Both seasons of Food Party, an absurdist “cooking” show featuring homemade puppets & cardboard sets, are streaming now on IFC.com! The series was created by Thu Tran and a group of friends from Cleveland Institute of Art, aired in 2009-2010, and features an incredible crew including editor Dean Fleischer-Camp (creator of Marcel The Shell and the film Fraud) and director John Lee (of Wonder Showzen and Pee Wee’s Big Holiday). I sound-designed and mixed both seasons (learning so much along the way), and the show and the people behind it were some of the main reasons I moved to NYC. My personal favorites are “Cannibal Holiday” and the RV episode, but they’re all fun! Check them out now at https://www.ifc.com/shows/food-party
Of the dozens of albums & singles I worked on that came out in 2019, Phantom Rhythm by Gong Gong Gong is particularly near & dear to my heart. I produced/recorded/mixed the record (and earlier singles) with the group starting back in 2017, and played the works-in-progress for friends & colleagues, leading to tours with Parquet Courts, Bodega, and Flasher and a relationship with the always-interesting Wharf Cat Records. Unsurprisingly, this fresh take on “multinational blues” made its way onto a number of Best Of 2019 lists, including Loud and Quiet, Aquarium Drunkard, and Raven Sings the Blues, as well as writers’ lists in The Wire and The Guardian.
Phantom Rhythm also made its way onto Post Trash‘s Best of 2019 list, where it shares space alongside Duo Duo by electro-rock whiz kids Operator Music Band (another personal fave that I co-produced/recorded/mixed), and two records that I mastered: noise-punks Weeping Icon’s self-titled debut and Dehd’s stellar breakup-pop LP Water.
Gimme Tinitus‘s Best of 2019 also featured Gong Gong Gong, Operator Music Band, and Weeping Icon, as well as Brooklyn noise-rock duo ESSi and their mind-bending debut Vital Creatures (which I co-produced/recorded/mixed/mastered).
Perhaps the most touching was seeing Parquet Courts in a number of Best of the Decade lists. The albums I produced with them (and Light Up Gold in particular) launched the band’s career, and were massively important for me and my trajectory as a producer/engineer. In the seven years since Light Up Gold was first released, I’ve watched their popularity and stature steadily rise, as their name became a short-hand comparison for literate, catchy punk bands. Nevertheless, it was humbling and exciting to see Light Up Gold rank #16 in Rolling Stone (and #2 in writer Rob Sheffield’s personal list), #37 in BrooklynVegan (and #7 in writer Bill Pearis’ personal list), #39 in AV Club, #41 in Treble, #78 in Vice, and #80 in Stereogum; Sunbathing Animal rank #140 in Pitchfork; and their break-out single “Stoned and Starving” rank #16 in Rolling Stone and #89 in Stereogum.
Snail Mail’s Lush also graced a number of these Best of 2010s lists. I helped to record the album, which was produced & mixed by my studio partner Jake Aron. Lush was undoubtedly important not just to the music culture of the last couple years, but also to our work: it was the first album tracked in the new Outlier Inn (where I’ve recorded many albums since Sunbathing Animal in the studio’s previous setup), and the first album mixed in our own Studio Windows. Lush ranked #48 in Stereogum and #122 in Pitchfork, and its lead-single “Pristine” ranked #87 in Stereogum and #97 in Pitchfork.
One last thing I almost missed: Catherine – the short film & web series by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp (the minds behind Marcel The Shell With Shoes On) was featured in Vulture’s Favorite Comedy Moments of the Decade. I don’t do much for sound-for-film these days, but this was certainly a highlight for me, and I’m happy to see it still getting some (admittedly confused) love.
I’m looking forward to 2020, with the debut album Person by my new group P.E. scheduled in March, alongside albums I’ve produced for Pottery, Public Practice, Dougie Poole, and Brandy also arriving this spring. Regardless of how arbitrary Best Of lists can seem, it does feel like a great way to start off the new year & decade…. thanks for reading & listening.
Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve updated the site – it was crazy end to 2016…
My group Eaters put together an installation of sound and light sculptures at Knockdown Center in December. Entitled Eyes Have Brightened, the exhibition opened as part of the massive Parquet Courts event (where I mixed their set as well) and was up through the end of the season. From the statement:
Building on the visual and sonic vocabulary of their unique live music performances, the show features sound and light sculptures and immersive installation elements by Christopher Duffy. This will be the New York premiere of their performative sound sculpture ‘Moment of Inertia’, and will feature a new soundtrack for the installation composed by Bob Jones and Jonathan Schenke.
At Chris’ suggestion, Bob and I spent a few days making some improvised, beat-less instrumental music for the installation. Prisms, the resulting soundtrack album, was featured on Brooklyn Vegan and AdHoc, who called it “transportive… full of minimalist tones, Prisms oscillates between hopeful and buoyant swells to eerie and confounding synths.” Prisms is streaming below, and available to download from Bandcamp.
Tangentially, I was featured in an Eventide video, where I discussed their new TEC Award-nominated plugin TVerb. I was a consultant and “alpha-tester” for the plugin (which is inspired by Tony Visconti’s recording techniques employed on David Bowie’s “Heroes”), and used it throughout the mixing of the upcoming sophomore Eaters LP (due this spring on Dull Tools). Check out the video on Eventide’s Facebook page.
NYC psych-punks The Men released their sixth album Devil Music in November. The back-to-basics LP was recorded live-to-tape in their practice space by Jordan Lovelace (of Pampers and Tournament), and I mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s with the group last spring. Many reviewers have used terms like “raw”, “caustic”, “cathartic”, and “primal” – all of which are apt descriptions for this awesome show of force. Devil Music is available on LP/download now via We Are The Men/Sacred Bones, and is streaming below.
Speaking of Tournament, the rawk-n-rollers released their new EP Take The Wheel via Colonel Records in October. Also tracked live-to-tape by Jordan and mixed/mastered by me with the band at Doctor Wu’s, the EP is six songs of rowdy good-times. As Noisey put it: “there is nothing more true to the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll—as it was originally intended, that is—as playing your heart out in a garage as if it were a packed, smoke-filled arena.” Take The Wheel is available now on LP, cassette and download via Colonel Records, and is streaming below.
Shop Talk‘s self-titled debut was released on LP last fall as well. The group plays a kind of melodic, slightly twangy, classic “punk” – instantly recognizable yet completely its own thing. Kyle Keays-Hagerman tracked the band at his studio and I recorded the vocals and mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s, wrapping it up back in 2015. The band (featuring members of Queening, Liturgy, and Pygmy Shrews) has done a couple tours and a bunch of local shows since then, and has been covered in The Deli and Brooklyn Vegan, so it’s awesome to see this get a proper pressing. Shop Talk is out now on Brainbox Records and is streaming below.
I worked with Operator Music Band on their debut full-length Puzzlephonics I & II in October. They’re a Brooklyn quartet who create electronic pop songs around relentless motorik grooves with tag-team male/female vocals. Dara Hirsch (one of the singer/guitarist/synth players) recorded the songs at Gravesend Recordings (in the Silent Barn), and we mixed and mastered it at Doctor Wu’s. The album will be out later this year on New Professor Music – in the meantime, take the opportunity to check out their single Materielmusik, go see them live (a real treat!), or pick up one of the pedals made by Jared Hiller (the other co-singer/guitarist/synth player) and his company L0/Rez…the Mona Lisa Overdrive is one of the most insane things I’ve plugged in!
In November, I mixed and mastered the new record by Tica Douglas, entitled Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help Us and Protect Us. Tica’s last record Joey was featured in Pitchfork, Impose, and other zines, and this new one was recorded by Ryan Dieringer (who co-produced Joey as well) in various locations upstate. I really admire the ambition of this record – which shifts from intimate, singer/songwriter moments to densely-packed arrangements featuring horns, synths, and a rocking band – and I had the songs stuck in my head for weeks. Our Lady Star of the Sea will be out later this year on Team Love Records.
I also mastered a few singles at the end of the year: The Tills’ “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Blues” (which has a killer video, and whose upcoming album Shannin I mastered last year as well), Dark Tea’s “Providence Sky” (a side project of Gary Canino of the band Rips – check the Impose feature and accompanying video too), and a pair of singles by Brian Chillemi and his band Junk Boys.
Video-wise: In and Out of Control, a short film by Emir Eralp featuring a score by Eaters, has continued to receive wide acclaaim, winning accolades in Istanbul, Berlin, London, and other festivals around the world. And Hospital Head Doctor – a short film by Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate (of Marcel the Shell, Catherine, and other projects) which I sound-designed and mixed back in 2015 – was recently released and awarded a Vimeo Staff Pick. Watch it below.
The new Parquet Courts LP is nearly done!! I spent a week upstate with the guys and my Otari MX-5050 earlier this month, recording at the wonderful Outlier Inn. Massive thanks to our gracious hosts Josh and Ambika – they made our stay there so comfortable and productive, I can’t recommend it highly enough. We then went to Doctor Wu’s to mix those sessions along with tracks from our previous sessions at Seaside Lounge. Everything is sounding wild – it’s a real step up sonically from Tally All the Things That You Broke, even though it’s still on the same 8-track tape machine. We’re still working on a final track order, but it’s a total trip of a record!
In the meantime, I sound designed and mixed a couple shorts for Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate (while they were at Sundance Film Festival for the showing of Catherine). They’re really great shorts called Childs’ Playhouse, which were written by and starring small children. Plus, they’re for Disney, so I can scratch “make something for Disney” off my bucket list!
Last fall, I mixed a film with my friend and film maker Duncan Skiles (director of Why Shit So Crazy by Reggie Watts and The Fuzz) called Last of the Great Romantics. I’m particularly fond of this charming and funny little rom-com! There’s a new trailer online, with screenings coming later this year.
Maybe the thing I’m most psyched about though is unveiling Eaters to the world. My friend Bob Jones and I started working on this project nearly two years ago, and I couldn’t be happier with how things have developed. We’re playing our first show tonight (at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn), the first single drops in a couple weeks, and the album comes out in April on Driftless Recordings…
Thanks for reading! I’ll be in and out of the Internet for the next few weeks, but as always, feel free to send me a note if you’d like to talk about sound – jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!! I’m so thrilled to be starting 2014! 2013 was great and all, but there is so much to look forward to over the next few months, I don’t know where to begin…
… maybe with Catherine playing at Sundance this year? I mixed and designed the sound for this short film version of the series by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp (who also made Marcel the Shell). I’m working on some new shorts with them now, which are just as mind-numbingly weird and funny.
… or maybe with the preview screening of The Poisoner on January 10th at Lincoln Hall? It’s the strange and beautiful second feature film by my friend Chris Hefner, which we mixed last month at my studio in Brooklyn – check out the official trailer. Daniel Knox provided an alluring score, and will be performing live at the screenings. I highly recommend all Chicagoans reading this to buy tickets for this screening.
… I know! Maybe with the release of the remix of “Sorrow” I made for Frankie Rose! I mixed it at Doctor Wu’s, based on a string arrangement by Grayson Sanders of Snowmine, with my studio partner Yale Yng-Wong executing a beautiful Moog bass part before taking a nap.
… but I should probably first just take a few moments to reflect on how great 2013 was. Sure, it had its difficult bits, but I had opportunity after opportunity to make and do good work with good people. I spent a month in India; travelled around the states with friends, family, and colleagues; made an album with my boy Bob Jones (EATERS 2014 BABY!); made lots of new friends; and did some of the best work of my life. I can only hope that things will continue that way in 2014.
… and I have to spend a minute marveling at the success of Parquet Courts and Light Up Gold. These guys have become really close friends of mine over the last couple years since we banged this out in their practice space, and I couldn’t be happier about everything coming their way. Their music made countless year-end lists – from Pitchfork (Light Up Gold, “Stoned and Starving”, and the cover art) and Rolling Stone (Light Up Gold, “Stoned and Starving”, and writer/VH1-talking-head Rob Sheffield’s personal list), to NPR (Sound Opinions’ numbers 1 and 2 top album) and Associated Press, to Other Music and Amoeba Music – pretty much everyone loved it. And who could forget Tally All the Things That You Broke? Its release sealed the deal, as far as I’m concerned. We’re going upstate tomorrow to finish recording the new record at Outlier Inn – fingers crossed that people will love it too.
I hope everyone has something to look forward to in the coming months! Thanks for reading, and please write if you’d like to talk about sound – jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com
I’ve been doing a bit of mastering over the last few weeks. I mixed and mastered an epic collaborative “transnational blues” jam with Alex from Dirty Beaches and Josh and Simon from Hot & Cold. I blended a field recorded and iphone recording, which turned out really cool, and mastered it at my home studio.
I transferred and remastered the out-of-print Blunt Instrumental 2 tape by Tyvek for re-release on Dull Tools. Wild shit! She Speaks in Tongues from Chicago also had me master their record recently, which should see release in early 2014.
As the year wraps up, out come the year-end lists. I’m beyond thrilled to see my boys Parquet Courts up there already… Light Up Gold has so far made it onto lists by Rolling Stone (#11) and Paste Magazine (#23), and the cover made it to Pitchfork’s best album art (#15). I’m psyched to see what else is in store for the record, and can barely wait to head up to Outlier Inn in the new year to finish the next record!
I’m wrapping the year with a couple film projects (with my good friend from Chicago Chris Hefner, and loveable weirdos Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate of Catherine and Marcel the Shell renown/infamy), and continuing to prep for Eaters to come out next year. Thanks for checking things out… holler at me if you wanna talk sound: jonathan[dot]schenke [at] gmail[dot]com
We’re in the middle of a new record as I write, while the band take a much-deserved break. I truly cannot wait to continue work on it, and just as excited for everyone to hear it.
In the meantime, I had the chance to remix the JASH Network series Catherine into a short film. I was a big fan of the original, and this is just as sweet and bizarre in its own special way. It’s debuting this weekend at the AFI Festival in LA, and will hopefully be making the rounds on the festival circuit next year.
But the biggest recent development in my world was finishing the Eaters album with my friend Bob Jones. We’d worked on these recordings off-and-on for a while now, and were approached by Joel Ford and Patrick McDermott about releasing material on their new label Driftless Recordings. We took our recent material from this summer and reworked some older material to craft an album that I honestly feel is compositionally and sonically unique in the current musical landscape. It’s the first music of my own that I’ve made in years, and I couldn’t be happier with or more proud of the result. The self-titled album will be out in the spring, with singles and videos streaming in the new year…
I’ve got a number of projects small and large coming up over the next month, and hopefully much more to share soon. If you’d like to talk about sound, please write at jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com
The new Forest Fire record Screens is coming out September 10th on Fat Cat and is available now to pre-order. I recorded, mixed and co-produced the record with the band last fall, at Tree Time (Fat Cat’s studio upstate), Doctor Wu’s, and my home studio. It was honestly one of my favorite record-making experiences of my career, and is some of the best sounding work I’ve ever done… no joke. The first song “Waiting in the Night” and a brief interview is on MTV Hive for you to enjoy.
“She (Was My Baby)”, the second single from the Keepsies, is out now. The Keepsies are Vince McClelland, Austin Brown (from Parquet Courts), and Jason Kelly (from Fergus & Geronimo). I recorded some overdubs and mixed these songs last year, so I’m super excited that they’ve hit the web for everyone to enjoy! Hopefully the third one will come out a bit faster…..
And the entire series of Catherine is now online! The series was created by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleicher-Camp for the JASH Network (Sarah Silverman, Tim and Eric, Michael Cera, and Reggie Watts’ Youtube channel). If you haven’t yet ventured down this mind-numbing wormhole of a show, here’s your perfect chance!
I just got back from Chicago, where I mixed the Blue stage at Pitchfork Music Festival. It’s always nice going back and working with my friends and associates from when I lived out there, and it was extra special to have so many friends playing on my stage… Frankie Rose and her band, Parquet Courts, Chairlift… all slayed. I rode back in the van with Parquet Courts, which was great to catch up with the gang, and got us all excited to get back into the studio in September to finish the album!
If you wanna talk sound, please write at jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com. Thanks for checking out my site!
The next three episodes of Catherine are now showing on the JASH Network (Sarah Silverman, Tim & Eric, Michael Cera, and Reggie Watts’ new Youtube collective). It’s been so much fun to get so weird with these sounds, and the series just gets more bizarre and beautiful as it goes. Jenny and Dean killed it with the show – get into it!
I’ve mastered a couple records for Chicago associates recently. The Clams have a new EP full of oddball Kinks-inspired pop tunes coming out soon. And Maxel Toft just released the album 32 in his Presidents series. It’s a folk record about FDR (our 32nd president), and is available for download with a Roosevelt dime as an individual keepsake.
I also mixed a short film called Dissocia by Kyle Waszkelewicz, which has a score by Wild Leaves.
I’m very excited about the addition of a UAD Satellite and a bunch of new plugins to my personal studio. It’s been a huge boost to the quality of my mixing and mastering work – I ended up mastering the Parquet Courts EP myself with these, and loved it!
Also, I did another interview recently, this time with the Red Bull Music Academy‘s paper The Daily Note. The interview is in a column called Work Flow, where musicians and technically minded people like myself are asked to elaborate on their creative process and the effect that gear and its limitations have on their work. You can download a pdf of the whole paper (which also has articles on Vogueing and Nile Rodgers) right here.
Thanks for stopping by! Please get in touch if you’d like to talk more about sound: jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com
Words cannot describe how much fun I had recording with Parquet Courts earlier this month. Seriously, that much. We holed up at the always-awesome Seaside Lounge in Park Slope for a week-and-a-half, and recorded as much as we could. Check out our setup in that pic above, and there are some more photos from the sessions on the Parquet Courts website.
From a sonic perspective, I’m really thrilled with what we did. It sounds like Light Up Gold, but way more! We tracked to an Otari MX-5050 8 track, which is the same model that a lot of early Sub Pop records (like Bleach and Superfuzz Bigmuff) were made on, as well as a lot of the Daptone stuff. It sounds awesome!! To help guide our decision, we did a shootout in the studio between the MX-5050 and the Tascam 388 (which we did Light Up Gold on) – I’ll be posting the results here soon for all my fellow recording nerds.
After the recordings, I edited everything at my place and we went over to Doctor Wu’s to mix. Look for an EP later this year – I can’t wait for people to hear these songs!
If you’ve read all this and still wanna read more about me working with Parquet Courts and about the recording process in general, then you’re in luck!! The Deli interviewed me recently about just that!
Since then, I’ve been mixing and working on sound design for a new web series called Catherine. It was made by Jenny Slate and my old Food Party cohort Dean Fleischer-Camp, who also brought us Marcel the Shell. I’m still genuinely weirded out by it, but I can’t stop watching it!! The first three episodes are up now on the JASH Network (Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim and Reggie Watts’ new Youtube collective).
I had someone ask recently, so I thought I’d write something about it – I link to as many projects as I can find on my pages, so there’s actually a ton of stuff to listen/watch laying around here! Thanks again, as always, for checking out my site. And if you’d like to talk sound directly, please email me at jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com