Not sure if it’s the same for you, but music to me is like air. I need it to survive. Whether it’s at work, in the car, while I’m running, or just putzing around my home, music is the one thing that allows me to escape the stressors of every day life, to celebrate life, or to lift me up when I’m in need of a mood adjustment.
To totally immerse myself in the how and why’s of the music business has always been a curiosity of mine. When my friends of Sisters of Murphy, Rochester’s number one Celtic Rock band, invited me to tag along while recording their upcoming album at More Sound Recording Studio in Syracuse, I jumped at the chance. Finally I would see the behind the scenes view of music being recorded and mastered.
I met these amazing musicians last year at the Syracuse Irish Festival and totally loved their energy and chemistry together as a band. Their style is fun and upbeat, and their personalities match it ‘to a T’. With Mark Tichenor on lead vocals and concertina; Bruce Lish on bass and vocals; Cedric Young on mandolin, banjo, whistles, pipes, vocals, etc.; Jona Chartrand on electric guitar and vocals; Mike Kedley on fiddle; Rick Elmer on drums and vocals; and Scott Austin on acoustic guitar and vocals, these seven men amp up traditional Celtic music with a spin that gets the toes a tapping and the party going. I knew this recording session was to be epic and I couldn’t think of a better band to introduce me to the ins and outs of making an album.
Meeting them at More Sound Recording Studio, in downtown Syracuse, I was super impressed with the space, the equipment, and the owner Jocko. This space had all the top-notch equipment and set up needed to capture and master the sounds of tomorrows hits, as well as house out-of-town guests working at the studio. Jocko’s attention to the details was immediately apparent making sure all sound was spot on before any recording began. After the set up was completed…he took the time to get really communicate with the band to what sound they really want to capture and the essence of what they were striving for. With his expertise along with top recording and mastering equipment, I am eagerly awaiting a finished copy of this album. It is no surprise to me to know that More Sound Recording is booked out months in advance and in high demand. His attention to details, his mannerisms on extracting the very sound (vocals or instrumentation), and capturing the vision the musicians have, explains why he is in such demand as a producer and bands travel long distances for his expertise.
Had a chance to speak with Mick Fury, a local country musician that recently moved to Nashville to tour with his latest album, one that was recorded at More Sound Studio. He took a minute out of his schedule to share with me his thoughts on More Sound Recording Studio.
Mike Fury (MF): Jocko at More Sound Recording, along with Andrew Greacen, produce tunes that have people in Nashville asking what studio down here they were recorded in so that they might try to achieve that same sound on their projects. Andrew brings a master songwriter’s touch to every project he touches. A tireless vocal coach, when he has coaxed the best possible performance out of ya, he sends it upstairs to Jocko, aka the Sonic Ninja. That man can make a crying baby sound like #1 Beatles record. And that’s no joke. Just ask the babies.
We all have specific skills right? Things we’re REALLY good at. I know a ton about songwriting and performance, you’re probably very well versed in photography and journalism, another friend may have gone to school for 7 years to be a doctor and be remarkably intelligent in the medical field. Of all the experts I have had the honor to know in my life, Jocko knows THE MOST about his specialty of anyone I have ever met. The guy has a monster knowledge of sonic manipulation, Bill Gatesian computer skills, is a high-end percussionist, harmony vocalist, and occasional violinist, and always manages to see the big picture of a project, be it one of our country songs or a crushing death metal tune. Oh yeah, and he build his entire studio. From scratch. By hand. Wow.”
I have to say, it was enlightening to see this master at his craft, and to see how his vision and that of the bands came together. It’s so much work to lay down tracks, re-record to make them just right, and then edit so that each piece fits together perfectly like a puzzle. The time and attention that goes into making a final album holds so much more meaning to me now that before, as just a puzzle, it’s tedious, rather frustrating, but in the end as it begins come together, it makes one heck of a beautiful picture.
Being in the studio with the band and Jocko was a pleasure and NYSMusic would like to thank both the band and More Sound Studio for allowing our readers a peek inside the studio this month.