AjiSignal is taking a look at the people who are taking part in helping to make the music in cities. This week AjiSignal is talking with Peter Wade who makes and produces music in New York City.
AjiSignal: Hello Monsieur Wade. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us at AjiSignal. First off, who are you, where are you, and what do you do??
Peter Wade: My name is Peter Wade. I’m a New Yorker, and I’m a music guy. I produce, write, compose, engineer, mix, publish and dance (awkwardly) to music in my studio on 25th street in Manhattan.
How do you find NYC as a place to collaborate and work with artists and musicians on projects? You’ve worked on both coasts in the states; how do they compare?
As a producer and artist, I feel New York is one of best places to collaborate on music. The population density makes it easy to find people doing whatever you like, need, or want. You can get a tabla player as fast as you can get a guitar player, as fast as you can get a stand-up bass or alpen horn overdub.
You toured the states DJing clubs in the mid 90s, became a recording engineer at the now closed Sony Music Studios on 54th street in NYC, and now with the Lynn & Wade LLP you’re creating music. What are the moments along this path that influence the sound and character of Lynn & Wade LLP?
Back in high school, I started listening to Shabba and Supercat, which helped instigate my reggae vinyl collection and set me on the road to DJing radio, playing reggae music in clubs, and ultimately touring with a band.
As a result, reggae has impacted my production style, the sounds I like, and how I dub my mixes. That said, I also grew up loving classic rock, hip-hop, traditional and modern R&B, new wave, and indie rock. I produce all kinds of music and, though I’m guilty of appropriating reggae elements and applying them copiously to everything from pop to experimental greek-chrous-lounge-soul, most of my stuff doesn’t sound like reggae. Except the reggae stuff.
Lynn & Wade LLP, is a partnership between myself and singer/songwriter Michelle ‘Lynn’ Bell. It grew out of a previous project, Shitake Monkey. I wanted to work with someone who could bring a different angle to my music. Michelle has a long discography of songs she’s written for mainstream artists including Britney Spears, Mary J Blige and Jennifer Lopez. Early on, we abandoned the idea of making mass market pop music, in favor of taking a more creatively intimate approach and making more personal records.
Having engineered on several of Jennifer Lopez’s albums, I had a chance to play her some L&W songs. We ended up writing and producing ten songs for “Brave,” five of which ended up on the album. They are very different from the rest of Jennifer’s records, and I think our honest, more personal approach really comes through.
Michelle and I have been writing a new round of material and are slowly compiling a release with the working title, “The Mystery LLP.” We call the sound Electro Deco.
What is the Electro Deco sound?
We call our sound Electro Deco because it describes our aesthetic in that our influences are a combination of innovation and classical concepts. It’s a reference to both of our painting backgrounds, too — (graffiti for me, canvasses for Michelle). We like the way the words sound together and the referential meanings behind them describe our music well.
Tell us a bit about your studio. Are there things about it that make it an “only in NYC” place to create?
My studio “LBJ”, or “LaBronze Johnson Studios,” is a windowless bedroom size space with a ‘closet’ vocal booth — considerable real estate by Manhattan standards. It’s part of a larger facility with five production rooms, a big live room, lounge and a larger mix room. All the small rooms are wired to the main live room where I do drums and bigger stuff (think alpen horn). Again, the population density makes it great; in the same facility is a rock producer, a string arranger, Full Force across the hall, and the former Sony Music Publishing studio which brings in tons of songwriters on a regular basis. It’s conveniently located in close proximity to every kind of ethnic food you could imagine, and plenty of clubs and bars to provide convenient distractions.
Equipment wise, I’m running Protools HD3 v7.4, Logic 8, Ableton Live and have a wide variety of plug-ins. I’ve got a large mic collection with some choice vintage pieces: a U-47, and U-48 both modified by Martin Kantola, and a C12-VR with original handmade capsule modified by Dave Smith of Sony Music Studios. I also have a bunch of newer mic’s from Royer and Mojave that are workhorses. My gear racks are filled with great mic pre’s and compression, and some rare and amazing effects boxes including a Castle phaser (thank you Eli-173), an MSP-126 and an EMT 255 given to me by one of my mentors, Bruce Swedien. Although it has dwindled slightly over the past couple years, my vintage synth game is still strong and I’m always ready to get my laser on with my Jupiter-6, OB Xpander, Yamaha CS-15 or SE-1. My studio also has an in-booth monitor set up for ADR, Foley and soundtrack work.
As a member of a music creation duo, how does the internet enter into your process of creating, collaborating, and distributing what you do?
I’m always online, looking for new music and reading blogs. I use the web to send mixes and refs back and forth to clients and also to transfer files (often full multi-tracks). More and more I find myself creating music for direct to digital distribution; iTunes has grown to the point that you hardly need a record label anymore. The web is also great for promoting artists. I’ve posted some remixes of Lynn & Wade’s “Wireless” for free download to Ajisignal readers here.
So, an artist from from out of town is in NYC working with you – where are you going to hang after a day in the studio?
Well, I always try to make the studio itself a fun place to hang out, but that said, it’s usually just a warm up. I like Friday nights at King Size, where I catch Deadly Dragon Sound throwing down classic 45’s. Otherwise, my DJ friends are playing records everywhere from Brooklyn to Harlem, so it’s easy to find great music and/or live didgeridoo.
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