Quaintly nestled in the western region of upstate New York, USA, between Buffalo and Erie, Pennsylvania, lies a small blink-and-you'll-miss-it town named Cassadaga; a place where maybe the most exciting thing going on might be someone filling up their vehicle with gasoline. While existence in any small community may lend itself to being very quiet and seemingly uneventful, Cassadaga in particular, just so happens to be summoning some of the world's most acclaimed musical recording artists. The source responsible for the phenomenon points towards nearby Fredonia resident Dave Fridmann: producer, recording engineer, musician and an overall friendly collaborator. His perogative is different and simple — to fill up tracks.
Young Dave first hits 'Play' — the button with the arrow that points to the right.
The genesis for Fridmann's involvement in the recording arts originated from his days as a high school student in his native Buffalo, New York, suburb of Williamsville. And like many suburbanites beaming with a jaded-less sense of unlimited hope for a stable and fulfilling future, he made up his mind on what he was going to do. "Like most recording engineers, I wanted to be a rock star," he muses. "I became aware of engineering during my junior high school year through my music teacher who was an alumnus of SUNY at Fredonia. He had heard that they started up a new sound recording program and thought that I might be interested in it." Upon graduating from the binds of high school, Fridmann enrolled in the program to continue his pursuit for rock star luminance. "It seemed to me, in a very viable and obvious way, that if I wanted to be a rock star, the best way to do that would be to meet other rock stars, and the easiest way would be to become a studio engineer because that is where rock stars were. That's one way to get in."
Fate or coincidence. Depending on whichever belief system the reader leans toward, it was certain that Fridmann would find himself in a situation that would surely propel his desires into reality — in the role as bass player for a band. "In a lot of ways very much exactly what I hoped would happen did happen," he states matter-of-factly. With access to the college recording facility's Amek Angela console, Otari MTR-90 Mk II 24-track machine and a band called Mercury Rev [interview], he would get a chance to exercise both his ears and his bass playing. "When early incarnations of Mercury Rev came into the studio to record they didn't have a bass player," he recalls. "I would record their songs and then we'd get to the point when we'd notice, hmm... gee... we really should put some bass in there, which would be left to last and then I'd say, well, 'I could play it 'and they'd say, 'Okay, go ahead!' I ended up joining the band which worked out exactly as I'd hoped, which wasn't as it exactly turned out to be what I wanted, but that's what I thought I wanted at the time so it worked out great." The resultant product of their first collaboration was 1991's Yerself Is Steam, featuring the stratospheric "Frittering", which was primarily recorded at the college and mixed in Argyle, New York, at Sweetfish studio.