November 2021 - 29

I noticed both of you are listed as co-producers. Tell me
about that relationship.
Steve Berlin: Any record is really a co-production, between
the band and often, the engineer and the mixer. Many things
go on in and around making an album, from the arranging to
the organizing and even the clerical. In other words, things
that don't have a lot of 'art' in them and are frankly a pain in
the ass. Luckily, Ori is very meticulous and on top of things like
that. In terms of the art process, it was a fifty/fifty partnership.
It was definitely a give and take. He would express one thing,
I might express another, and we would meet in the middle.
We had lots of discussions, sometimes heated discussions, but
that's a healthy thing. We both cared enormously about the
Ori Naftaly: I agree a hundred percent. It was always a
collaboration with Steve and very organic, just like he was
part of the band. Everybody in the band contributed to the big
picture, but somebody also has to take responsibility and think
of the end result. That's why a producer is so important. Any
band can produce themselves. I could have produced it myself,
but what's beautiful about music is the ability to collaborate. It
allows you to have another set of ears, and it takes you out of
your comfort zone. A producer brings different tastes, angles
and approaches. I'm very particular, and I'm kind of a perfectionist,
but I don't think I'm always right or that I have the best
ideas, so it's important to be able to bounce things off of somebody
you can musically trust. Sometimes with Steve's ideas, I
was like, how is this going to work? Ninety-nine percent of the
time, he was right, even if I didn't realize it until listening to the
final master.
Steve Berlin: Now you tell me! [everyone laughs]
Where was the album recorded?
Ori Naftaly: Memphis Magnetic Recording Co.
Steve Berlin: It's an entirely analog studio, sort of state-of-theart
1973, which really contributed to the vibe and the sonics.
We tracked to Pro Tools, and we had to bring a computer. They
didn't actually have a computer in the studio.
What did you track through?
Steve Berlin: The board is a Sphere Eclipse A, and we kept
everything all-analog until the repository.
The arrangements, musical interplay and even the mix on
the album are so tight. The bass and drum grooves are
deceptively simple, the guitar interplay is very considered,
and the horns and keys sneak and snake their way into
the mix. Did you work from demos and predetermined
arrangements, or did you do a lot of writing and jamming
in the studio?
Ori Naftaly: All of the above.
Steve Berlin: I think it's a testament to the players and the
engineers. Jeff Stewart Saltzman mixed it, and a lot of that we
have to give him credit for. We spent a long time on the parts
with trial/error and experimenting, but nothing was random.
We just kept pushing until we found the thing that worked.
Ori Naftaly: What I like about Steve is that he doesn't say,
" Hey, add this chord or play this rhythm. He tells you, " Bring
me something different or interesting. Try it a bit angrier. " Then
we would sit and think about how we could do that. It didn't
work on some of the songs, meaning we couldn't really find
anything more to do. Then on some, it made the song.
Was the album tracked live or layered part-by-part?
Ori Naftaly: We all played together.
Steve Berlin: The basic tracks were all cut live, capturing the
room, the space, and the vibe. We kept asking, is it Memphis
enough? We wanted it to be a statement about modern Memphis,
where the city is now. In some ways, it's an undefinable
thing, and yet there is an answer, and we wanted this album to
be part of that continuum.
Ori Naftaly: When we say this is so Memphis, it basically
means this has a lot of attitude. We leave the cute and the
polished stuff for Nashville. [everyone laughs].
Steve Berlin: You pointed out the guitar layers. After the basic
tracks, we spent a lot of time finding guitar sounds and parts
that interlocked.
Were the horns tracked live or overdubbed later?
Steve Berlin: The horns were tracked and arranged later by
Art Edmaiston (sax) and Marc Franklin (trumpet).
Ori Naftaly: They are not technically part of our band, but
they are definitely part of our sound. They tracked their parts
together and added layers when needed. You mentioned how
the horns are placed in the mix. A lot of that is the way they
played and arranged it. Jeff, Steve and I just made it pretty and
put it at the right places in the mix.
Did they send you the horn parts, or did they come to
the studio where you were working?
Steve Berlin: Every note on this record was done with all of
us together participating. It wasn't one of those records where
people could just send their stuff in, and we'd make it work.
We had to be in the middle of every single decision.
Steve, did you get involved with gear choice or mic
Steve Berlin: The engineers we work with are fantastic. So, I
defer to them ninety-nine percent of the time. They know their
gear and the room. If something bugs me, I'll say, " Hey, can
we try something else? " But I am always focused on the bigger
When tracking drums, did you keep things minimal and
old-school, or did you mic it all?
Steve Berlin: We did quote, modern miking, unquote, but that
room sounds incredible. We could have gotten away with a
minimal setup. Most of what you hear is the sound of the room,
and the last ten percent would be the individual mics.
Ori, I love your guitar sound and the tasty effects. Are
you a big pedal guy? And why is Steve laughing?
Ori Naftaly: Probably because I've actually never owned
more than an overdrive pedal for most of my life. I'm 34, and
up until my mid-20s, I was against pedals. But when Southern
Avenue moved away from being a blues band, where a tube
screamer is all you need, into a rock and soul band, I started
using more pedals. Still, to this day, live, my main tone is a
RECORDING November 2021 29

November 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November 2021

Fade In
Fast Forward
Studio Upgrade Roundup
Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
KRK Systems: KNS 8402
Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
Novation Circuit Rhythm
Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
Mackie: Onyx16
Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
Readers' Tracks
Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Intro
November 2021 - Cover1
November 2021 - Cover2
November 2021 - 1
November 2021 - 2
November 2021 - 3
November 2021 - Fade In
November 2021 - 5
November 2021 - 6
November 2021 - 7
November 2021 - Fast Forward
November 2021 - 9
November 2021 - Studio Upgrade Roundup
November 2021 - 11
November 2021 - 12
November 2021 - 13
November 2021 - 14
November 2021 - 15
November 2021 - 16
November 2021 - 17
November 2021 - 18
November 2021 - 19
November 2021 - Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
November 2021 - 21
November 2021 - 22
November 2021 - 23
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
November 2021 - 25
November 2021 - KRK Systems: KNS 8402
November 2021 - 27
November 2021 - Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
November 2021 - 29
November 2021 - 30
November 2021 - 31
November 2021 - 32
November 2021 - 33
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
November 2021 - 35
November 2021 - Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
November 2021 - 37
November 2021 - RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
November 2021 - 39
November 2021 - 40
November 2021 - 41
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
November 2021 - 43
November 2021 - Novation Circuit Rhythm
November 2021 - 45
November 2021 - Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
November 2021 - 47
November 2021 - 48
November 2021 - 49
November 2021 - Mackie: Onyx16
November 2021 - 51
November 2021 - Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
November 2021 - 53
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
November 2021 - 55
November 2021 - 56
November 2021 - 57
November 2021 - Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
November 2021 - 59
November 2021 - 60
November 2021 - 61
November 2021 - RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
November 2021 - 63
November 2021 - Readers' Tracks
November 2021 - 65
November 2021 - 66
November 2021 - 67
November 2021 - 68
November 2021 - 69
November 2021 - 70
November 2021 - 71
November 2021 - Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Cover3
November 2021 - Cover4