Guerrilla Production Techniques: Recording

By 
Chris Fitzgerald
June 7, 2011
Marcus Bagala and Boram Han perform "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars.
Photo by Kat Taub

The Learning Center and Media Lab at Berklee are for more than just printing. Among many other music technology events offered semesterly is the Guerrilla Production Techniques series, a start-to-finish music production workshop utilizing bang-for-your-buck gear. Each semester features a new song and a new band of Berklee students, but the principles are the same: start recording your music; use what you have and what is in your budget; keep in mind that these are techniques, not rules; and learn as you go.

Learning Center trainer (and jazz composition alumnus) Blair Pershyn led Guerrilla Production Techniques: Recording, discussing topics ranging from microphone type, to polar pattern and frequency response, to old televisions with UHF knobs converted to MIDI controllers. The gear used included a Shure SM58 mic on the kick drum; a pair of small diaphragm SE1A condenser mics configured to an XY stereo pattern for the drum overheads; and—to record the crowd singing the chorus—a Sterling ST55 large diaphragm condenser mic for the ukelele and vocals, a Line6 UX2 audio interface, and an MBox Pro audio interface. Running the recording session was Learning Center lab manager (and MP&E alumnus) Sohta Tsuchiya.

Covering the Bruno Mars tune "The Lazy Song," the band consisted of Berklee students Marcus Bagala (ukelele, guitar), Noshi Curry (vocals), Boram Han (keyboard), Fabio Rojas (drums), and Andreas Russo (bass). The event afforded Berklee students the opportunity to dive in and make the most out of their laptop package and realize that their computers aren't just devices to check Facebook, but tools of the trade and cornerstones of their career as professional musicians.

Rounding off the Guerrilla Production Techniques series will be a mixing forum on Thursday, June 9, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Media Lab at 150 Massachusetts Avenue. The event is free and open to the Berklee community. For more information, and for video of past events, visit the Learning Center website.