The Pro's Perspective - Bernie Larsen
Bernie Larsen is a multi-instrumentalist/producer and songwriter, best-known perhaps for his years playing guitar on the road with David Lindley in El Rayo-X. He also played with Lucinda Williams, Rikki Lee Jones, and Melissa Etheridge for years, and earned his first Grammy nomination with her as well.
Bernie has recorded at Akadak Music with Randy Mitchell a number of times, most recently playing bass and guitar on the Waldo Bliss version of "In My Room".
What does he like about Akadak? "It's so comfortable", he says. "It has a clubhouse feel to it.There's nothing pretentious about it. In a lot of fancy studios, you can feel isolated. It can be a bit unnatural sonically to isolate every little sound."
"Some of the best recordings by the Beatles, Bob Marley and the Wailers, and all the early Motown stuff was recorded in a studio like Akadak. Everybody in the same room playing together is a positive thing."
"The real reason I like the studio is Randy. It's the person at the helm that really makes the difference. He's a musical genius kind of guy."
"He really undestands the architecture of music--how it all fits together. Not only does he have the highest-end Pro Tools gear, he has so many vintage amps and guitars, as well as tube compressors and limiters. And he really knows what he's doing as a producer."
"It's about honoring the song. He has the logical-technical approach, but still has a ton of soul. Sometimes young producers want to impose their will on a musician. Randy has the discipline and experience to let the spaces between the notes speak".
"I'm a snob. I played with Lindley and Ry Cooder. Randy's in their league. He's a trained upright bassist and a real session guitar player. He has the kind of wisdom that comes from years of playing and recording. It's just magical."
The Novice's Perspective - Carolyn Snodgress
Nineteen year old Musician Carolyn Snodgress, when asked what it was like recording at Akadak Music, says simply, "It was perfect for me. I started recording with Randy when I was in high school. First I would record a rough track at my house with a click track, so he had a skeleton going in. I was concerned that I wasn't talented enough to carry it."
"Randy's really good at explaining things. He's open to however you're comfortable working. He has really good people skills. He kept checking to see if I was happy, asking, "Does this sound like what you had in mind?'"
"I would get there around 10AM and we would work until 10 or 11 at night. I was afraid that I'd have to do take after take, but he was so reassuring. My dad would go out for lunch and dinner, but Randy would just keep plugging away."
"His studio has really nice, subdued lighting. There are racks and racks of guitars, all kinds of amps and monitors, all professionally laid out. He has tapestries on most of the walls, nice comfy chairs, pictures and posters of famous musicians."
"Recording studios look so complicated on TV. His studio seems simpler somehow, but the sound is great. I guess you don't really need a lot of huge boards and stuff."
When asked about Randy's strengths, she didn't hesitate. "He's hard-working, quick, and versatile. He plays so many instruments. He's really experienced, been on lots of records and toured all over the place."
"He has really good communication skills. He finds out what you're trying to accomplish and quickly gets it done. We did a total of five songs for my EP. I can't think of anything he could do to make it easier. I'm very happy with the way it all turned out"
Carolyn is majoring in Music Business, taking audio engineering, and pitching for the softball team at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She looks forward to recording at Akadak when she returns to Southern California for the summer.
Carolyn recorded her song, "I've Got You" at Akadak Music Recording Studio.