February and March has seen Toyland Recording Studio in Northcote booked out most weeks. The Terraces tracked their second full-length LP ‘Empire’ with Adam Calaitzis producing; a band of seasoned players, with a no nonsense approach to street punk and oi. The band notably featured new drummer Mark Brabbs, who has previously achieved acclaim with New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Tank, fronted by ex-The Damned singer Algy Ward. Brabbs was flown out from the UK for three days of drum tracking for the album; he rented the Toyland premium house kit, 1970s Ludwigs with a 6.5″ Brass Ludwig Black Beauty snare – rims are chrome over brass, the snares have been upgraded to Puresound brass, dampered with a Snareweight (brass with a leather insert). A day was dedicated to pulling the perfect drum sounds – bass drum covered with an AKG D12VR large-diaphragm dynamic cardioid and Neumann TLM49 large-diaphragm condenser, snare was set with a Beyerdynamic M201 low-profile hypercardioid dynamic top and a Neumann KM84 cardioid pencil condenser underneath, toms both had Audix i5 dynamic cardioid top and bottom, hi-hat and ride were both set with Neumann KM84 microphones, overheads were AKG C451eb pencil condensers, and the room mics were AKG C414B-ULS multi-directional condensers. It sounded absolutely magic in Toyland’s drum room, as it does on the album. The veteran drummer was a perfect choice to pair with former Rose Tattoo bassist Stephen “Kingy” King, who laid down uncompromising bass tracks through the Toyland Ampeg rig. Guitarist Dean Tsolondres recorded through his Marshall 4×10 cab, using his DSL100 head for the rhythm parts, and the Toyland DSL50 for contrast on the lead guitars. Vocalist Gary Buckley, formerly of UK band One Way System, let forth rants and anthems ranging social justice to working class life, his Lancastrian accent captured with a Neumann U87. The bands “gang” backing vocals included the producer singing along in the live room, with the session controlled via V-Control Pro app for iPad.
Melbourne metal veteran Terry Vainoras undertook guitar tracking for his melodic doom/death project Subterranean Disposition, toward completing the new album ‘Soundtracks for our Landscapes of failure’. Textures were pulled from classic BOSS analogue pedals including the BF-2 Flanger, 1983 DM-2 Delay pedal, and TW-1 T “Touch” Wah; a Marshall stack was utilised for more contemplative half-clean guitar parts, and a Mesa Boogie stack for the despair-laden heavy doom riffs; in all cases there was a duel set-up of Shure SM57 and Beyer M160 ribbon microphone into two AMS Neve 1084 preamps. Ikon songwriter Chris McCarter was in the studio for ongoing sessions toward the follow-up to 2014 ‘Everything, Everyone, Everywhere Ends’, continuing the iconic darkwave atmospheres.
Power metallers Killamaine booked a week to track their second full-length album of fun classic metal; this also featured “gang” backing vocals while the DAW was controlled remotely, with the engineer in the tracking room giving cues.
Progressive heavy rock quartet El Colosso brought their forthcoming debut single into Toyland for mixing
Something different for Toyland, Adam Calaitzis utilized the quiet acoustics of the studio to full advantage filming video for Dr Barry Evans, creating instructional training videos in clinical hypnosis for therapists and health professionals, training delivered by Hypnosis Training Australia and recognized by the Australian Society of Hypnosis (Victoria). The videos were shot on iPad Air2, edited in Final Cut Pro X, and made use of the studio’s 3-point lighting. English-Australian actor Miriam Margoyles commissioned some voice artist editing and sound design from Adam, for her show ‘The Importance of Being Miriam’ debuting at Arts Centre in Melbourne. Margoyles is an award winning doyenne of character roles across film, TV, and the stage, perhaps best known for her many roles in the Blackadder TV series, and as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film franchise. The vocal elements will create an interior monologue layer in the live music theatre and actor show. Adam Calaitzis undertook post-production work, and delivered a number of mixes for producer extraordinaire Tim Woods for possible future DVDs, mixing some beautiful arrangements of Tina Arena with the Sydney Symphony, and performances of ‘All You Need is Love’, the Beatles tribute extravaganza featuring Jack Jones, Ciaran Gribbin, Darren Percival and Jackson Thomas, accompanied by the Strawberry Fields Rock Orchestra.