Flora | Mixing The Decemberists Under Ground

Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Barbara Schultz


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

Tucker Martine in his Flora studio

Tucker Martine in his Flora studio

It's common for musicians, producers and engineers to migrate to music centers: L.A., New York, London, Nashville. Less typical are music/audio pros like Tucker Martine, who left his home in Nashville to open his own facility, Flora, in the Pacific Northwest.

“My dad is a songwriter so I was exposed early to music, the craft of songwriting and the studio environment,” Martine says. “I started looking for ways to reconcile my interests: songs, playing drums and experimenting with weird noises. Ever since, I've been trying to record music that excites me with folks that are excited about the studio as an instrument.”

Martine had a setup in Seattle for 13 years before moving to Portland in 2006. His projects have included Bill Frisell's Grammy-nominated Floratone ensemble album, as well as recent releases from Laura Veirs, Erin McKeown, Mudhoney and more. His current studio, in the basement of his home, is primarily a mix room, but two attached spaces and tielines to his living room allow him to track overdubs, too, as he did when he produced The Decemberists' forthcoming Capitol release. Recording was done at Kung Fu Bakery in Portland; all mixing and overdubs were completed at Flora.

“This Decemberists record is a concept record,” Martine says. “Each song overlaps with another; there isn't a moment of silence on the whole album. We had 17 segues that had to be well-thought-out and executed. The lead voice of the songs was delivered by five different characters. Colin [Meloy], the lead singer, sang the parts of three of these characters. To differentiate [between them], we had to find three distinct vocal treatments.

“One character was more sinister and he got a little distortion and slapback. Another was cleaner with EMT 140 reverb and the third had a slapback pre-delay, which was feeding the EMT.”

Flora is equipped with an Ampex ATR half-inch deck, MCI 2-inch 16-track, Pro Tools HD and ProAc Studio 100 monitors. “If I don't need the computer for editing or additional tracks, I will stay on tape,” Martine says. “I typically mix to the Ampex deck, as well as Pro Tools. I have been liking the Crane Song Phoenix plug-in on digital mixes, though for The Decemberists this time it was all tape mixes through the API 2500.” Other go-to processing gear includes a UREI Silver 1176, Memory Man delay, Manley Massive Passive EQ and Chandler TG1 compressor.

“I often get better results at my place than I do at fancy studios,” says Martine, who at press time was mixing Death Cab for Cutie. “Getting good results has more to do with working in an environment that I'm comfortable in than it does with having the nicest console and the sweetest room acoustics.”

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.