BS2000 recently released their new album, Simply Mortified, of lo-fi dance hits and keyboard jams. The band consists of Adam Horovitz (of the Beastie Boys) and Amery Smith and their new record was recorded in a damp basement. I caught up with them on the phone to find out how it went down. They spoketomeonthetailendofaslewof interviews, so they were a bit tapped, but provided some thought provoking and studio- learnin' conversation none-the-less.
Who's in the band?
AH: That would be me and Amery... and also the live band is me and Amery, Alfredo...
I know Fredo... the drummer.
AH: The drummah! The drummah drumm-er!
AS: [laughing] The drummah drummer...
He's a great drummer... and a funny guy too.
AS: In Japan they say he's a badass.
AH: Alfredo the badass...
So Fredo is in the band?
AH: And our friend Jazz from Minneapolis.
The four of you... and what does Jazz do live?
AH: He's a keyboard player.
And what do you two do?
AS: Play keyboard as well.
The fact you live in different cities, how do you record?
AH: It's all done on FireWire downloadable modem... I'm just kidding...
So you just record when he's there and you are here?
AS: For Simply Mortified we did all the keyboard tracks in New York.
Do you have a studio there?
AH: We HAD a room that was in a two story below basement that you could make noise in with an 8-track. So that is where we recorded...
Is that the room from one of the Beastie Boys videos?
AH: It is in the video with Mix Master Mike.
So it really is two floors down?
AH: It's fuckin' two floors down.
That's pretty good.
AS: It's damp and wet and there are little bugs running around it...
AH: We got kicked out of it... Everyone got kicked out of it.
And you said you used an 8-track down there?
AH: A DA-38 digital high-8 tape.
Was the first album both of you also?
AH: It was definitely both of us but neither of us were in the same room together till we sequenced it.
Was that all on an SP-1200?
AH: All of the songs I did were.
The second record is a lot more live?
AH: Yeah that's all live.
AH: Well, at one point they were live.
It sounds like there is a Rhythm Ace too.
AH: Yeah there is definitely some kind of Rhythm Ace thing on there.
And the keyboards... is it all Casios?
AS: There are some Casios, there's a lot of Farfisa and Yamaha too.
AH: there are plenty of Casios too.
AH: MT40, Casiotone.
The Casiotone's always a nice one... Did you use the beats off the Casiotone?
AH: Well you know when you start using the Casiotone beats, you start getting the "Da da da". It's kinda like a cover song when you start doing stuff like that.
How long did it take you to record the second album?
AH: A while, two months off and on.
AS: It wasn't exactly the recording process as much as the writing of it took a while.
So when you'd go in you'd put down the beat and see where it went?
AH: Yeah, and then arrange and come up with little ideas, and Amery would come up with the bass line and we'd record him and go from there.
Did you use all the tracks or were there extras?
AH: I think there were a bunch of extras we put on a couple b-sides here and there.
Who's singing on the record?
AH: That's both of us.
How would you record the Farfisa line- in or with mics?
AH: Yeah, mostly line-in for the stuff. I mean, we don't have a huge extensive mic collection, so a lot of the vocals were done at another studio called Plantine Recording House in New York. They have a lot of good stuff.
AS: They have a really good collection of outboard analog gear and decks, but they also have state of the art digital equipment and digital and analog engineers, who are both really amazing to work with.
AH: That's true.
So when you got to the vocals you were almost done?
AH: We were doing all kinds of things with the vocals.
AS: We were running the vocals through outboxes and stomp gear. We kept running the vocals through the metal machine. We had no idea what it does but it sounds good.
AH: Sometimes the Farfisa just sounds like it is, same with the Casios. They just sound...