Email: Dan and Tucker

From:  Dan Konopka (okgo)

Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 15:56:19 -0700

To: Tucker Rule (Thursday)

Subject: Re: Tarbox/Fridmann/?

It's totally amazing how exactly on the money you were with describing Dave and the studio. Dead on. We've been at Tarbox for about a week now and it's been a  total blast. Dave is indeed rad and has made this recording experience a complete joy. No head trips - hang-ups or headaches - all fun. Unbelievable.

So Dave showed me a coupe of pics of how you had your kit set up and I borrowed a coupe of concepts. I put a double headed 26" kick in front of my 22" and 24". Sounds really huge.

He's so into just about anything, I threw up 2 18" crashes for hihats and we all loved it. I tuned a 6 1/2 snare dow as low as it could go, put a T-shirt on it, with the snares barely touching, making an awesomely rattle-y back-beat. 

Really fucking cool.

So yeah - thanks again for all your insights. - even if it was a week after we started. It's all good...

And yes, we shall stay in touch... Take care!


On Oct 21, 2008, at 4:17 PM, Tucker Rule wrote:

hey dan, sorry about the late response as ive been running around and playin catch-up of late... the process with dave is nothing short of amazingly easy and relaxed... he is an extremely calm and real individual who knows his room/studio like the back of his hand.

He has a very accommodating and knowledgeable approach to getting drum sounds.  in my experience with dave, i get the drums close to where i want them in the room and he relays the tweaks to me after hearing them in the control room... that process for me has always been quick and painless... he makes your drums sound like your drums, he rules.

as far as editing goes, im a huge fan of single takes and making the song sound human... i don't think dave has any problem with editing two takes together, trying different fills etc... whatever makes you happy and makes the song feel better.  in my experience, dave is a big fan of feel... he doesnt mind imperfection, if something speeds up or slows down but feels great, he's down to explore that even more.  one of my favorite dave sayings is, "if it feels wrong, go for it."... he's always been open to trying anything i wanted, however crazy or off the wall.

as far as cymbal choices, i've always found that thinner sounds better in the studio... im a zildjian endorser and found that thin k's work very nicely for any application.  the first time we recorded used a maple ayotte kit with woodhoops...since then ive switched endorsers and now i use c&c's.  for this session i used an acrylic c&c kit with woodhoops that sounded pretty amazing.  16 x 26 kick, 7 x 14 rack, 14 x16, 16 x 18 and 16 x 20 floor toms and a 10 x 14 snare.  remo emperors on all tops of toms and snare and powerstroke 3 on kick... the resonators were just for the room mics to add a crazy low end.

the tracking is very comfortable and i wouldn't have changed a thing about the process... 

whenever i track, no matter where it is, i always like to use my in- ears rather than studio headphones.  dave is a whiz when it comes to dialing a good headphone mix, he can do whatever you need, he's really a genius.  i always like tucking the drums beneath the bass and guitars so im concentrating more on feel and flow rather than being too self conscious of my playing... that being said, if im doing a song to a click, i usually take everything out of my ears except for drums and click... i know those are polar opposite ways of thinking but that approach works for me.

dave is very patient when it comes to recording... he is very capable of helping with the finishing of songs.  when we come in, the songs are usually mapped out for the most part and dave suggests the tweaks that end up making the songs better such as key changes, different beats, pushing and pulling etc...

the studio is in the middle of nowhere but there are grocery stores in the area... we didnt do any take out, mostly just grocery shopping.  we have six people in our band... there are four beds and two air mattresses.  if you have 4 people its pretty cozy, like being in a log cabin... the first time we were there, we rented a whole seperate house which kind of sucked... we all preferred staying in the studio together, its just easier .

hope this was a good help for you... you have nothing to worry about, dave is super rad.  

good luck and stay in touch,


On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 6:52 PM, Dan Konopka wrote:

Hello Tucker,

My name is Dan and I play drums in the band OK Go - I was hoping to ask you some questions and see if you'd share some of your experiences when recording with Dave Fridmann. OK Go will be recording with Dave this fall and winter at Tarbox...(btw Dave passed me your email...)

I spoke to Dave a little about his process on recording drums and he gave me a pretty simple idea of how it works, but I was curious though on how those processes feel to you when you're cutting your tracks? Is it as relaxed as Dave makes it out to seem?

How much would you say Dave takes an interest in getting the drums just right? Sonically and otherwise.

What is your attitude on doing drum edits? What's Dave's attitude on editing? - is it something he likes to do, or not?

He explained it to me that most of the time it's an "if the song needs it" sort of approach. (I believe that if the drum take is anything less than a stellar, it could probably use a little micro-investigation. Not necessarily moving every kick and snare, but maybe piecing together the top of the 3rd take to end of the 6th...or even something like looking for flams that no one other than a drummer would hear, etc - your thoughts?)

He said that you like to do more interesting things while recording your drums - like other resonating bass drums and different cymbal ideas. Generally speaking, (drum sizes, cymbal weights, drum heads, playing volume, etc.) what do you think worked best? What worked not the best?

What made you comfortable in his studio? What would've made your tracking better if you could've changed things?

Did you have control over your your headphone mix? What do you focus on when your building your headphone mix? Does Dave have tips on any of that?

We won't have all of our songs completely written when we arrive for the session. Will it be a problem (for Dave) to finish writing the songs while we're in the studio?

- Is he patient if things aren't getting accomplished quickly?

In the context of writing, what are the levels of pressure you feel to get your drums takes finished - or do you guys have everything well mapped out before you get to the studio?

If it seems like you're having a great grooving day and no one else in the band is - do you, take everyone out of your headphones? Do you play the songs alone with just a click?

What do you do?

What's your/Dave's attitude on punching in drum parts?

(lets say you want to put in a fill right before the last chorus and there's just no way your going to get another awesome whole pass of the song, do you just punch in that fill?)

Since it looks like the studio is in the middle of nowhere - How are the sleeping, eating and overall living conditions there? I imagine lots of ordering in - early to bed, early to rise days - What's it like? We're thinking of having half the band stay in the studio rooms and the other half goto a hotel - is that a good move?

SO - that's a lot of questions - sorry....

I there's anything you could share about your time there, I'd love to know. I'm very excited to record with Dave and can't wait to get started. I'd like to have a leg up on it before we get there...

Tucker, thank you so much for your time and any insight you can offer...

Looking forward to hearing your new stuff!

All the best,