As part of Audio-Technica’s ongoing series of resources that help users adjust to the circumstances brought about by the health crisis, the company has expanded the content on its blog with a new interview with superstar saxophonist and vocalist Mindi Abair. Among other topics, Abair discusses the process of adapting to the coronavirus health crisis, which required her to put together a home setup to record in solitude in order to finish work on her upcoming album. She also discusses her career origins, her favorite venues, her book How To Play Madison Square Garden and much more.
Abair notes, “We had our studio session for the new record booked at the beginning of March. We knew the COVID-19 virus was out there – we were all elbow bumping good-naturedly – but we didn’t know what it would turn into. So we were in the studio recording a record – it’s the most joyous event on the planet to make new music with your friends. I had Abe Laboriel Jr. in there playing drums, and Sean Hurley playing bass, and Jim Pierce playing guitar, and my keyboardist Rodney Lee playing keys. It was awesome to make music with these guys. We recorded 90 percent of a record. I had just had a cold the week before, so I was singing scratch vocals. I figured we’d come back in a few days and I’d record the rest of my vocals when my voice came back. Cut to a couple days later and the whole world’s shut down. California went into shelter-in-place. So I just went home and said, OK, it’s time to figure this out at home.”
She continues, “I’ve said it forever that I should have a setup at home. People ask me to play on their records, people ask me to record a track for them, and I’d go into a studio and do it. I’d always go into the Village in Los Angeles, take a room for a couple hours, and record someone’s record. But if I could have something at home, that would be amazing.”
A longtime A-T user, Abair turned to a favorite mic when working at home: “I have an Audio-Technica AT4060 microphone that I have used for more than half of my records – for everything, vocals and saxophone. It’s been my mic my entire career. And it was sitting there not being used. So I was like, ‘That’s it – it’s going up!’ I’ve got my MacBook Pro, I’m running Pro Tools on it, and using the Apogee Duet as an interface. And I’m using the cool ATH-M50x headphones – the red ones. I’m a girl – the style makes all the difference! And of course, the AT4060 microphone. I’m recording in a walk-in closet. It’s literally the only closet in our bedroom, so I’ve taken up most of it. I’ve got little KRK speakers set up in there along with the rest of my scenario, with my laptop and the microphone, and I just kind of move it around at will. And I hung up a big blanket over the doors of the closet so everything is kind of soft in there and soaks up the sound. It sounds pretty good.”
Once Abair was set up, she began recording immediately. “I just started immersing, and calling my friends and saying, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ And I did it, you know? I’ve been sending my finished vocals to my engineer, Niko Bolas, and Niko was like, ‘This mic sounds great, the tracks sound great. This is your first engineering credit, it’s gonna sound great!’ What a nice thing to hear, you know? Audio-Technica, once again, makes me look great!”
For more information, please visit www.audio-technica.com, and read the Mindi Abair Q&A at https://blog.audio-technica.com/bringing-it-all-back-home-qa-with-mindi-abair/.
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