Producer Noah Shain recently purchased an analog API 1608 small-format console to record breakout artist Dead Sara in a Malibu mansion for a forthcoming release on Epic Records.
The tracks will form the follow-up to the band’s 2012 eponymous self-release. Shain, who is best known for his work with Sonny Moore (Skrillex) and Atreyu, purchased the API 1608 because it was, in his words, “the only console available with a small enough footprint and a big enough sound.”
After recording their previous album with Shain at Sonic Ranch in Texas, the band members had their heart set on taking the laid back experience they had there to the next level.
“They didn’t want to work in a studio at all,” Shain said. “They just wanted to work in a house. I said, ‘OK, but if we’re going to work in a house, we’re going to do it right. I’m not bringing my laptop over to your buddy’s apartment.’ In the end, we rented an 8,000 square-foot Malibu mansion for two months. All told, we paid about as much going that route as we would have paid going to any of the world-class L.A. studios that I tried to talk them into originally.”
As a self-described API-fan who had been considering a 1608 to complement his hybrid, bus-intensive mix style, Shain recognized the sonic and logistic advantages of having a 1608 for the two-month remote date with Dead Sara.
“I like discrete transistor electronics,” he said. “That’s saying something, because Shain’s workflow is unique. Like Michael Brauer, Shain separately processes stems according to their role in the music.
“He uses eight passive busses and saturates signal on the other end with boutique gain make-up amps. The 1608 is the perfect heart for that kind of system.
“It’s small enough to make it easy, and I can still focus a lot on the computer for a truly hybrid workflow.”
With the remote recording date with Dead Sara finished, Shain has moved the new 1608 into his three-room studio located inside Bedrock, a 120-room rehearsal space in the hip Echo Park neighborhood of L.A.
“Bedrock is a great place with a great community of musicians,” he said. “A lot of notable bands rehearse there. My door is open and a lot of people are going to see the new API 1608.”