along with the machine. I think it’s a nice system.

Yeah, I think it’s a great way of working.

Very much like an analog machine, in sense of operating like a tape machine. I guess you could always argue about the sound of it.

No Pro Tools in the future here?

I wouldn’t exclude that. I mean, I really do a lot of editing on the computer, and I’ve been mixing down to Sound Forge, which is what I’ve used primarily since 2000. I love the capabilities of digital. I spent so many years with a razor blade, picking up little pieces of tape off the floor, saying, "Oh, I need that back! That edit wasn’t good!" The Ampex 2-track didn’t come with an undo button. There’s just so much that I don’t even think about anymore with the analog 2-inch machine. I was always worried about speed, worried about azimuth, phasing, and all that. Punching in and out – you’d have to be pretty clever about that a lot of times. The Scully was always good about punching in. Punching out, you always had to allow for the distance between the record head and the erase head, so you needed a gap in the sound there. So, it’s nice to be able to edit and do things, to shift tracks a little bit. I like that. I think, when you come from where I started, we were trying to work on reel-to-reel. [We’d try] to edit and try to sync things up from someplace else and lay them into a multitrack recording; it’s so nice to have all of that at my fingertips with digital. And I think it’s nice to be able to have that background, because I know what I’ve always wanted to do, but maybe couldn’t; but now I can. So I think knowing the capabilities of some of the things I was limited to before can be really nice.

I feel like you’re starting with that pure signal path.

Yeah, right. I’ve said this many times. We ended up doing that over the years, as recordings were done outside the studio, and bands and engineers would end up sending me tracks to mix. People would ask, "What’s the first thing you do when you start to mix?" I always say the mix starts at the first sound check of the microphone. That’s when you start laying down the first sound and you start building onto that. If you can get it right to begin with, or close, it gives you a great foundation for every sound you pile on top, and the less you have to do later. Plus, it’s better to listen to while you’re doing it! If the music’s sounding good at the beginning, and you’re listening to it for 12 hours, well, the better it sounds and the better off you are at the end of the day! And the better judgments you can make, too.

A quick list of favorite records you’ve worked on over the years?

Oh, my...

Start with that gold one on the wall.

Oh, the gold one! [laughs] There it is. It’s on two walls, because I happen to have two copies.

Is that the exercise one?

Yes, Carol Hensel’s Exercise & Dance Program. This would have been in the late '70s. For all I know, it may have been one of the first aerobic albums ever, and of course that became a big trend. That was before Jane Fonda got into it. We ended up doing that one, as well as two or three others. That went gold in the US, then platinum. I never got the platinum one. It also went gold in Canada and Australia, so it was very successful. We did all original recordings of popular songs that she had picked out for the various aerobic parts; some to warm up, some to aerobicise, and then some to slow down and cool down. But it was really good. We ended up doing that, and then we got into Dance with Darcel with Darcel Wynne, who was the principle dancer on Solid Gold at the time – it’s a how-to-dance album. We did Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini; he got into the aerobics thing and did one called "Knockout Bodies." All of these albums required doing copies of songs that were popular, and that was great. I mean we really worked hard at trying to get those to sound the same. I think that was really good for me. It was the same as when I started out in radio, before I ever got into recording, because I’d sit at the studio playing something and thinking, "Gee, I wonder how they got that to sound like that?" Or, "That’s a nice sound on the horns." It was the same kind of a thing, but years later when we would try and recreate David Bowie’s songs, Flashdance, or "Eye of the Tiger." Those were always fun, because we’d always do mixes of the music without the talking on it and enjoy that! [laughs] There was a fellow who had a gym here in town. He was also a singer, and we did recordings for him. But he came to me one day and said, "I’ve got this idea for a movie. I can’t afford to do a film treatment, but I’ve written a script that’s a presentation of what the movie is. I want you to narrate it. We’ll put some music to it, so I can take that out and maybe find some investors." We did that. I said, "What do you call this thing?" He said, "American Gladiators." He took it out to California and he never got a movie, but he got a TV show out of it. That all started here.

Wow! What about some of the bands from the '70s?

I’m very proud of the work we did with Blue Ash. Left End had some songs that we had done here before they went to Polydor. Later on we did some live things with them at the Park Inn, over on Glenwood Ave. It was exciting times, and all those live sessions like that were cool. But Blue Ash was a great group. We actually signed them to a production deal early on. So we brought them in the studio and produced some songs for demos and sent them out to record companies. You could do that in the early '70s. Mercury listened to submissions and negotiated a deal, so we did No More, No Less with them. It was a critically acclaimed album. It may not have done so good in sales, but they were satisfied with it and gave us a budget to go ahead and work on songs for the second album. Unfortunately, that never happened. The good thing out of that was that we ended up with a lot of Blue Ash demos, and those have been re-released as a double album [Hearts & Arrows]. I got to work with Paul Nelson, who was a producer for Mercury, and later a writer for Rolling Stone. He’s passed, but he has a great book out there [Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson]. There were so many great bands in this area, and so many great musicians. A fellow who did a lot of work here before he left for Nashville was Bob DiPiero. Tremendously successful. He wrote "American Made" by The Oak Ridge Boys. He told me that he’s had over a million airplays on the radio of the songs that he’s done. When we were doing jingles, he was my go-to guy. Bill Bodine, who’s a musician from the area, is out in California now. He had his own production company and wrote a lot of music. He wrote the Judge Judy theme, and played in the Gong Show band. Another fellow who left the area at the same time was Joey Pizzulo, who went out to California and joined Sérgio Mendes. Next thing I know, I heard him singing a duet on "Never Gonna Let You Go."

Did any of the Ohio funk bands do anything here, or any early Devo, or anything like that?

In the rock era, we had some pretty notable things. There was a group from Akron called Brimstone in 1973. They did a record called Paper Winged Dreams. Morly Grey was another one we did early on [The Only Truth]. There are vinyl copies of that going for something like $1000 a piece.

And the band Poobah [Let Me In] was another cult classic.

Oh, yeah! With the toilet flush that was recorded right in there. Jim Gustafson is still doing it too. Those were probably smoke filled days. [laughs] I would just try to maintain. There were a lot of bands then. I grew up on a farm, so when I got to Youngstown it was like, "Wow! A big city!" And look at all these bands like The Insights, Brainchild, and The Pied Pipers, as well as funk and rhythm and blues. Menagerie was another great band from the area. There was a little bit of everything.

What is your vision of the future for Peppermint?

Well, I think the outcome is making people smile when they walk out the door. Making sure they’re happy with what they’ve done musically here, and eventually to the audience that they take it to. So that’s sort of an overall goal. And just keeping the place going, you know, because the whole industry has changed. You know that.

Yeah.

And Pro Tools, definitely. We work with it now, but people bring it to me! We just plug it in and let it go. I hope we can do more sessions like we did the other day, which was have the band in here, track on the 16-track at 15 ips, and then transfer it to Pro Tools to get that ballsy drum sound. I really got psyched up the other weekend. The guys said, "It’s just amazing how drums sound when they come off of tape." I guess there’s a lot to be said for that. So keeping it alive, and making it comfortable for people. That’s it. Not getting in the way of the production of sound and music.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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