Shovel Brotha Ep.1

Ep1. A Shovel in Pleasant Place

Spring time was about and the skies were much warmer than previous weeks. The Birds chirped the new rhythms of the season down in Pleasant Place. Some people call it the hood. Carl called it home. The red brick roads were still freshly crumbled from the snows of the winter that might actually still be here. The weather is so unpredictable, unless you are writing the Farmer’s Almanac. Carl felt it would be the perfect day to get some gardening gear stored up. The frost might still be here so he thought he might start to turn over some dirt for pre-planting. The store was within walking distance right down the street. On his walk to the local convenience store Carl saw two young petite teenage girls running down the street and screaming for help. Police cars sped by in a hurry, and paid no mind to the girls.
Carl asked the teenagers what they were running and screaming for and they said, “This creepy guy was tryin’ to grab us. We don’t see him no more though. That was crazy!” They continued talking to each other down the street huffing for air.
Carl walked to the corner that the girls had just came sprinting from. He thought he might see some rough looking man there, but he saw nothing and continued on to the store. On the way over he picked a leaf off of a tree and rolled it between his fingers and sniffed them. His finger was died chlorophyll green leaf oil.
Carl wasn’t sure if they would have what he needed at the corner store, but it was the nearest place so why not try. The store had nothing for gardening except a few seeds and a pointed construction shovel. Carl thought no need to waste a trip so he bought the seeds and the shovel. When asked if he wanted a receipt he said no and put the seeds in his pocket. The shovel was slightly heavy so he adjusted his grip and held the shovel at a point closer to its center of gravity.
Carl walked out of the store. He clinked the head of the shovel on the cement. The shovel left a tiny divet in the walkway, but who would care. There was a large group of guys blocking the path he would be heading — nobody paid Carl any mind though. The air was filled with a skunky pine smell.
A plain clothed police officer drove by in a hurry and almost ran over Mrs. Beverly a matriarch of the community. A teenage boy told the cop to watch out. The officer responded by threating to arrest the teenage boy Lester by taser. Carl pulled out his phone and recorded it. Eventually the officer let Lester go after several older gentlemen asked the cop to forget about it.
Carl walked again upon the corner the petite teenage girls were running from. He wondered if the police knew or even cared about the creepy guy in the neighborhood. The shovel in his hand gave Carl a sense of invincibility. People moved out of the way as he passed by them. The head of the shovel shined, and the tip was very sharp. The shaft was sturdy. The only drawback was that the handle was plastic. This shovel was meant to dig through things with Carl and turn over the earth. Shield and spear all in one.
“I hope nobody thinks I’m taking out the garbage for a hit squad,” Carl thought to himself.
Carl returned home with his shovel and seeds. He put the seeds away in the house to be germinated, and then went to work outside.
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch, Ding, Ding, Crunch. Carl was stepping on that shovel and turning over that dirt and rock. The more he cracked rocks and turned over dirt he started to feel some sort of way about how the police could threaten to arrest a teenage boy but do nothing about the creepy grabber. He thought, “Maybe the police aren’t out here to protect our neighborhood. What are they out here for! A lot of girls have gone missing in Pleasant Place already. Something has to be done.”
Carl dug one more time and from nowhere the ground split and gave him the biggest jolt of electricity he had ever felt.
He lied there on the ground while breathing the oxidized Spring air. An opalescent figure waves and looks Carl straight in the eye, points at the shovel. Carl received the words “Let’s turn over this land.” Every square inch of Pleasant Place flashes before his eyes for the tiniest largest bit of a moment.
Carl listened to the rhythms of the birds, as he walked down the brick roads of his home town Pleasant Place with shovel in hand.



I recorded Jimmy Love. I edited Tropical Breeze with EQ. Then I bused my vocal tracks to Reverb buses and Delay Buses. Then automated the bus send levels of the Delay and Reverb Tracks. I also edited Magic is Alive. I compressed the vocal tracks and then EQ’d them. I also uploaded sounds into an AKAI MPX8 so that I can insert some Fireworks that I recorded with an MXL 2010 in Bipolar pattern on July 4th this year. I also finished my A/V Project. it was more difficult than I had originally thought it would be. I had to record my work on a layback track in pro-tools so that the listener could hear the differences in the Frequency Spectrum and when I bypassed compression. I also had to record vocals on my Zoom Hn4 while doing working on protools and recording my computer screen through this app called Blueberry. I then had to do a video intro. In order to bring the video files into protools I had to convert them to .mov format and install Quicktime on my Computer. In the end I think the Project was informative.

Bass and Percussion are Wonderful Things!


Here I am playing bass through the api512 for the bass lines to Magic is Alive and Tropical Breeze. Today I really enjoyed the bass line for Tropical Breeze. I surprised myself

More Bass

More Bass


This was my setup for my Crashes. I just wanted them to sound splashy. I recorded them with a R121

Snare Sample Under View

The snare was loose. So I held the snare while I played the samples. I liked the rasp I got from this technique

Percussion Samples

SM57 placed an inch up and in from the rim.


I threw a Audix D6 into the Kick. I can’t wait to use these samples for other things as well!!!


Playing the Flex-A-Tone.


Throwing some Guiro in there to play in the Higher frequencies


Shaking up an Egg into an AT4050


I’m using the tiny metal bead cabasa. I’m recording into the AT4050

So I decided that I would be doing drum samples for the song Tropical Breeze.  I didn’t feel like dealing with phase issues and I liked the flexibility of Samples.  So I played each instrument of percussion.   I only have a half day today because John McGinnis want to use the SSL to track the  Pleiades.    SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG

Doin It and Hotter Than Too Many Degrees PART 2



Me at the Board

I’m mixing Magic is Alive while waiting for Jimmy Love to come to the studio for round two of recording Doin’ It and Hotter Than Too Many Degrees

Wes on the BOARD

I love mixing in this STUDIO!!!

Bus stop Percussion

Jimmy insists that his percussion include his classic style of beating on the bus stop. He is using a Gobo to get the sound. So here is how we didi it. I’m also considering getting samples of him actually playing percussion at a bus stop. This will have to do for now because we started so late that we have to do a lot in only an hour. I’m glad I used all of that interim time to set up everything and get the other songs prepped.

Jimmy Vocals

Jimmy love from Cleveland Cloud 9 is singing for the song Doin’ It and Hotter Than Too Many Degrees.


This is the R121 ribbon mic it. I’m using it in Mid Side with a NU87 for Jimmy Love’s vocals.

Singer POV

this is the POV shot of the Mics. This shot also features the shape of the room that jimmy’s vocals will be reflecting off of.

Tracking for Hotter than too many degrees

Jimmuy Love Vibin

Doin It

Jimmy Celebrating a Good Take!!!


Knock 3 Times and the Sun Will Rise!!!


Chester Hopkins Bey does vocals for Knock 3 Times in the SSL Duality Studio with Wesley Washington. This song is one of a number of projects created by Cleveland Avenue. This song features Wesley Washington on vocals and guitar; Chester Hopkins Bey on vocals; and Diona Shaw on vocals.


Gobo is on the right to help shorten the width of the room.

Knock Three Times

Mic Setup is a Mid Side with the U87 as the mid and the MXL 2010 as the sides.


Things have got to be patched . in this case I’m patching into channel 25 and 26

The SUN Will Rise Guitar Setup.

I wanted a ribbon mic for guitar. Why? I thought it would make the sound brighter and fuller. I used the MXL as my Mid mic. I pointed it at the vanilla spot of my guitar and about a foot out from the sound hole. This is the guitar setup for The Sun Will Rise!!

Guitar Tracking for The SUN WIll Rise!!

My beautiful sound wall for tracking guitar. Especially incase Chester and I want to play at the same time.

Chester Hopkins Bey on the Mic

Chester doing his vocals for The Sun Will Rise! Positive Music.

The sun will Rise

The wall in front of the mic

Knock 3 Times and the Sun Will Rise

Tracking went amazing today. We had a good time and we finished the songs that we practiced. Job Well Done!!

Tracking for Tropical Breeze, Gotta Thank The Lord (Mesa Boogie), and MIXXUX

Tropical Breeze Voc Mics

Mid Side Recording for Vocals in Tropical Breeze.

Mic Close of Mid Side Technique

U87 is in Cardioid

Sides Mic

MXL 2010 is in a BiPolar pattern.

Tracking Guitar

Getting ready to track guitar for Tropical Breeze. The mid side mics are set to record from the Vanilla position of my guitar.

Guitar tracking Tropic Breeze

I’m pointed at the cushion to make the guitar less bright.

U87 and MXL2010 in Mid Side for Vocal

I’m getting ready to track vocals for Tropical Breeze with the same set up as the guitar, but in a different part of the tracking studio.

Pop Placement

Pop Filters are important for protecting the mic.

Length of studio

Trop Breeze Vocals

MXL setting

Polar pattern shot of bipolar setting of 2010

Mesa Boogie (Gotta Thank the Lord) Guitar

Codey Miller is laying down some guitar for the Mesa Boogie track. He’s been assisting me for the day in the studio with tracking for Mesa Boogie. We’re using a Mesa Boogie amplifier, and a Gibson Les Paul Supra Deluxe electric guitar. We have the SM 57 to pic up the guitar. This song was first created while I was busking and I ran into Stevie Jay the bassist for Weird Al. I made up a song for him on the spot based on the shirt he was wearing. He loved the song and invited me to see some shows. He said that Mesa Boogie would love this song. So here it is being produced.

AMP Miking

The SM57 is on the low cone of the Speaker.

Mesa Boogie Amp

Mesa Boogie AMP

Guitar Amp Settings

setting for Amplifier


Guitar Amp. Ohms


Speaker OHMs


This is the MIXXUX Tunnel. Where Codey and I attempted to break into another dimension with Codey on guitar and me on Vocals. We made a tunnel with the Gobos to separate the thundering sound of the MESA BOOGIE AMP and Speaker combo. Russell Carter was in the studio to assist with recording.


Tracking for Doin’ it and Hotter Than Too Many Degrees

The week before tracking and the night before tracking I got in touch with the writer of Doin’ It (Jimmy Love) and the co-writer of Hotter Than Too Many Degrees.  These are awesome songs and I would love to consider them for capstone options.  Throughout the week I worked on building up the bass lines and guitar for the song.  I played my Ibanez Stratocaster and my Washburn steel string acoustic to layer the guitar.  I did that in my project studio.   When I arrived at the SSL studio.  I had time re-track my bass line and also get some snare and kick samples for the song Doin’ It.  I used a d6 on the kick, and a SM57 for the snare an inch up and an inch in.  I plugged my bass in to the API 512 Pre with a roll off pad activated and then patched it into channel 25 of the SSL.  The bass was awesome and boomy.  I really liked the sound.  I had also checked out a Mesa Boogie Amplifier and speaker.  I was also fortunate enough to get to use a Gibson Les Paul Supra Deluxe electric guitar to track with for Hotter Than Too Many Degrees.  I miked the top Right cone of the Mesa speaker with an SM57.  The sound cut right through the track just how I wanted it to and made the song sound HOTTTT!  For vocals I had a mid-side technique set up with the NU87 for mid and a MXL2010 as my sides.  I also set up a little booth made of gobos.  I was all prepared for my singer to arrive at 1pm.  Unfortunately he did not show.  I decided to still use the time to record my own version of Hotter Than too Many Degrees.  The vocals turned out very rich.  I am really impressed by the sound quality of the NU87.  To check out pics follow the link,