LA-based hard rock guitarist and established TV and film score composer Dave Kushner has upgraded his studio monitoring, choosing a pair of PMC twotwo.8 monitors.
Kushner, respected for his scorching guitar and bass work with Wasted Youth, Electric Love Hogs, Loaded and Velvet Revolver, has been working as a producer and composer from his own studio since Velvet Revolver’s final tour in 2008.
“I had just had my first child,” he explains, “and I thought, ‘Well, I can work by going on tour as a musician, but I’m going to be away from home all the time’. So my Plan B was to produce and compose from home.”
A friend of Kushner’s, Bob Thiele, had been contracted to create music for a new TV show for the FX cable network, Sons of Anarchy, and collaborated with Kushner on the music. Kushner co-wrote the series theme, which was nominated for an Emmy and won an ASCAP award. “That began to open doors,” he explains. Since then, he has provided themes and scores for TV shows Detroit 1-8-7 (for ABC), Sullivan & Son, and Bill Burr’s F is for Family (the latter pair for Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Productions), amongst others.
Recently, Kushner formed a creative partnership with Rupert Parkes, who has also moved into soundtrack composition in recent years alongside his releases under the name of Photek. The pair, both represented by the Gorfaine/Schwartz agency, home to some of LA’s soundtrack composers, now work from a three-room studio in Los Angeles, collaborating on projects and also working solo. The collaboration with Parkes also gave Kushner his introduction to PMC monitors, early in 2014.
“Rupert was testing out a pair of twotwo.8s, and wanted me to hear them, as he was so impressed,” explains Kushner. “They sounded absolutely great. I did some research on the company on-line after that, liked what I read, and wanted to know more.”
At around that time, Kushner was asked to give a production and composition masterclass at London’s Metropolis Studios, and when he crossed the Atlantic for the event in April 2014, he was given a tour of the studio and a chance to hear PMC monitors of all kinds in Metropolis’s various studios. “We tried all of the combinations of PMC monitoring they had. The highlight was listening to 5.1 playbacks over the BB5 XBD-As in the surround mastering room. They put on some of the surround material from the Beatles’ Love project, which was mastered there. It was awesome.”
Following his return to the States, Kushner decided that his room should be set up to be as consistent as possible with Rupert Parkes’ studio, so that the pair could swap work in progress without the choice of studio affecting their mixes. This meant upgrading his speakers from his existing Mackie HR824s to the twotwo.8s Parkes was already using.
“I went from using Yamaha NS10s to the Mackies, because you find them in a lot of TV editing places here in LA,” he explains. “You have to work hard at a mix to get it sounding good on NS10s, whereas the Mackies flatter what you’re working on. The PMCs have been a really good middle ground — their clarity lets me hear exactly what’s going on in my mix, particularly at the low end. I never need to put a subwoofer on, unless I’m just playing back a track to somebody for effect, and I really want to accentuate the bass.”
Since installing the PMC twotwo.8s, Rupert Parkes has worked on scores for Fox’s ‘Gang-related’, and Shonda Rhimes’ hit ABC series ‘How To Get Away With Murder’. Kushner is working with a rotating cast of rock musicians on a virtual rock band concept entitled PusherJones, which he describes as “a hard rock version of Gorillaz”. The long-term plan is for a TV show in half-hour episodes featuring the virtual band, with live tours presented by 3D holographic animations. “We’re currently working with Titmouse Animation, who created Metalocalypse and China IL, and Matt Maiellaro, who did Aqua Teen Hunger Force, on the TV show part,” he concludes. “There’s so much material to draw on from my experiences in Velvet Revolver and other bands.”