This past October, I had the pleasure of spending a day in the Tiny Telephone recording studio with my good friend, San Francisco-based singer-songwriter, Debbie Neigher. She’s getting closer to the release date of the album, and we’re both happy to finally share these images with the world 🙂
Debbie, producer John Vanderslice and sound engineer Ian Pellicci were working on a few tracks on John’s ridiculously sickly amazing lineup of analog gear, including one phenomenal Studer 827 2″ 24 track system and their historically significant Neve 5316 Console. While I was there, Debbie and John were gracious enough to grant me full access to the studio where I was able to capture what it’s like during a day in the life of Debbie recording her debut album.
Debbie is a native of New Jersey, and has been playing piano under classical training and her own highly-motivated regimen since age 4. As a singer-songwriter she elegantly builds upon her early start on the keys into the sometimes hard-nosed, sometimes delicate and soft musical machine that she is today. Her songs are a blend of rock and indie, with a hint of jazz and sprinkle of funk. Whether backed by a full band on stage, or simply going solo with her piano in a coffee shop, you always experience a great performance from her.
So what was spending an extended evening at Tiny Telephone like? I arrived right at the end of tracking for “Wishbone,” which was cool because it allowed me to start out in the control room with everyone, warming up to the entirety of the TT studio while they reviewed the takes. The studio is packed with so much neat gear, I had loads of fun exploring different angles and compositions. Lighting, as in most studios, was pretty dim, so the mood was right, but low light photographic challenge was in full effect. After an hour or so of reviewing a few tracks from earlier in the day, Debbie moved to the sound booth (or TT’s humongous sound room in this case), where i was able to capture her on the piano warming up for the next set of takes for “My My My.”
All in all I’d say it was a joy to experience part of this process and I’m grateful I was able to capture these timeless moments for Debbie. You only record your first studio album once and I appreciate being the only outsider invited into the mix to take part in documenting this part of the process.
It’s important to note: recording analog music requires flawless takes, so if you blow it in the first 20 seconds or the last few, you’re doing the whole thing over again. Lucky for Debbie, we only got a few good laughs once or twice on that one. Overall it was an inspiring experience, one I hope to repeat with Debbie, and Tiny Telephone. Thanks Debbie, for inviting me into share this with you!