The Deli NYC issue #50, Baby Shakes, Best of 2017, NYC MixCon

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NYC BANDS & GEAR Issue #50 Vol. #3 Spring 2017

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Best of N YC 2017 + NYC M ix C on


the deli

Deli Readers, Historical music venues (Cake Shop) and rehearsal studios (Flood) close, venerable record stores (Other Music) call it quits, and what was just a few years ago considered the heart of the NYC music scene (Williamsburg) stops beating. And yet, the Big Apple doesn’t cease to churn out great music.

the magazine aboutthe emerging nyc scene bands everything about nyc music Issue #50 Vol. #3 Spring 2017 Editor In Chief / Publisher

Paolo De Gregorio Founder

Charles Newman Editor

Olivia Sisinni executive Editor

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Kevin Blatchford Contributing Writers

Ryan Dembinsky Brandon Stoner Interns

Lilly Milman Ethan Ames Tafari Lemma Allie Miller Pearse Devlin Publishers

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Today’s New York scene looks like a far cry from the one we were covering (and discovering) when issue #1 of The Deli came out back in 2004, but the constant flow of young creative minds—guaranteed by the numerous colleges—will never cease to make this city a melting pot of ideas, talent, and art. And, of course, there are still plenty of rough neighborhoods in NYC where musicians and artists can move, share dingy apartments, and make life in the city affordable for themselves for a few years (that is, before word gets out to the nine-to-fivers that the neighborhood is now kind of cool). This issue gathers almost 100 emerging bands and artists, but they are just a tiny fraction of the musical input NYC is pumping out. If you want to get a better idea of what’s going on musically in the five boroughs you can’t stop here. Living the scene and going to small shows on a regular basis is the best way to do that. You can use our NYC blog (nyc. as a guide for local talent that deserves attention—we recently renovated it, check it out! Paolo De Gregorio

Raise your voice. XS Wireless 1 & 2 microphone systems

As a singer, speaker or instrumentalist, you want to connect with your audience. Focus on your message – not on the equipment. Be confident. To meet those demands, Sennheiser created the XS Wireless microphone system. Thanks to its intuitive, one-touch scanning and synchronization, XS Wireless 1 combines exceptional ease of use with great sound quality. If you’re ready to take the next step, XS Wireless 2 offers additional control, flexibility and ruggedness to withstand the toughest live conditions. It’s time to raise your voice. For all microphone options, visit:

Raise your voice. XS Wireless 1 & 2 microphone systems. As a singer, speaker or instrumentalist, you want to connect with your audience. Focus on your message – not on the equipment. Be confident. To meet those demands, Sennheiser created the XS Wireless microphone system. Thanks to its intuitive, one-touch scanning and synchronization, XS Wireless 1 combines exceptional ease of use with great sound quality. If you’re ready to take the next step, XS Wireless 2 offers additional control, flexibility and ruggedness to withstand the toughest live conditions. It’s time to raise your voice. For all microphone options visit

Fresh Buzz | New Artists

Cigarettes After Sex

Greg Gonzales relocated to Brooklyn at the end of 2015, and the move seems to have proved beneficial. Since then, his mellow, twangy, dreamy band, Cigarettes After Sex, has developed noteworthy buzz thanks to both their beautiful new record Affection, and their powerfully intimate live performances. Greg’s voice, magnetic and androgynous, conveys an aura of ambiguity and mystery to his ghostly material. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Photo: Ebru Yildiz


Brooklyn-based Vagabon, an indie rock project spearheaded by Laetita Tamko, navigates the spaces between dulcet tones and crunchy feedback effortlessly. While every track on her Persian Garden EP is worth spending time with, “Cold Apartment Floors” is a distinct standout, featuring the juxtaposition of thick, noisy guitars, against Tamko’s soft vocals; resonating like thunder and rain. (Olivia Sisinni)

Deem Spencer

Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

Guerilla Toss

The truly insane bands that last more than a few months are often the ones that deliver creatively satisfying records later in their career, when the mayhem of their youthful and disruptive energy gets moderated by a more grown-up search for... a meaning? Brand new single “The String Game” by Guerrilla Toss seems to suggest precisely this development. The song channels the band’s creativity and innate restlessness in more cerebral ways than they got us used to, which could also be seen as a consequence of their move to brainy NYC (where the band relocated last year from New England). The production here is truly spectacular with fragments of guitar and synths building an arrangement that’s at once fun and totally unique. (Paolo De Gregorio) 6

the deli Spring 2017

Deem conveys a vibe both rare and compelling. Though the beats sometimes feel under-produced, his approach feels honest and similarly candid. Deem doesn’t rap so much as he tells it like it is. He’s melodic and raw: in the single “soap” from his sunflower EP, he croons “If I cared about some money I’d be in college wasting it. Hate itself a sin and I hate sinnin’.” It is combinations like this that crack open truths only discernible through poetry. Deem Spencer is the freshest laureate. (BrokeMc)

Records of the Month Tiny Hazard

Ian Sweet

There aren’t a lot of bands like Tiny Hazard floating around these days. Their brand of avant-pop is unique and it’s partially due to the fact that the music they’ve strived to master is difficult to conceive (let alone perform). Maybe that’s why their new album Greyland took about five years to be finalized. Alena Spanger’s vocals are at the core of the record, navigating sonic twists and turns with her exacting soprano, never afraid to get downright intense. There’s a paradoxical stance taken with the composition—melodies pivot back and forth from sweet to dissonant, and the arrangements swing from orchestral to utterly noisy. The songs are sparse in their instrumentation but tease the ear with their stops and starts, time changes, odd tempos, and dynamic and melodic shifts. There’s so much to be worked out for the listener on this album that repeated plays are required to appreciate it fully—it’s truly a gift that keeps on giving. (Andrew Strader)

Trio Ian Sweet, the brainchild of Los Angelinos guitarist Jilian Medford, relocated from Boston to Brooklyn in 2016 and garnered a fair amount of interest since the move—and with good reason. Their most recent release, Shapeshifter, delivers a sound that’s edgy, fun and mature. It’s a mix of math rock, indie pop, and psychedelia that marries the cerebral and the imaginative in surprising ways. Jillian’s voice, always distorted in a blurry way, conveys a violent brightness to the tracks, and is at times reminiscent of early Bjork. The record is a constant surprise, full of incredibly vibrant sounds, often drenched with a rare passion (‘2soft2chew’) but also prone to playfulness (‘All Skaters Go To Heaven’). The feeling we get is that Shapeshifter is a sonic portrait of a band in the perfect musical sweet spot that confidently balances a youthful imagination with quality songwriting, and a sound that’s daring without being over-produced. (Paolo De Gregorio)

The Shacks


Feel like sending a chill through your old, mortal soul? Put on the eponymous, debut EP from The Shacks. Shannon Wise’s whispery voice and her simple but memorable melodies certainly charmed us to the core, but it was Max Shrager’s production (which updates the dream-pop genre in welcome ways) that drove the point home. Catch a cover of Ray Davies’ “Strange Effect,” which—slowed and stripped down—is the haunting opener. The more experimental “Orchids” follows lullaby “Left it With Moon,” and shows off the musical variety and exploration for which The Shacks strive. More traditional dream-folk track “Tidal Waves” evokes dreams of summer, while the reggae-infused “Hands In Your Pockets”—with joyful bursts of slide guitar and innocent-sounding harmonies–bubbles with repressed youthful angst; a beat holding back a torrent of emotion. Least but not last, the collaborative track “Strange Boy” (with instrumental NYC band El Michels Affair), offers a glimpse into the ways The Shacks’ sound could evolve in the future with a more produced approach. (Will Sisskind)

Brooklyn-based Evolfo plays garage rock with the sort of heart, grit, and flourishes you’d expect from a group of vinyl store junkies with a massive b-side collection. The band, an ensemble of music school students who originally united (to much acclaim) in Boston, crafts tunes that play like a well-curated list of late ’60s-’70s cult hits. They’ve created a reputation for songs that are visceral, infectious, and immediately bewitching, and their most recent release, Last of the Acid Cowboys, does not disappoint. From the crunch of opening track “Vision of Sin,” to the bluesy saunter of “Moon Eclipsed the Sun,” the record manages to cover a lot of ground but never relinquishes its too-cool, oldschool vibes. Tracks like “Frank the Fiddler” add a swirling, synth-led mystique to the album but the core of the LP is the brash and brazen garage rock fun pulsing throughout it. All in all, Last of the Acid Cowboys is an electric record that puts a much-welcomed twist on revivalism. (Olivia Sisinni)


Self-Titled EP


the deli Spring 2017


Last of the Acid Cowboys

Feature | Recording

Recording, in NYC, in 2017. main feature by

Justin Colletti


Illustration by

Sylvie Smith



the deli Spring 2017


ver the past few decades, the costs of recording equipment have plummeted. Today $5,000 to $10,000 in funds can allow you to assemble a recording system that might have required a half-million dollar investment in 1993. There are some things that don’t change, however. In 2017, the most expensive parts of the recording process remain time, talent and labor: the price of rent, utilities and soundproof construction will always rise – in particular in NYC. And for all of our time-saving advances, records aren’t made that much quicker, either. If anything, there’s a trend toward production taking longer, as the all important pre-production phase becomes an increasingly glossed-over step among new bands, often melding with the production process itself. Two of the most common questions we get from musicians here at SonicScoop are: “How much should I budget to record a full length album?” And, “If I want to record my next album myself, how much do I really need to spend on gear?” On a similar theme, one of the more common questions we get from new studio owners is: “How much do you think I should be charging?” Today’s story will try to address all three of these questions— plus an even more important one that you might not be asking yourself. Namely: “Should I even be recording an album at all?” We’ll go over three models for recording an album, compare their strengths and weaknesses, and estimate the costs of each. We’ll be drawing on some past research we’ve done, as well as some fresh new survey data we’ve collected as of 2017. But first, let’s visit that most important of questions that you can ask yourself in this arena:

It’s 2017. Should I be making an album at all? Let’s face it: We’re back in a “singles” culture once again. This tends to happen every time a new consumer audio technology emerges, and every time a large new generation starts consuming music en masse. Perhaps someday, as millennials continue to age, albums will become ascendant again. But until then, the great bulk of the “echo boom” generation is under the age of 30, and their pur-

chasing and listening habits seem to be driven more by the fresh new single than the full-length magnum opus. That’s not to say that no one sells albums. Of course they do! It’s just that if you’re planning on selling an album, you should have a fan base first. Wait… you don’t have any fans yet? Let’s work on that first.

A Better Way to Build Fans (…And end up recording an album along the way) Fine, fine. I’ll eventually give you what you want: But before we get there, I’m going to tell you what you actually need to know: Don’t start by recording an album. Start by recording songs. Think about it for a minute. If you can’t sell me on one song, how the hell do you expect to be able to sell me on 12? Start there. That’s how so many of the greats did it in generations past. Can you get me truly, deeply excited about one song? If so, great! Make another. If not? Too bad this time, make another. And another. Maybe you’ll finally find your voice and start truly connecting with people on song #3 or #5. Then, do more of that. (While always remembering to try new things.) Write and record one really great song. Get people interested in it. Succeed or fail, make another one. Get it out there. Let the cold hard world judge it. How much should this cost to do? Fortunately, not much more than recording them all at once. Plus, there’s the added bonus that you don’t have to invest quite as much money to get started—all while giving yourself the opportunity to build a fan base along the way. Once you’ve got that fan base, then we can start talking about making your next album from scratch, all at once.

1. How Much Will This “One-SongAt-A-Time” Approach Cost? To pursue this strategy, I’d recommend booking 1 or 2 days at a reasonably well-equipped studio with a reasonably experienced (and personable) producer or engineer. the deli Spring 2017


Choose wisely, because one of the major reasons some artists are scared away from “proper” recording studios for life is due to a formative experience with a jerky recording engineer that they didn’t connect with, but chose to work with anyway, just because they were affordable. Ask for referrals from artists you respect and can relate to. Listen to their past work. Meet them in person. Shop around with more than one option. Based on my 2013 analysis of recording studio rates I found that—of the ones in New York that listed their day rates publicly—all of them fell between $400 and $825/day with engineer, with the most common rates being $400, $600 and $650. Studios that did not publicly list their rates tended to cost more, often as high as the $1000-$1500/day range, with a precious few of them going as high as $2000 or $3000/day. Today, based on our most recent surveys, fewer commercial studios seem to be found in the New York City area that advertise rates in the $400$500 range. Prices appear to have risen slightly at both ends of the spectrum, with a bulk of mid-level commercial studios in the still-very-attractive $600-$700/day range—and with much nicer accoutrements than similarly priced NYC studios would have had in the past.

proach” to recording your first album.

Costs and Caveats Depending on the way you decide to play it, this brings us to a low figure of $500 per song and a high figure of $3000 per song. As a general rule, anticipating to spend between $500 and $1500 per song for a satisfyingly well-produced and well-realized track is a pretty good place to start. Let’s call it $1000. Please note that there may be additional costs, depending on how much of the production you’re able to do yourself. The scenario above assumes that you (or you-plus-bandmates) are able to write, arrange and perform all the music yourself, and that you can demo the songs in advance on your own. If the studio or producer you have selected needs to source musicians for you, expect to pay at least $75-$300 for each player, depending on how long you will need each of them. (Also: Expect not to hire the very cheapest producer on your list, especially if you need their help arranging the song.) For professional mastering with a credible craftsperson, expect to spend anywhere from $50 all the way up to $300 per song.

“Think about it for a minute. If you can’t sell me on one song, how the hell do you expect to be able to sell me on 12?”

With this in mind, I would generally recommend connecting with a solid engineer you respect in the $500-$850/day range to start. If you come in very well-prepared, and with all your own musicians sourced, you should be able to record—and even mix—one amazingly-well-realized song in just one day. This is sometimes referred to as the “George Martin Approach” or, as I like to call it, the “Song A Day” approach. Do this once a month for a year and you will have an album at the end of the year. Hey, it worked for the Beatles… If you are just getting started, this approach is generally a much better idea than sitting on 12 songs as you record them in breaks between work over the course of a year and a half, only to finally release them into an uncaring void as the band splits up. That, is what I like to call “The Conventional Ap12

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To maximize even further on your sessions, you could look at recording two songs on one day, and mixing them both on a subsequent day. This approach does require that you demo, demo, demo, demo.

2. The Conventional Approach If you either already have a fanbase, or significant prior recording experience then the conventional, all-at-once approach is another viable way to go. The first and most important part of this process is to demo all the songs you plan to record. You can do this on your own YouTube channel, in your home studio, or by booking 1-2 days in a less expensive studio (or even a decently equipped rehearsal space) with your producer. Ignore this part of the process at your own peril. This exercise


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Professional Effects Plug-ins

will very likely make or break your album. Countless bands have skipped this step, only to realize how they should have really pursued each song after the album was already completed. Expect to spend anywhere from $0-$4,000 on this pre-production part of the process. $500-$1000 is probably a good mid-level target, but you can only achieve it with a band of solid, fast learning players. Then, you’ll want to record your basic rhythm tracks. Expect to be able to lay down 3-4 well-executed songs per day over 2-3 days at a total cost of $800-$8,000. $1,200-$2,400 is probably a pretty good mid-level target. Then you’ll want to do overdubs. Expect to budget at least another 2-3 full days (though perhaps at a less expensive rate in a slightly smaller room, or even in a well-equipped project studio) for another $700-$7,000, with a mid-level target of $1,000-$2,000. Then, for mixing, you will probably want to anticipate at least $250/song from a credible mixer, all the way up to $2,500/song or more for an incredible mixer. Let’s call this $2,400 – $4,800 for pretty good mid-level work.

Just bear in mind that every hour you spend learning the recording side of your craft is an hour that you’re not working on your songwriting, or your performance chops, or playing live, or connecting with audiences. When it comes to setting up your own home studio, the gear is actually the smallest part of the total cost. It’s the often-unseen opportunity cost that will take the real toll on both your financial and your artistic bottom-line. Do you want to spend 15 hours more per week thinking about recording technology and techniques and 15 hours less per week thinking about making music? Only you can answer that question, but it’s a question you should be asking yourself. If your primary goal is to be a musician, then keeping overhead (and the learning curve) low is key. If your goal is to be a producer or engineer, then the sky’s the limit. Just don’t lie to yourself about what approach you are primarily looking to take. As the cliché goes: A jack of all trades is a master of none. Like most clichés, it is a cliché for a reason. As far as specific equipment goes, you could just use the built-in mic on whatever computer or phone you already own and call it a day. But most people who take recording themselves seriously will end up wanting to spend, at a minimum, $100$1,200 each on one or two microphones, $200-$1,200 on an interface, $100-$1,200 on software, $50-$500 on headphones, $300-$2,000 on speakers.

“If your primary goal is to be a musician, then keeping overhead (and the learning curve) low is key.”

Add this up, and you’ve got a rate range of anywhere from about $4,000 to $[infinity symbol] with a good mid-level target of about $5,000 – $10,000. Again, this assumes that you (or you-plus-bandmates) can write, arrange and perform everything yourselves. And, we have left off mastering, which you might want to budget anywhere from $500-$3,000 for. Naturally, this paradigm changes quite a bit if you are working on electronic, hip hop or some forms of modern pop music. Similarly, artists who repeatedly hone their craft in front of live audiences may be able to record a full album with a “live in the studio” approach, all within a day or two, plus perhaps, a day or two of mixing.

All that is for a two-channel system, and is not to mention any acoustic treatment, control surface, forgone use-value of living space, opportunity cost, or the need to buy a more powerful computer than the one you already own. Leaving all those out of the equation (the wisdom of which is quite questionable) gives us a range of $750 – $7,300 for a pretty cheap or pretty decent two-channel system, respectively.

3. The Home Studio Approach

All of a sudden that aforementioned “$5,000” number for a fairly modest system of decent quality and power doesn’t sound too far-fetched. It’s funny how things can start to add up.

Sure, you could start off by buying all of your own studio gear and recording yourself. That’s fine. If you want to pursue recording as a hobby or as a career, that’s especially great!

Just keep that in mind when you weigh building a home studio against working with a truly lovely producer or engineer that you respect and admire. d


the deli Spring 2017

best emerging nyc artists 2017 The Best of NYC issue is the result of months spent polling local “scene-makers” (mostly small venue talent scouts, bloggers, and industry insiders) about their favorite emerging local acts. There is also an element of popular vote in it, and that’s why you’ll notice that every genre category in the next section has both an overall winner and a readers’ poll one. The process is very resource intensive and the whole operation tends to make our winters a lot more stressful than they should be, but it does produce our most popular issue of the year, so... enjoy it while you can! A big thank you is in order to all the jurors who helped us identify the best emerging NYC bands in this poll (you’ll find the list on the side), and to all the Deli writers and readers who also contributed with their vote. 1. Baby Shakes 2. Bangladeafy! 3. Breanna Barbara 4. Big Thief 5. Margaret Glaspy 6. Cut Worms 7. Ex Reyes 8. Sam Evian 9. Surf Rock Is Dead 9. Bailen 11. Ela Minus 12. Pavo Pavo 13. The Casey Hopkins Duo 13. Baby Acid 13. Latasha Alcindor 16. Navy Gangs 17. Zuli 17. Dakota Jones 19. Yoke Lore 20. Wistons 21. The Skins 22. Vagabon

22. Macula Dog 24. Sean Mcverry 24. The National Reserve 24. Paris Monster 24. Thick 24. Plastic Picnic 24. Fall of the Albatross 30. Stuyedeyed 31. Haybaby 32. Cigarettes After Sex 33. Crying 33. Lawrence 33. Danielle Grubb 36. Cloud Becomes your Hand 37. Maggie Rogers 38. Death Vacation 39. Eli Tyler 39. Gates 40. Cassandra Jenkins 41. NOLIFE 42. The End of America 42. Rachel Angel

45. Forth Wanderers 46. Swoon Lake 46. Raycee Jones 48. Glassio 49. Patio 50. Moontooth 50. Rhea 50. Ben Talmi 53. Prima 54. New Tarot 54. Wall 56. Overcoats 56. True Blue 58. Akinyemi 58. Soccer Mommy 58. The Lemon Twigs 58. Squad Car 58. J. Hoard 63. Zula 64. Citris 65. Julia Haltigan 66. Howth

— Jurors —

Rami (PopGun Presents) Lauren (Northside Media Group) Katie (National Sawdust) Hannah (City Winery) Chris (Alphaville) Christopher (Good Room) Matt (Rockwood Music Hall) Paolo (The Deli) Paul (The Knit) Christine (Sofar Sounds) Brett (LPR NYC) Michelle (Bowery Ballroom) Tim (ASCAP) Eric (The Wild Honey Pie) Alex (Webster Hall) Patrick & Claire

(Oh My Rockness) Tyler (Brooklyn Bazaar) Greg (The Delancey) Diane (Bowery Electric) Grace (Arlene’s Grocery)

66. King Neptune 66. The Saylavees 66. Arthur Moon 70. Peaer 71. Pronoun 72. Arogonaut and Wasp 73. Not Blood Paint 74. Bbigpigg 75. Cafuné 76. Von Sell 77. Deal Casino 78. Aaron Taos 79. Young Sid & the Professors 80. Active Bird Community 81. Public Acess TV 82. Bellows 83. White Lighters 84. United Nations 85. Julian Lage 86. Bob Mann and Rolling Thunder the deli Spring 2017


best emerging nyc artists 2017


baby shakes

Creating an appealing hybrid of upbeat rock and roll drawing from classic era punk, glam and ’60s girl groups, New York City’s The Baby Shakes have topped The Deli Magazine’s Best NYC 2017 poll for emerging bands. With an ethos rooted in NYC’s original NY glam and punk movements, Mary, Judy, Claudia and Ryan blend the Dolls, Ramones and Phil Spector’s girl groups into a visual and sonic amalgam. Having recently released their third album Turn It Up, the band continues to tour both overseas and locally, paying homage to that pretty-but-tough motorcycle gang style.


the deli Spring 2017 Photo: Nate Frohn

You’ve recently completed another successful tour of Japan. How many does that make now? This was our third Japanese tour and we have to say it’s one of our favorite countries to play. The audiences are wild and so much fun! Japan is a beautiful country and the Japanese are sweet, sincere people who are very passionate about what they love, especially music! After a show, everyone from the venue meets up at an “izakaya” (an affordable all-night bar/restaurant) and we continue the party with yummy food and nonstop sake till early morning. Turn It Up is your third album. Did you have a bigger budget for it? As our albums are self-released on our own label Lil’ Chewy Records, we work within a tight budget. Using funds from selling our last LP to record and release it, we started writing songs while we were still touring in support of “Starry Eyes,” booking several recording and mixing sessions when back in town. We nearly drove ourselves mad trying to meet our goal in such a short amount of time, but we’re happy with how it turned out. You present an upbeat glammy punk-rock attitude live, and cite The NY Dolls as an influence. Yes, we love the NY Dolls! When we met we all had similar style and taste. Over time, as we’ve evolved as a band so has our style collectively. Sometimes it’s fun wearing similar outfits, especially when we’re playing festivals with other bands. We find that people like it when we match (particularly in Japan), since being an entertainer is not just about the music but the overall experience. Many of the bands we like and are influenced by wore matching outfits like ’70s groups Mud, Rubettes, Bay City Rollers, rockers like Carol and the Ramones, and of course all of the ’60s girl groups that we adore. Your band seems to thrive on touring the world whenever possible. Are there any down sides to all that travel? To us touring is really the best way to travel. Being musicians on the road we’ve been lucky enough to play with amazing bands and meet cool people that we have a lot in common with. We

really appreciate it when people show us around their cities, take us to see the sights and introduce us to new delicious food. We learn so much and we’ve really enjoyed expanding our knowledge about different cultures. The worst thing is coming back home and getting those post-tour blues... but at least we have fun shows in NY to look forward to between tours. You’ve added some select covers to your live show. Do you actively search out songs from past eras that might be a good fit for you? Yes! We love so many bands from prior eras (specifically Good Vibrations and the Northern Irish Punk scene, Australian ’70s/early ’80s punk and garage, and ’70s/’80s American and British power pop). We’re always looking for obscure music that matches the style of what we like to play. What movie, past or current could you see any of your music in? Right off the bat we’d have to say “Gremlins”, “Uncle Buck” or any Molly Ringwald movie from the ’80s. How do you listen to music most of the time these days? Record collecting is our favorite past time and biggest obsession. We also listen to the radio when we can. We love WFMU because the DJs have very specific taste in music. It’s a good way to find out about new bands, local shows and they also interview a lot of the musicians that we look up to from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. What else interests you? Do you have any favorite authors or books you would like to recommend? We do everything from designing our own record covers and merchandise to creating our music videos and photo shoots. There’s also the business aspect that comes with running our own record label. It’s this passion that keeps us going strong and our amazing friends and fans keep us inspired! Some books to check out: A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole, The Football Factory - John King, any and all of Haruki Murakami’s work. (Dave Cromwell)

The Baby Shakes’ Pedals


Judy and Mary: “The Boss Blues Driver pedal is super versatile and gives you that great bluesy sound. It also has subtle overdrive and distortion so the pedal works perfectly with almost any amp. It sounds great with both our Rickenbacker and Telecaster guitars and gives you an old vintage amp sound.”


Electro-Harmonix Bass BIG MUFF Pi

Claudia: “I like to use the EHX Big Muff for our more “Glammy” songs to get that classic fuzzed out, spacey, distorted ’70s sound. With this pedal you can really control the amount of fuzz you add without losing your original bass tones. The bass boost switch really helps the low end notes punch through so it’s not just all high end fuzz.”

the deli Spring 2017


best emerging nyc artists 2017 Photo: Nick Spadafora

Bangladeafy’s Pedals

Jon Ehlers: “I split my signal between the [BOSS] Power Stack and the [BOSS] Compression [Sustainer] and blend them through the Morley ABY, which is the core of the Bangladeafy tone. I liked how bass distortion pedals have the option to blend clean and dirty but generally wasn’t crazy about the tones most bass distortion pedals have, so this was my solution.” – Read more on



We’re really curious: where does the Narcopaloma name come from? We’ve been writing remotely by sending each other ideas through email and using them as skeletal references for our in person rehearsals. We sifted through various comparisons of this process and agreed that the concept of passenger pigeons sending messages back and forth was where we wanted to take it. I dug up a news story from Costa Rica in which a prison was having a problem with trained passenger pigeons smuggling in contraband. They were nicknamed by the locals as narcopaloma which translates to drug dove. We thought that was pretty nifty and it stuck! We’re well aware that it’s definitely a stretch and might be esoteric sounding. Additionally, the artwork seen on the cover and inside art are that of a macro lens closeup of the iridescent neck feathers of a pigeon taken by a friend and talented photographer, Brian Bonelli. 18

the deli Spring 2017

Bangladeafy has such a complex and unique sound, but if you had to boil your music down to 3 words, how would you describe it? PLEASE SEND HELP. Can you talk a bit about what the creative process is like? (i.e. are there rituals you return to in songwriting or is it always spontaneous, do you write together or apart?) There was a time where we wrote organically, as in, currently in the same room for the whole writing process, but that can take a while considering the music’s complexity. So as I had mentioned earlier, we turned to working remotely on each other’s ideas and it absolutely speeds up the process and frequency of completing songs. As for the individual process, Atif works off of a lot of books on world rhythms and rudiments and tends to develop ideas from there. As for myself, I will often start writing ideas on synth and then

translate it to bass. Although recently, we’ve been skipping the translation process and incorporating more songs that contain all synth. Shockingly, Bangladeafy is a duo (and it’s a configuration that obviously works), but do you find any musical challenges to not having more members? What are the advantages to the lineup you have? We have the luxury of being able to fit all our gear into a 4 door sedan, but if i’m informed of a working 8x10 cabinet on the backline of a venue, I would definitely lean towards that. Also, we split everything 2 ways, so that’s a little bit more moolah for the each of us. Any snag that we hit in the writing process where we feel like an extra element is needed just encourages us to figure out a way to fill that hole ourselves. An important disadvantage to note is that being only two people also means that the regular cost of business in the band is substantially higher for us, individually. (Olivia Sisinni)

best emerging nyc artists 2017 long story short, when the weekend came to end and it was time to head back to Florida, I told her that I wasn’t going back and that I was going to stay. It ended up being one the most exciting summers of my life. I got a guitar and befriended a lot of musicians and artists that lived there and just started playing my songs on the street, crashing on different people’s couches. Looking back, it was definitely a self-discovery time in my life.


breanna barbara

With her earth-shattering vocal yowls and Delta blues-inspired riffs, Breanna Barbara has become a name whispered among many music fans around not just New York, but also across America and even across the pond in Europe. Her passionate music and lyrics convey stories of finding light in darkness, self-discovery, and life’s physical and psychological journeys. The Deli spoke to Breanna about her record Mirage Dreams, her journey from the Midwest to the South to NYC, and her May performances in France and Switzerland. You’ve lived in places all across the country, from Minnesota to Florida to New York. Along your travels, which place has most inspired your music? I think my time spent in New Orleans ignited a

very special part of my musical journey. I first started listening to Delta blues when I was 18 living in Saint Augustine, FL, but it wasn’t until my stay in NOLA that I really felt something inside of me switch. Something about that city really inspired me to make music. That’s pretty cool. I’d like to hear more about your time in New Orleans. Funny story, actually. I had just graduated college at Florida School of the Arts for theatre and I had plans to move to California afterwards to continue studying acting. I had packed most of my things up at my apartment at the time and had a friend taking over my lease. My friend Kira had invited me to go to New Orleans with her and her sister for a weekend, so I packed a small bag and jumped in the car. To make a

Sounds like it. It sounds like a lot of your music—especially the songs on Mirage Dreams—come from different mental places and emotions as well. Which songs on the new album would you say were the most important to get out there? I would say “Daddy Dear” and “I’m Alright”... I wrote them the longest ago, but they came from some of my darkest moments. It’s nice to know they have made their way out into light now. Your music’s been described as “occult”, from what I’ve seen in other publications. Would you agree with that label, or would you describe your music in a different way? It’s funny; once the record was made, I asked my friend who was good at ‘genre-lizing’ (haha is that a thing?) to tell me what he thought it was, because at that time people were saying different things: Americana, dark country, blues, psychedelic... And then he said “Occult blues”. That one just seemed to sort of stick with people. And I definitely like the ideas it gives me. I have always been attracted to all things occult. And I think there is a part of my music that comes from a very hidden underworld type of place. But the funny thing about genres is that everyone hears something different, so overall I think labels are boring. I mean, I understand the use for them, but I don’t think anyone should abide by or be deterred by them. Someone recently wrote about my music associating it with something like “apocalyptic doom”, which works for me just as well. You either like something or you don’t; that’s the only label I prescribe to. (Will Sisskind) the deli Spring 2017


best emerging nyc artists 2017

alt folk

The National Reserve

Readers Poll Winner

Photo: Jonathan Snyder

Category Winner

Margaret Glaspy

Photo: Ebru Yildiz

Cassandra Jenkins

Big Thief 20

the deli Spring 2017

Swoon Lake

Julia Haltigan

Margaret Glaspy

At once hard-edged and intimate, jarring and softly sweet, it’s a losing task to try and tie Glaspy’s pristine talent to any predictable expectation. Faster and sunnier single “Emotion and Math” is another example of Margaret’s ambivalence, right from its title. (Lea Phillips)

Big Thief

We rewarded Big Thief with the cover of our winter 2017 issue of The Deli. The quartet already announced a follow-up to their stunning debut Masterpiece, and the first singles seem to point to a return to the more intimate and folky direction of Adrianne Lenker’s early demos. (Paolo De Gregorio)

The National Reserve Swoon Lake Genuine Americana bands are few and far between in NYC’s indie scene, and The National Reserve may be among the most authentic of them all. Their 2015 EP Easy Does It should hit all the right spots for anyone yearning for Western (and Southern) sounds. Twangy guitars, bluesy overtones and shuffling drums are arranged into compelling songs that merge bluesrock, folk and country. Lead-singer/guitarist Sean Walsh also has the perfect amount of scruffiness to his voice that adds the necessary character to the stories he tells. (Henry Solotaroff-Webber)

Cassandra Jenkins

There’s something instantly captivating about Cassandra Jenkin’s songwriting presence. The Brooklyn-based songstress wraps her music in a tender yet ethereal aura, while masterfully spinning new slants on classic imagery. On her latest single, “Red Lips,” Jenkins combines her breathy vocals with driving electronic pulses resulting in a track that feels soft but strong—accessible alt pop, enshrined with deeper lyricism. (Olivia Sisinni)

The “spooky folk” trio take a wonderful minimalist approach in their compositions, using delicate guitars and ambient synths. Front-woman Melodie Stancato wrote this song on her ukulele after spending her first night in her New York City apartment, alone. Her gentle crooning drives the haunting, joined occasionally by her bandmates with subtle harmonies. (John Honan)


Listening to Brooklyn rock quartet Howth’s latest album Trashy Milky Nothing Town, one is pleasantly reminded of great bands of old, while exhilarating in its fresh quirkiness. Lead singer Carl Creighton and his band do, in fact, seem to be aware of rock’s potential for eccentricity and, with this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-referencing work, they entertainingly and compellingly emit their own spunky oddness. (Zach Weg)

White Lighters

White Lighters may get a bad rep but NYbased Brandon Setta’s solo project is aiming to change that. Setta produces moody, atmospheric acoustic that feels intimate enough to convince you that you’re watching him perform from your living room. Soft, subtle, and devastating, White Lighter’s songs are like a knife to the back—leaving you totally unaware of what’s coming until the pain hits. (Olivia Sisinni)

Julia Haltigan

Julia Haltigan’s penetrating, low voice is so smooth and warm it sounds like the personification of a desert day. The instrumental arrangements may breathe wistful


airiness, but her sultry vocals are a guiding and grounding mechanism, moving elegantly and steadily throughout her catalog of reflective songs. (Geena Kloeppel)


Bailen is a group of young NYC musicians that, since 2014, has been growing a local and online audience by reinterpreting, in acoustic and folky fashion, big mainstream hits by artists like Disclosure and Ariana Grande. Thanks to their celestial harmonizing and flawless performances, these singles, stripped of their commercial frills, take a life of their own. In 2016 they released their first original track entitled ‘Something Tells Me,’ a soulful ballad that showcases a band with noteworthy songwriting chops. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Julian Lage

Guitars have been around for a really long time, but no one has ever heard one quite like Julian Lage’s. The twenty-six-year-old jazz guitar virtuoso released his first instrumental work in 2015, a rich feast for the ears that combined technical complexity and skill with the intimacy of classic guitar. Lage, who has built himself quite a reputation after being discovered as a prodigy (he is the subject of the 1997 Oscar-nominated short documentary feature, Jules at 8), has released a new single, entitled “Nocturne”; accompanied by a trio, Lage embraces electric nuances in this adventurous track off of the 2016 LP, Arclight. (Valentina Rocha)

Bob Mann and Rolling Thunder

If you could bottle up good old-fashioned, countrified American rock music, you’d get Tennessee honey whiskey...or Bob Mann. His songs sound faithfully homegrown, with lyrics and melodies that have a certain youthful sweetness and arrangements that hone in on that rock guitar and drum-driven groove. (Geena Kloeppel)


[See Fresh Buzz section on page 6.] the deli Spring 2017


best emerging nyc artists 2017

alt soul/blues

Readers Poll Winner

Category Winner

The Casey Hopkins Duo

Dakota Jones

The Skins

Photo: Ryan Jay

Sean McVerry

Raycee Jones

Danielle Grubb 22

the deli Spring 2017

Eli Tyler

The Casey Hopkins Duo

The Casey Hopkins Duo has a huge sound for a two man project. The Brooklyn-based band plays unapologetic, bluesy rock ‘n’ roll with a brazen swagger and an eye to psych bands of the late ’60s. Their latest release, Touch EP, was recorded to tape and has all the warmth and crackle of an old rock record, but the addition of some sinisterly fuzzy guitars keeps the band sounding unlike classic-rock, copycat acts. (Olivia Sisinni)

Dakota Jones

Dakota Jones is a Brooklyn-based four piece specializing in the type of soulful rock that’s guaranteed to melt away even the steeliest hearts. With warm, roots-rock guitar licks, and singer Tristan Carter-Jones’s honey-sweet vocals, the band makes unfussy music that refuses to compromise on visceral punches. (Olivia Sisinni)

the skins

After debuting with a few rocking singles in 2014, Brooklyn’s soul band The Skins returned in 2016 with a tantalizing blend of ’90s R&B and contemporary hip-hop. On their EP, Still Sleep, each song is tightly hook-oriented and provides sense of urgency to the entire five-track release. (Ethan Ames)

Sean Mcverry

New York’s Sean McVerry, is a proverbial musical sponge, incorporating elements


of hip-hop, neo-soul and indie-pop to create a sound that’s entirely his own. On his 2016 EP, Hourglass Switchboard II, McVerry’s dexterous falsetto undulates effortly over drum machines and reverb-drenched, chordal piano work. (Ethan Ames)

Eli Tyler

“Lover,” the latest release from NY-based electro-soul artist Eli Tyler combines the pop-writing prowess that Tyler has become known for, with creative off-beat sampling to produce a massively catchy track that still feels true to itself. Tyler’s raspy, understated vocals play deliciously against the full force of the visceral hooks in his choruses, resulting in a tune that will pitch a tent between your ears and not budge anytime soon after. (Olivia Sisinni)

Raycee Jones

In her latest singles, dating back to 2015, Raycee Jones comes across as a genre-bending artist with a wide range of influences. A self-professed protégé of Jill Scott, Beyoncé and Amy Winehouse, Jones writes songs that are sonically innovative, employing warbling synths, chimes, and complex beats. A regular performer at Rockwood Music Hall, Raycee is currently in the studio working on her debut EP. (Ethan Ames)

breanna Barbara

J. Hoard

If there’s one thing that R&B aficionado Jonathan Hoard has been able to showcase through his soulful catalogue is that instrumentation does not intimidate his craft one bit. Less experimental, but more ambitious, latest single “Sirens” sees the singer exploring religious themes with refreshing emotional depth, and a gospel-infused choral accompaniment guaranteed to impress. (Valentina Rocha)


With a their poppy approach to soul music, Lawrence boasts classic songwriting forged by sibling duo Clyde and Gracie Lawrence. Gifted with both superior piano skills and incredibly powerful vocals, Clyde leads the band with the confidence of a veteran.

Danielle Grubb

Danielle Grubb’s debut album Saturn sounds like an effort to take soul music in several direction, without ever settling for what’s been done already. Single “Glue” hits like a shot of whiskey, providing some nice sedation as well as some light jabs to get your gears going. The rest of the album favors a healthy, upbeat punchiness that’s often missed in today’s soul revival. (Henry Solotaroff-Webber)

[See Feature on page 19.]


best emerging nyc artists 2017

hip-hop Latasha Alcindor

Category Winner


Readers Poll Winner

OSHUN Your Old Droog

Photo: Wendercolor

Photo: Alberto Vargas

Latasha Alcindor

Though fans that complain about rap deviating from its roots often come across as old curmudgeons, those contemporary emcees who practice vintage rap don’t seem to ever go out of style. Take BK rapper Latasha Alcindor (aka LA)’s latest track, “Revoke Thee,” for example. Over a jazzy instrumental with attitude, LA delivers hard-hitting lyrics in varied flows that could very well have been blasted out of the boomboxes of yesterday. Like her ballsy predecessors Lauryn Hill and Queen Latifah, she also exudes a great deal of swagger in her lyrics. LA has proven she is an emcee to watch, and a crucial one at that.


Akinyemi continues to grind his way into the spotlight. In anticipation of his 24

the deli Spring 2017

Photo: Seher Sikandar

upcoming Summers album, he has released a dark and brooding single entitled “Stuck Surgeon.” In it, his gravelly voice undulates a surgeon’s plight, “Ah, sutures—Every quick stitch determine future, slick wrists with the tools, about to ditch another tomb.” It’s an apt allusion to his approach to penning a verse. (Broke MC)

Your Old Droog

This past 4/20, Your Old Droog’s new album Packs was featured on Bandcamp’s “Best New Hip Hop.” The album features such prominent guests as Heems, Danny Brown, Wiki, and Edan and harkens back to lyrical albums from the likes of Organized Konfusion and Doom. Released on Fatbeats Records, he’s finally found

himself among the chosen. It’s high time. (Broke MC)


OSHUN’s dynamic Neo-Soul continues to evolve like a stampede of elephants in a tornado trip to Oz. In the new single, “Not My President,” their mesmerizing harmonies are comprised of voices somehow simultaneously silken and vitriolic. Erykah Badu set the bar for revolutionary soul with her “New Amerykah” albums. OSHUN is swelling their own onslaught. It’s the perfect wave to ride through these troubling times. (Broke MC)

deem spencer

[See Fresh Buzz section on page 6.]

The latest, budget-friendly addition to iZotope’s Neutron family of mixing plug-ins featuring futuristic, assistive technology and four audio processors. Learn more at

best emerging nyc artists 2017

Photo: Elvis Guesthouse


Readers Poll Winner

Category Winner


The Saylavees

Stuyedeyed Winstons


Stuyedeyed is serving up brash and brazen rock music with a major vintage vibe. With fuzzy layers so thick you can practically wrap yourself up in them, the Brooklyn-based band delivers a serious ’70s guitar rock feel and loads of lo-fi goodness. Their latest single, “Mr. Policeman,” deals with the themes of the BLM movement, and is sonically as unhinged as ever, offering up feral sounding vocal lines that compliment the frustration embedded in the lyrical content. (Olivia Sisinni)


THICK is a band that packs a serious political message while being largely unserious in its delivery. They seem to be comfortable with the Riot Grrrl label, finding it inspiring 26

the deli Spring 2017

and accurate, and indeed it feels fitting. Their big, grungy guitar tone and garage static feedback work as sonic identifiers of the epitome of the feminist punk movement from the ’90s. In our current political climate, it’s life-giving to see artists foster an empowering message for women and embracing a label representing an overt womens’ liberation movement. The band’s goofiness and unwillingness to take themselves too seriously foster a sense of freedom and creativity so often missing from bands in the center of a scene. We sat down to talk with them about all this and more. (Will Sisskind)


It seems like the vintage sounding, duo powered, garagey-blues-rock format made famous by the White Stripes still has a lot

to give to rock’n’roll. Brooklyn-by-way-ofVirginia-based band, Winstons have been generating some buzz in town with that simple formula, enhanced by a truly wild live performance. If you can relate to blues, loud sounds, and are in need of a good mosh pit, this band might do you some good.

The Saylavees

With an old-school surf aesthetic, and some serious bad bitch vibes, the Saylavees are laying down totally dreamy garage rock. The NYC-based band features three-part vocal harmonies that feel both dulcet and haunting, and pair perfectly to their fuzzy guitar sounds and punchy beats. (Olivia Sisinni)

Baby Shakes

[See Cover Feature on page 16.]

best emerging nyc artists 2017

indie pop


Readers Poll Winner

Aaron Taos

Category Winner

Ex Reyes

Photo: Cebe Loomis




King Neptune Soccer Mommy 28

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Photo: Ebru Yildiz

ex reyes

There’s a couple of ways that you could try to label NYC-based group Ex Reyes, but maybe the tag that really sums it up is one they’ve already laid claim to: “future nostalgia.” Ex Reyes, the project of Mikey Hart (Bleachers, The Cranberries, Santigold) is a genre-bending mix of soul-psych— melding Motown vibes, Beach Boys style innovation, creamy falsettos and swirling synths to create mid-’60s music from the 21st century. (Olivia Sisinni)


Marrying the spaciness of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Strange Magic” and the sunniness of The Beatles’ “Getting Better,” “Better All The Time” by Zuli is a dazzling piece of pop. Off the New York-based quartet’s EP Supernatural Voodoo, the synth-roofed song illuminates a lover’s struggle towards peace with playful sensitivity. The band’s mastermind, native New Yorker Ryan Camenzuli, has expressed affection for Animal Collective and the headiness of those contemporary icons comes across in “Better All The Time.” With his gentle voice, Camenzuli appears a romantic, though, and, in the end, “Better All The Time” is a love song (Will Sisskind)

Forth Wanderers

There’s a loose, easy going vibe in the ramshackle rock of Montclair, New Jersey quintet Forth Wanderers two track, EP Slop. A twangy, two guitar groove on the opening title track sets an unhurried pace evoking Neil Young’s finer electric-country moments. As the track evolves into a straight ahead chugger, singer Ava Trilling’s oddly poetic lyrics and vocal delivery fluctuate between resignation and hope. (Dave Cromwell)

The Lemon Twigs

With strong pop writing chops and an over-the-top commitment to aesthetics, The Lemon Twigs offer a counter to the

masculine, gritty approach to rock ‘n’ roll. The D’Addario Brothers, aka The Lemon Twigs, represent a visually and sonically striking revival of the art pop of the ’70s, with glamorous references to David Bowie’s androgynous look and Supertramp’s electric piano driven melodies.

Aaron Taos

The distortion is a little more raw in “These Days,” Brooklyn indie surfer Aaron Taos’ latest track. While his sound remains upbeat and melodic, there is something loaded with more substance in the artist’s comeback single. “The aftertaste is bitter, but it gives you something to be glad for,” he sings, almost seemingly describing the more rugged turn he has taken with the latest offering.

Soccer Mommy

Soccer Mommy, the project of songwriter Sophie Allison, (recently relocated from Nashville to NYC) straddles the line between Suzanne Vega’s intellectual-but-vulnerable songwriting and Belly’s dreamy pop melodicism. Though her tracks will stop you for their imaginative lyrics, her the heart wrenching melodies are what will make you stay.


The bedroom project of Brooklyn songwriter/guitarist/producer Oliver Kalb, Bellows offers a sound that’s at once melodic, edgy and delicately textured. Latest and third LP Fist & Palm showcases a preference for intimate atmospheres (at times reminiscent of Elliot Smith’s whispered folk-pop) and an interest in exploring new sonic territories. (Paolo De Gregorio)


NJ-based bedroom indie pop band, Rhea, craft songs that ring like delicate love notes—unassuming, but incredibly poignant. Featuring soft, feminine vocals and un-fussy guitar ornamentation, there’s

something immediately compelling about the band’s songwriting. Rhea’s strength is in their simplicity and their innate ability to tap into something universal, effortlessly. (Olivia Sisinni)

King Neptune

New York musician Ian Kenny is now focusing on his solo rock project, under the moniker of King Neptune. The band’s first single “Black Hole” is an honest and infectious break-up song about the perception of knowing someone and the realization that it’s not true. The song starts off as a passionate, slightly angry rock ‘n’ roll anthem, slowly evolving through a disorderly succession of the five stages of grief.


For most, “we’re on a break” represents a hellish, liminal state in a relationship where the impending doom of a breakup looms menacingly over the small hope of reconciling. “a million other things,” the first single dropped by Brooklyn-based artist, pronoun (aka Alyse Vellturo) perfectly captures that limbo state—the doomed hope—by folding heart-tugging lyrics into otherwise bright and driving instrumentals. The single manages to feel deeply personal, yet instantly relatable—a striking first release from an up-and-coming artist. (Olivia Sisinni)

cut worms

Cut Worms is the nom de plume of singer/songwriter/one-man-band Max Clarke, who performs solo on stage, sometimes performing accompanied by only his guitar, others playing along pre-recorded tracks. He offers a brand of charming folk-pop revival that truly sounds as if originated in the early sixties—his recording even feature the vocal distortion typical of that era.

the deli Spring 2017


best emerging nyc artists 2017

Readers Poll Winner

Rachel Angel

indie rock

Category Winner

The New Tarot

Photo: Olivia Mertz

Paris Monster Photo: Greg Pallante




Navy Gangs

Paris Monster

Armed with an arsenal of synth sounds, soaring vocals, and experimental electronic vibes, Paris Monster weaves effortlessly across genres and decisive categorization. On his latest release, “Ain’t No Movin’ Me,” the Brooklyn-based act showcases its prowess for hook writing/ crafting a track that could stand without accompaniment as a bluesy, spiritual declaration, but is launched into another realm by its bed of synths and echoing choruses. (Olivia Sisinni)

Rachel Angel

With biting vocals that powerful songwriting chops, Rachel Angel radiates effortless cool. The indie rocker serves up tracks that are as catchy as they are sincere, but you never feel as if she’s tipping all of her cards. Edgy, poignant, and immediately compelling Angel is one to watch. (Olivia Sisinni)


new tarot

The more you listen, the more wonderful the pulsating, twisted single from The New Tarot becomes. “Chain of Command,” is a turbulent song, yet strangely slick. Lead vocalist, Monika Walker, laments that it’s “getting harder to be human,” in a cyber age where everything exists below the surface. From the warped beats to the buzzing synths, wharops and whoops give way to a breathy pat at the end. (Francesca Baker)

Not Blood Paint

Those New Yorkers who find the typical indieshtik a little long in the tooth may want to look into a simple cure called Not Blood Paint. The Brooklyn quartet is not afraid to get their hands dirty with quirkiness of all kinds, alternatively flirting with epic excesses and theatrical set ups. You can find them at their best on a stage, where they integrate their dramatic music with crazy costumes and synchronized moves. (BrokeMC)

Citris might just sound like what their name implies—sweet, but with a serious bite. The Brooklyn-based band melds psych elements with the grit of mid-’90s grunge to create tunes that kick, but are immediately compelling.

Deal Casino

deal casino

Deal Casino, a hard-working, indie rock four-piece from industrious Asbury Park, utilizes a mixture of minimalist sounds and hard-hitting riffs to create grooves that are as infectious as they are instantly compelling. Their latest release, The Cannonball EP, features tunes like “Panama Papers,” a timely state of the nation track, and “Purple,” a wistful song that seems to capture the general, 20-something malaise. (Olivia Sisinni)

Active Bird Community

Young Brooklyn-based rockers, Active Bird Community, capture the wearily resigned conversational style of early aughts pioneers The Strokes on recent single “QB Sneak”. The title’s casual football reference serves as metaphor on needing to break out from “two weeks of bad dreams,” and “feeling stuck behind the scenes.” Channeling Julian Casablancas’ phrasing and tone the chugging rhythm and hooky riff guitar interplay wraps up in a tidy under two and a half minutes. (Dave Cromwell)


Brooklyn-based Peaer crafts understated indie rock songs that feel raw and unpolished enough to reflect the types of real-life concepts wrestled with in their lyrics. A highly dynamic band with a lot of heart, Peaer is tight enough to flirt with the wildness of coming undone, without ever succumbing to it. (Olivia Sisinni)


A gate occupies a liminal space, it’s the difference between here and there, and crossing it (or jumping over it) signifies a kind of transcendence and a breaking with whatever it was on the opposite side of the fence. It makes sense then that this New Brunswick-based band would adopt the name Gates. With soaring vocals, and precise technical playing that never gets too in the way of itself, the band specializes in shimmery post-rock with a transcendental flair.

navy gangs

Having created an early buzz via their raucous live show, New York City’s Navy Gangs self-titled debut EP captures a similar raw appeal. Piercing extended vibrato guitar melody lines and sludgy bass-drums accompaniment create a feel comparable to Dinosaur Jr.’s early days. (Dave Cromwell)

the deli Spring 2017


best emerging nyc artists 2017


Category Winner

Readers Poll Winner

Death Vacation

Photo: Bobby Whitmire

Fall of The Albatross

Moon Tooth

United Nations

Fall of the Albatross

Fall of the Albatross is definitely not for the faint of heart. The Queens-based band deals in full-fledged, prog-metal freakouts, with a dash of finger-snapping jazz melodies thrown in. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, check out their latest album, Enormous Cloud. It’s an exercise in controlled chaos as the band growls, screeches, and swings through winding—and sometimes jarring—transitions. The record is 11 tracks of spastic, dense, instrumental goodness, that may bewilder first-time listeners, however, the auditory payouts are great and well worth the ride. (Olivia Sisinni)

Death Vacation

NJ/NY-based Death Vacation’s new EP, singer Michelle Mancuso spits and snarls 32

the deli Spring 2017

her way through the 5 tracks that make up Bones Grow Cold, and her gut-busting vocals are paired with grindcore beats that are coated with enough grime to satisfy even the nastiest hardcore fiends. Though the tunes definitely have melodic moments, the real payoff here is in the visceral, chomping percussiveness of the tracks that grate against your ears alongside all the blood and noise. (Olivia Sisinni)

Moon Tooth

Fans of stoner, doom, math rock, thrash, and prog metal will all be able to find something on Long Island-based Moon Tooth’s newest full length release. A powerful tour de force of an album, the 12, high-energy tracks of Chromaparagon never indulge too long in any one particular genre and

features a controlled chaos that borders dangerously on virtuosic. (Olivia Sisinni)

United Nations

If the next four years show a defiant uptick in relevant punk music, then United Nations is certainly doing the lord’s work. For the recent inaugural ceremony, the Brooklyn-based band released “Stairway to Mara-Lago,” a track that features the band’s signature blend of unhinged, frenetic instrumentals, screeching vocals, and sweepingly anthemic breakdowns. The group is kind of everything you’d want out of a 2017 hardcore band: killer tunes are matched with headstrong messages, angst and an appetite for the controversial. (Olivia Sisinni)

Bangladeafy [See feature on page 18.]

best emerging nyc artists 2017

noise rock


Macula Dog

Readers Poll Winner

Category Winner


Squad Car

Macula Dog

Hailing from Queens, NYC, Macula Dog produces heavily insane music, although not necessarily loud (they are slightly miscategorized in this section, but they would be in any other…) Refreshingly, these guys aren’t just experimental for the sake of being experimental: their songs are very well produced, and there is a recognizable style unifying their repertoire.


Promising to meld hip hop with power violence, NOLIFE offers innovative noise rock tracks marked by blitzed out aggressive beats. Cohesively navigating multiple feels all while maintaining a sound that feels unhinged, hostile, and erratic is no small feat but NOLIFE manages to do this with ease

forcing the listener to contend with music that is at once jarring yet danceable.


Exploding out of the Brooklyn scene with the force of a too ripe pustule, noise rockers bbigpigg bring you Din-Din, a four track EP with more than enough greasy goodness to sink your teeth into. Kicking off with “Chowtime,” the EP delivers fat, tasty bass lines coupled with manic vocals that seem to edge toward gut-wrenching howls. The result is deliciously anarchic weirdo rock.

not afraid to get loud (and messy). Their debut EP Eschaton features seemingly endless combinations of screeching guitars, nearly indecipherable shouts, and relentless drum lines, laid on a bleeding bed of post-hardcore anger. (Lilly Milman)

(Olivia Sisinni)

squad car

With a minimal presence on social media, little is known about noise rock band Squad Car, besides the fact that they are the deli Spring 2017


best emerging nyc artists 2017


Category Winner

plastic picnic

The Brooklyn-based quartet’s name doesn’t quite capture the essence of their music, which, although incorporating synths, doesn’t sound as synthetic as the word ‘plastic’ would make one think. On the other hand, single “Nausea in Paradise” would work nicely as a picnic soundtrack—notwithstanding the not very appetizing title. (Madeleine Grossman)


Plastic Picnic

Brooklyn trio Patio is marked by subdued vocals that read in a genuine post-cool way and their first EP, Luxury, is driven by mobile bass lines and punctuated snare hits. The band emphatically paints anthems for the current malaise plaguing twenty-somethings and their infectious tunes are furthered by the band’s sense of fun and loving devotion of chicken sandwiches. (Olivia Sisinni)



Haybaby, a self-described “sludge-pop” band from Brooklyn, are a force to be reckoned with on the DIY scene. Each song on their 2015 EP, Sleepy Kids, showcases the band’s remarkable skill at controlling its dynamics, utilizing tension and release to devastating effect. Leslie Hong’s vocals are saturated with a pop sensibility, providing an ear-catching contrast to the grunge-like dissonance of the rhythm section. (Ethan Ames)

Cloud Becomes your Hand


Readers Poll Winner

Featured on the cover of our Summer 2016 issue, Cloud Becomes Your Hand sounds like a kaleidoscope of ideas and sounds. Their sonic palette is incredibly diverse, ranging from filtered keyboards of all kinds, to detuned electric guitars and unexpected orchestral interruptions. But theirs is not a scattered conglomeration of ideas: song structure often prevails over the band’s quirky “digressing impulses,” which makes their experimentations all the more enjoyable. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Photo: Christian Larsen

Prima’s latest single, “SAMBA,” is a delicious romp in tortuous tension. The Brooklyn-based band has mastered the art of keeping their cards close to chest, and makes a habit of never revealing any more musical phrases than they need to. Driven by angular guitar leads, primitive drum beats, and wild-yet-controlled female vocals, “SAMBA” is a slow burn that pushes its listeners right up to edge, but never fully loses its cool. (Olivia Sisinni)

public access tv Photo: James Watson


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In their debut LP Never Enough, NYC’s Public Access TV showcases the ability to re-elaborate several decades of rock’n’roll and pop music into something new and fun. John Eatherly’s vocals alternate between raucous and bouncy in any given song.

best emerging nyc artists 2017

psych rock/pop Surf Rock Is Dead

Category Winner

surf rock is dead

“In Between,” the latest single from Brooklyn’s cleverly named Surf Rock Is Dead, features a driving quickly-paced beat, and layered reverberated guitars to create immediate, blissful waves. Those soaring guitar lines fill a number of instrumental passages while shimmering chords create lyrical space. Vocals hark back to the style of early ’90s MTV stars like The Ocean Blue, which conveyed a sentimental nostalgia via a clipped, conversational delivery. (Dave Cromwell)

baby acid Photo: Jacquline Harriet

The reckless abandon of Brooklyn rockers partying hard is on full display in Baby Acid’s debut music video and song “Baby Guts.” The track itself emerges via full-on fuzzed out guitar chords while initial vocals proclaim that “my baby comes from France, my baby don’t wear no pants.” While the lyrical output may playfully favor words that rhyme over actual storytelling, ferocious riffs and rhythms are executed with serious intent. (Dave Cromwell)

arthur moon

Boasting the flexible and expressive vocals of Brooklyn songwriter Lora Faye and a group of forward thinking musicians, Arthur Moon’s four-track debut EP Our Head doesn’t just marvel in its ability to meld disparate genres (rock, minimalism, soul, amongst them) but also in the way it imbues vulnerability with calmness. Staring with your ears at the reverb-backed call to awareness “Room” and at “Bold Affair”, a drumnicked, Deradoorian-esque track that is as romantically audacious as its title, you may just find solace in these beatific songs. (Zach Weg)

Readers Poll Winner

Baby Acid Photo: Julie Jamora

sam evian

The solo project of Celestial Shore’s Sam Owens, Sam Evian showcases the transformation of a quirky, talented songwriter into a more mature, original artist. Sam’s experimental urges don’t distract from the music and though he sometimes enters the dreamy territories not entirely foreign to the sound of Celestial Shore, his latest project is folkier and twangier than anything ever released by the Brooklyn band. (Paolo De Gregorio)

pavo pavo

On the latest album, the Yale-trained quintet offers spacious yet tight pop that is immediately pleasurable and continually intriguing. Their preference for mid tempo, fully arranged tunes enriched by lush vocal harmonies puts them on Grizzly Bear’s musical path, full or gratifying, unexpected turns. (Zach Weg)



With their blend of post rock and psych pop, Zula is one of the most interesting NYC bands to come out of Brooklyn this decade. 2016’s LP Grasshopper showcases a band that has found its voice and it’s refining it, which is what happens when talented musicians stick around in the same project long enough to hone their skill and grow musically, together—a rare sight to behold these days. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Arthur Moon

We’re driven by music - just like you. With a track record of industry-changing instruments 50 years strong, Korg synths represent the cutting edge in innovation - packed with uniquely inspiring features, incredible ease of use, and amazing sound.


best emerging nyc artists 2017

Readers Poll Winner


synth pop Ela Minus

Category Winner

Ben Talmi


Maggie Rogers

Photo: Dustin Condren

Crying Von Sell

Photo: Jen Maler


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Ela Minus

Brooklyn by way of Bogota electronic artist, Ela Minus, crafts intricate electronic melodies that feel avant but strangely absorbing. Her instrumentals, which are strong but subtle, are paired with a quirky, gossamer vocal performance, and the combination of the two—especially on standout track “Volcán”—creates an unexpectedly bright track. (Olivia Sisinni)


Brooklyn sci-pop duo Glassio has just unveiled a new video for single “Try Much Harder,” which we highlighted about a month ago on this very blog. With an appropriately muted color palette perfectly matching the band’s soft sounds, the video illustrates a sci-fi trip started in the NYC subway, and ended on a tiny ship in some unspecified planet. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Maggie Rogers

After being blessed by Pharrell Williams’ seal of approval, NYC’s songwriter Maggie Rogers experienced a lot of eyes (and ears) on single “Alaska.” Since then, she’s released a trilogy of music videos that resume the atmospheric, electronic-pop-soul sound of “Alaska,” and include subtle African music influences. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Brooklyn sci-pop duo Glassio has just unveiled a new video for single “Try Much Harder,” which we highlighted about a month ago on this very blog. With an appropriately muted color palette perfectly matching the band’s soft sounds, the video illustrates a sci-fi trip started in the NYC subway, and ended on a tiny ship in some unspecified planet. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Ben Talmi

Ben Talmi’s latest release, My Art of Almost, is about personal failures and hopes, told through electrifying beats and dancing

synths. Musically ambitious, Talmi has engaged in multiple genres, including impressionistic rock through his previous band Art Decade, alternative folk in the solo album named For The Dreamers, and a number of string quartets and orchestral arrangements. (Amanda McCall)


Confident and seducing, the voices of Overcoats’ Hana and JJ bring to mind Lucius’ otherworldly harmonizing, and rise above the electronic instrumental base present throughout most of their self-titled EP. In single ‘Nighttime Hunger,’ they take a simple expression of longing, and twist the suggestive phrase around until it turns itself into a mantra of foreboding and threat. (Mike Levine)

Yoke Lore

Brooklyn artist Yoke Lore, is the new solo project of Adrian Galvin. His anthemic pop bares some resemblance to his previous work with his band Yellerkin, but makes some notable departures from it as well, dialing down the busy arrangements— acoustic instruments in particular—and opting instead for a sparser atmosphere, allowing his sparkling voice to take a more prominent role. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Argonaut & Wasp

With crunchy synths, irresistibly layered beats, and outlandish vocals, Argonaut & Wasp is putting out dangerously catchy synth pop. Their music manages to be fiercely upbeat and will pull all but the soulless out of their seats and onto the dancefloor. (Olivia Sisinni)

tation and singer Sedona Schat’s soothing vocals, results in a charmingly chill soundtrack that’ll have you reaching for the replay button. (Patrick Wolff)

Von Sell

When Von Sell released “Ivan” back in 2015 at the request of some friends, the electro-pop artist developed a following seemingly out of nowhere. A few releases later and the Brooklyn-based artist decided to return to his debut single, giving it the finishing treatment that could only come from 2 years of experience and reflection. With cascading synthy layers, a strong pop sensibility and driving, gritty basslines, “Ivan (Revisted)” is a gem of a pop hit, and our favorite new earworm. (Olivia Sisinni)

True Blue

While there’s not a lot of information on synthpop band, True Blue, the Brooklyn act appears to be the result of a one-woman bedroom project. True to its name and song titles, True Blue offers invariably sad and slow songs, sung by a beautifully melancholic voice. A debut EP is in the works. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Crying is one of those fabulous bands that can make the familiar sound strange. With a past firmly planted in 8-bit quirkiness, in 2016’s LP Beyond the Fleeting Gales the three piece has developed a more mature sound that integrates modern synthpop with unexpected classic rock influences, creating a record that stands apart on its own. (Olivia Sisinni)


Laid-back and upbeat, Brooklyn duo Cafuné forges summery electro-pop that evocative of rooftop sunsets over the city skyline—and the happy days before the Trump presidency. The duo’s mixture of uptempo beats with dreamy instrumenthe deli Spring 2017


NYC MixCon 2017

Free Mixing Advice, In Context. July 8-9, 12pm-9pm - Manhattan Center, 311 W 34th St., NYC

Sign Up at The Deli and SonicScoop are proud to announce the 2017 edition of MixCon, the free educational event about mixing (and recording) featuring a series of “mix walkthroughs” hosted by top notch producers and mixing engineers - and more! After two Brooklyn editions, this year’s MixCon will cross the Williamsburg bridge and be hosted at the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom and two world class studios: the Log Cabin and Studio 7: A (much) larger venue, with better sound, better lighting, better projection, and get this, even an open bar to

celebrate the event, courtesy of the Manhattan Center Studios! (For a limited time, naturally.) Join us July 8th and 9th for an unforgettable weekend full of precious advice, panel discussions with industry luminaries, and hands-on demos and listening sessions featuring select new gear. In the following pages you’ll find the event’s schedule, a preview of some of the advice you’ll be getting, as well as profiles about the producers.

About Manhattan Center The stunning, semi-secret “Log Cabin,” entirely made of stone and wood, has quietly built up a devoted clientele over the last 20 years, with a client list that has grown to include the likes of Chick Corea, Norman Connors, Jimmy Douglass, Eliot Goldenthal, Ja Rule, plus film/TV/brand clients including True Grit, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Lucky Charms, American Airlines, Mercedes Benz, and more. Studio 7, tucked right next to the Grand Ballroom, is 5.1 Surround capable and it’s connected directly to the both ballrooms in the building: the elegant and acoustically superb 10,000 foot space The Grand, and the historic 2800 capacity ex-opera house The Hammerstein. All of the MCS facilities spring from the initiative of Oscar Hammerstein, who founded this artfully commercial complex in 1906. Starting in 1926, The Grand was the scoring stage for Warner Brothers Studio’s Don Juan, which stands as the film industry’s first motion picture with a synchronized, pre-recorded musical soundtrack. Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Itzhak Perlman, Placido Domingo, Eliot Goldenthal, Sting, and many more have recorded here.

The Log Cabin’s Control Room

The Log Cabin’s Live Room

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nyc mixcon 2017 - Speakers’ Schedule These top notch producers/engineers will walk the crowd through a mix they worked on recently, and take questions at the end of the presentation.


Grand Ballroom (Doors: 11am)



6pm: Mick Guzauski The Pop Mix

6pm: Leslie Brathwaite’s Mix Walk Through

3pm: Joey Raia - Mix Walk Through

3pm: The Soul Mix with Bob Power

12pm: Marc Urselli The Rock/Metal Mix

12pm: The Prog Rock Mix with

(Daft Punk, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson)

(Run The Jewels, El-P, Killer Mike, Aesop Rock)

(Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Mike Patton, John Zorn)

(Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Chris Brown)

(Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo)

Rich Chyiki

(Rush, Dream Theater, Aerosmith)

Q&As, Gear Expo & In-The-Studio Workshops in between presentations! 42

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nyc mixcon 2017 - MIXING Tips Here are some mixing basics to put you in the mood for our NYC MixCon!

Tip #1 The Source is (Almost) Everything At last year’s BK Mixcon, we had a presentation entitled “The Mix Begins with the Mics” (the video is here: The idea behind it was to try and educate the audience about an indisputable truth about recording: if your source material sounds good, your mix will be easier. What does “sound good” mean, exactly? Various elements interact to define the quality of a recorded session:

1. Performance

A tight, consistent performance requires less work during mixing.

2. Tone

Great sounding instruments and professional singers sound better.

3. Mic Selection and Placement

A top notch #1 + #2 would be wasted if your mic was either bad, or placed and set up incorrectly.

4. Preamps

Great preamps make microphones “sing.”

5. AD Converters

Cheap analog to digital converters make any track sound a little harsh.

6. Arrangement

If the single parts in your song interfere with each other, the mix is going to be tough to pull off no matter what.

Each one of these elements can contribute in degrading your source material, but mic selection and placement are the responsibility of the engineer. Here are some basics: Having a selection of microphones allows for more options when recording. Mics can mostly affect the source material in the EQ and Ambiance realms:

EQ Each mic has its own color (i.e. applies a certain EQ to the sound); because

of the proximity effect, most microphones (cardioid ones) boost bass when closer and cuts it the farther from the source; angle is also important: the more you angle a mic, the less treble it picks up. High pass switches on the mics also cut off low frequencies. You can use these techniques to EQ the sound at the source.

High Pass Switch

Stereo Mic for Ambiance

Ambiance If you record in a room with a good natural reverb, you can set up extra mics far from the source to pick up the natural reflections of the walls (try mono mics in omni configuration or stereo mics). You can find a lot of advice on the internet on the best way to mic different instruments. Audio Technica has a whole series of videos on YouTube about this.

Color and Proximity Effect the deli Spring 2017


nyc mixcon 2017 - MIXING Tips Tip #2 Dirt and Noise, Good or Bad? In mixing (as in life), dirt accumulates, until things get untidy. A classic example is when you record drums using dedicated close mics for the tom toms. Try soloing those tracks and hear what they are picking up when the toms aren’t hit: that’s as close as it gets to “sonic dirt.” A noise gate is an effect that mutes the audio signal under a certain volume threshold, and it’s very useful to clean Tom Toms tracks and in other similar circumstances (there are also more creative uses for it, google “side chain ducking”). But in mixing (as in life) a little scruff adds character: in the audio realm, sometimes a consistent, subtle hiss can add some magic and even warmth to a song - “it sounds so analog!” Some mixing engineers have grown an appreciation for the subtle, consistent noise of the good old gear. To facilitate this relatively new trend, Brainworx bx_console, a Neve channel strip plugin featuring a dynamics and an EQ section, gives you the peculiar ability to, at once, remove and add dirt. It features a very flexible noise gate that “does the cleaning,” but also a knob, in its output section, called V-Gain, which adds a natural-sounding noise floor (i.e. a subtle hiss) to your channel’s

signal - exactly like the good old Neve VXS console it emulates. For example, you might note that the reverb return of an intimate vocal recording sounds nicer if you leak some noise onto the vocal channel, then get rid of it in all breaks and pauses automatically with the expander (or automation). This creates an analog-sounding mix that’s both vivid and clean. Shaping with noise has an additional benefit in the digital world, and that’s the masking of any artifacts you might encounter from older or poorly recorded stems in your mix. I think we would all agree that low-level noise from a nice analog piece of gear sounds a bit more pleasant than digital distortion in your mix. Brainworx bx_console

Tip #3 Getting Phase Right on Multi-Tracked Instruments This is a simple trick that - if you are not aware of it - is likely to change your (mixing) life. Mixing is all about how the sound waves of the tracks in your arrangement interact with each other - how they... “mix”. If you have two instruments in the same frequency range, their sound waves will get combined during mixing and you won’t be able to distinguish them as clearly - just like when two people talk to you at once. If the instruments are on different frequencies though (bass and guitar), it will be easier to distinguish them, because they won’t step on each other as much. If you take this concept to extreme, two identical sounds (i.e. occupying EXACTLY the same frequencies at the same time) can either boost each other (1+1 = 2) or… cancel each other (1-1=0). “How do I get a 1 to become a -1?” you may ask. It’s simple: reverse the phase. Think of a wave: reversing its phase would be like creating a hole in the water as deep as you “unreversed” wave was tall. When our wave meets this opposite wave, the result is a flat water surface - because the two cancel each other. In audio, two identical tracks with opposite phase cancel each other. When you record an instrument with more than one mic, something similar might happen: the phase of the various tracks can interfere with each other, and make it sound bad (especially when tracks are panned to the center and feature a fair amount of bass). 44

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Delay Compensation Delay Compansation in Pro Tools

Try this at home on a bassy part you recorded with more than one mic: pan two tracks in the dead center and solo them. In Pro Tools’ Mix window, show “Delay compensation” and adjust the sample shift by clicking on the +/- symbols. This will slightly

move your sound waves backwards (-) or forward (+). You will notice that every time you change that value, you’ll get a slightly different tone, sometimes better, sometimes worse - that’s the magic of phase!

Tip #4 Sculpt (and Pan) Your Mids This tip is the natural follow up to tip #3. If sounds with identical frequencies interact by boosting or canceling each other, you can only imagine what kind of insane sonic interferences go on in a mix where 30+tracks are combined to stereo - in particular between tracks occupying similar frequencies. Enter the mid-range, i.e. the sonic place where all (or at least most) instruments “meet.” Mid frequencies are the ones the human ear is most receptive to. As a consequence, most instruments sit right there. Think about it: in your regular pop song you have guitars, keyboards, vocals, backing vocals, snare, and tom-toms, all competing with each other in that middle range, plus part of the bass and the kick, which would be barely audible without some mids. That sonic jam is the reason why it’s crucial to learn how to “sculpt” your frequencies to allow each instrument to “breath” - or, rather, to be heard. EQ sculpting is about finding a compromise where each

instrument gets a little and gives a little so that none sticks out and none gets buried. If the guitars sound good on 3.5k, give them a little EQ boost in that range, but maybe cut the keyboards there too. Let the guitar return the favor around 5k maybe, by doing exactly the opposite. If the kick’s snap is exactly on 2k, cut off a little all the interfering instruments precisely in that area. Boosting wide and cutting narrow, and placing competing instruments on different sides of the stereo field are crucial tricks.

iZotope Neutron

Of course, the more tracks you have the more compromises will be necessary, so never forget that, when mixing, “less is more.” The EQ section of the iZotope Neutron is very helpful in sculpting. First of all, the 12 band EQ’s user interface shows the live spectrum frequency of the track you are EQing, which helps in finding potentially offending or weak frequencies. Secondly, it doesn’t only features presets for the most common instruments, but also

Universal Audio Cambridge Equalizer & Filters

a “Track Assistant” that automatically detects the track’s instrument and gives you a new “EQ starting point” based on your specific track! Another great sounding plug in for sculpting is the Universal Audio Cambridge.

Tip #5 Add Warmth and Bite with Distortion Have you ever tried cutting off all the mids and high frequencies from a bass and putting a heavy distortion on it after the EQ? If you have, you may have noticed that the more distortion you add, the more mids and trebles you’ll hear! That’s because distortion adds harmonics. Harmonics are frequencies that are a positive integer multiple of the frequency of the original wave. In simple terms: each note corresponds to a frequency; for example, the A on the bass happens to have its fundamental frequency at 110Hz. If you apply distortion to that note, other frequencies corresponding to A notes that are higher up in the scale will be generated - the next one being 220Hz (2nd harmonic), and then 440Hz (3rd harmonic) and 880Hz etc. The more distortion, the higher A harmonics you’ll hear.

SoundToys Decapitator

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nyc mixcon 2017 - MIXING Tips Interestingly enough, most sounds are actually spread across many harmonic frequencies. A voice singing an A note on the 440Hz frequency, will also present natural overtones on 880Hz and probably also a little bit at 1,760Hz and above. Therefore, using a little bit of distortion on a track will, in a way, work like an eq that only boosts the higher harmonics. That’s why the slightly distorted vocals of The Strokes cut through the mix so nicely. Subtle distortion adds also a sonic quality that

many ears associate with “warmth.” One of the plug ins most frequently used to add distortion (from subtle to radical) during mixing is Soundtoys’ Decapitator. It features five different, incredibly responsive analog saturation models recreating the analog sound of high-end studio gear, but also an EQ section and a “Punish” button that begs to be pressed (it adds extra gain).

Tip #6 Left and Right, Front and Back Establishing a good EQ balance in which each instrument has its own frequency space is crucial for the mix to sound good. If we were still mixing to mono, EQ sculpting would really be the only way to allow two conflicting instruments to coexist with each other in a mic. Fortunately, the two tracks of stereo allow the mixing engineer a little more flexibility: who doesn’t pan doubled distorted guitar parts hard left and right? Stereo was invented to replicate the way we hear, which allows us to distinguish the direction from which sounds come at us. As a consequence, the classic placement of instruments in a mix tends to replicate the positioning of the players on a stage. But what about depth? What is it that makes us realize if a sound is close or far? Farther sounds are not only quieter, they are also more diffused because the farther they are, the more we perceive them through indirect, or reflected, sound waves. Reverb and echo (or delay) are the two effects that emulate this natural phenomenon and are used in mixing to emulate distance, and therefore to add “depth” to your mix (reverb in particular). Effects manufacturers have tried to recreate the sound reflection effect for studio use in many different ways, using springs, plates and digital algorithms. Today, companies like Universal Audio offer plugin recreations of most iconic studio reverbs at a fraction of the price of the original units (one of the most iconic, the AMS RMX16, can be purchased for $279 vs. $3k+!). Convolution reverbs like the McDSP Revolver allows you to “sample” the way a real space reflects waves, and translate it to your mix! Another approach to creating a perception of depth is to “widen” a mono sound in stereo through different means (EQ spread, tiny volume, delay and pitch fluctuations between the left and right channel). That’s something Eventide has always excelled at with its line of hardware harmonizers, that are now also available in plugin version, like the H3000 Factory. 46

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McDSP Revolver

Universal Audio AMS RMX16

Eventide H3000 Factory

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