Remember our velvet suit interview w/ Sara Kosa after she built her Les Paul? Well, since then, her old band (Young American Artists) imploded, she started and left (on good terms) a new band (Hell Mary), and she continues to exercise her love for audio, sound and music by working behind the board as a recording engineer where she does everything from tracking, to mixing, to mastering. Recently, she gave us a brief (and modest) look into what got her to where she is now.
How long have you been recording and what got you into it?
I started recording about 5 years ago. The funny thing is I don’t actually remember how or why I got into it. I started out at William Paterson as a Music Business major and within a month realized that was a horrible idea. Somehow I ended up talking to Dave Kerzner, head of the audio program, and switched my major to Sound Engineering Arts.
What’s the experience of recording your own band?
I try to treat it the same as recording any other band. I’ve heard other engineers say they don’t like recording their own band and that it’s frustrating, but I don’t mind it. I can separate myself from it…I try to treat it like my band members are the client. There can be downsides to it, but ultimately I don’t mind recording my own band.
What is your favorite type of band to record and why?
I like recording punk/indie bands, probably because it’s what I mostly listen to. But, I usually end up enjoying anything I record.
What’s your favorite step of the recording process?
Probably mixing…it’s when I get to really work with what’s been recorded and [try to] make it sound good.
How do you find bands to record?
It seems to happen through word-of-mouth and meeting people at shows.
What recording is your favorite sounding and why? Least favorite?
One of my favorites is Presidents of the United States of America’s “Love Everybody” …which might sound like a weird choice haha, I’ve heard it described as ‘plain’, but..I don’t know I just really like how that album sounds. I love the tonality of everything, especially the drums…and I think it sounds so loud without sounding over-compressed. I don’t think I have a least favorite, at least not that I can think of right now.
I gotta ask this one. Women on the recording end of the “industry”seem to be a rarity? Has that effected your experience in any way?
It does seem to be a rarity, even in college there were (and still are) very few girls in the program. Sometimes I think it could make it harder. Similarly to like how I get treated as a girl that plays guitar…in punk/hardcore bands. People seem to not expect it.
Why should people record with you?
I care about making a good product and people happy more than I care about making money.
What do you do when you’re not recording music?
I play music, and during weekdays I work freelance editing audio books.
There you have it, told ya it was brief! Sara tracked, played guitar on, mixed and mastered the EP below and you can find out more info on her by clicking ‘recording engineer’ above. Talk about a workhorse!:
Last week Dylan (drums) fell ill and could not attend or play the scheduled Hell Mary show at the meatlocker. He gave Steve from 96 the go-ahead and Steve learned an abridged set, an hour before the show. The show also marked Sara’s (guitar) last show with the band. She left on good terms and will continue to pursue recording. Check out part of the set below. You can still purchase “Forever on the Fence” which is limited to 200 by clicking HERE.
In 2010, Eric Stroud, shark enthusiast, bought a church in the small town of Canajoharie, NY in order to take advantage of the immaculate organ that it houses. In the summer of 2011, he opened its doors for a weekend to let 13 bands stay, play and record. This is documentary of that weekend. Despite this being a “church” retreat, there was nothing really religious about it except for the fact that Eric’s a saint for letting us do this! Download full sets FOR FREE here: http://www.ccrlive.bandcamp.com
Sara Kosa works behind the scenes as an engineer editing audio books and recording bands. However, you may have caught Sara and her beautiful DIY axe on the scene at a recent Young American Artists‘ show. She finished the project late last year and the results are awe-inspiring! I’m reluctant to even call this guitar a Les Paul copy because of the unique qualities it has on it’s own. She had a lot of interesting things to say about the guitar and process in a recent interview with Bedside Manner. Full interview and photos below…Oh, and I assure you, a velvet suit was worn during the questioning…
Bedside Manner: Can you give us the specs of your guitar…pickups, electronics, finish, etc…
Sara Kosa: The guitar is a Les Paul style. The body/neck are solid mahogany. The bridge pickup is a Gibson Burstbucker, and the neck pickup is the stock pickup that came with the electronics kit (and it’s actually not bad by the way). Electronics came with the neck/body kit I ordered, but I upgraded the parts from www.stewmac.com (which is a really awesome website that has literally every possible tool/part you could ever want to build an instrument from pickups to sheets of pearl). Apparently Les Pauls are wired so that the neck pickup volume/tone knobs are on top, with the bridge knobs on the bottom…but that felt really weird to me so I wired it the opposite way. I got Grover Locking Tuners and new volume/tone knobs from stew-mac also. For the finish we used Varathane wood conditioner pre-stain and Varathane Premium Wood Stain ‘Golden Mahogany’, and many coats of lacquer (which was sprayed on in my backyard hanging from a basketball hoop haha – not the best way to do it but my only option.) The finish was .. finished with wet sanding to make it very shinyyy. The input jack is a Neutrik connector (the kind that locks the connector in place so it doesn’t get pulled out).
Click readmore for the rest of the interview and pretty pictures!
North Jersey’s Witness recently made their 2011 demo available for free on their BANDCAMP page HERE. Don’t expect songs anywhere near their debut demo. Think heavy feedback, riff-heavy madness, and vocals shouted from the moon. Sounds like something you could dig? What are you waiting for!?!? Sara Kosa of Young American Artists took on the tracking/mixing duties for these cuts. If you’re looking for affordable and solid recordings contact us and we can send you in her direction.
In other related news Witness recently added Jon to the mix to fill the bass duties-a move that will certainly keep them pushing in the right direction. Also, check Witness, Young American Artists, Mi Barrio and others out this Thursday at the Meatlocker. We’ll be posting a flyer for that soon. In the meantime, check out the event-page for it HERE. Oh and I just happened to give Eddie Cuddy (guitar) a ride to work the other day when I saw him walking on the side of the road at twilight. I thought he was inspired by our walking post to get out there and walk, but it turns out he is just carless. Go figure. Either way, it was cold and he was grateful. haha