Jay and Ernie Ball greeted us with open arms!
…It seemed like forever counting the days before our trip started, but as soon as we got to the West coast time took on a whole different meaning. From the moment we stepped of the plane in Cali, we knew we were beholding a special moment for us in life as musicians. We had finally made the pilgrimage to the Mecca of Rock.
Thankfully we got picked up by a few of our fellow friends and Native Cali rockers Keoni and Micheal of Elements of Kadence & Kyle Ragsdale who was Erik’s previous band mate. These are some of the hardest working guys we know and they all held Springfield as their stomping ground in the past. These cats helped take good care of us & after the obligatory dash to in-and-out burger at 1 in the morning, we were off through the Hollywood hills to find our Airbnb guest house and home for the next couple of weeks (while listening to Bob Segar’s Hollywood Hills mind you).
Down to business…
…The first day at NRG studios was a sunny Monday morning and we had the pleasure to meet our comrades that we had been chatting with since the announcement of winning Ernie Ball & Uproars Battle of the Bands. Ernie Ball was there and blessed our arrival with brand new custom made guitars and tons of swag and gear. It was great to meet them and see the large arm of the music industry that was pulling strings for TROY behind the curtains. NRG Studios was an absolute spectacle as well. We got the deluxe grand tour from Jay Baumgardner and his staff. The place had a vibe and feel unlike any other music complex or studio I had ever been inside. With gold records and eastern culture décor, the place felt like a mix of Indiana Jones and Abbey Road.
We tracked in studio A the whole session, and it was great to feel the acoustics and reverberation of one of the best live rooms in the world. The drums sounded like a war zone, huge and thunderous with every crash and kick. We used a 59’ Ludwig kit that had huge toms and a 24” kick. In fact, we hardly used anything made after 1975 the entire time in the studio. We had our own “Back to the Future” approach by trying to make a more edgy, aggressively modern and rockin sound with the real deal vintage instruments and boutique artifacts that NRG had within their arsenal. You can see in some of the pictures below just a few of the goodies Jay & NRG put before us:
The real duder…
…Jay was so receptive and a real duder to be around. He made us feel at home in the lounge and in the studio during our stay. Later on the first night, he chatted with us while we ate dinner and eventually we got out into the live room and started going through song Ideas.
We were really impressed by his willingness to listen and by the feedback that he continuously gave us. He attended each song as a performance and you could tell when he was vibing something or when he wasn’t. After the first night we were really close to narrowing down our songs. And by the end of the second day, after much rehearsal and preparation, we got into tracking some drums.
…Many people don’t realize that NRG is a glorified Sonic Haven in the rock world because of their live rooms and ability to capture drums! We were really looking forward to this process because some of the biggest sounding kits in the world were tracked in the very room we were breathing in. We shared the breaths of Giants, and so did the drums 🙂
Erik’s Set-Up at NRG
Throughout the process we did enough guitars and bass to kill a mid-sized pack of wolves, and it all seemed sonically blistering enough to call TROY – We think you all are going to love these songs. Kyle crushed out his parts on a ‘76 Les Paul Gold top with the hottest pickups I have heard since that terrible MTV Playa show. Kane threw down on a Peavey P bass that was literally angry the whole time we were there. Every note sounded like a pissed off robotic Barry White synthesizer.
The 60’ Gibson J45 was a treat for me to play after having played on a 64’ Gibson J45 religiously that was inherited to me from my Grandmother. The neck played fantastic and it really had a nice, woody sound to it that translated well on one of the new hits, Wicked World.
My favorite guitar I got to touch or use in the studio was definitely their ‘86 Gibson Black Beauty Les Paul Custom. This guitar was butter. So stinkin’ smooth it felt like it was coated in black silk. But what was most special of all, were the hits this guitar had under it’s belt. Linkin Park, 3 days grace, Papa Roach, and Alien Ant Farm all used this guitar on some HUGE tracks. In fact, I had the same set up as Papa Roach’s Infest with the Black Beauty and a Marshall Jcm800. It was a thing of beauty and an honor to play on.
The trip to Cali to record was mostly a hypnotic blur for us. The guys and I spent over 14 days in the studio. Some days were longer than others but we had one thing on our minds and that was to write songs that we could feel satisfied with bringing home to our fans and to enjoy the beautiful sight that is NRG Recording Studios. We did get some relax time in though…
…We hit Venice beach and Santa Monica Blvd a couple afternoons and caught some waves. I threw our beloved GoPro out into the ocean with the dolphins and will probably never hear the end of it from the guys but we sure did have a good time. Exploring the Sunset strip was surreal and we threw down some massive pizza & Calamari at the Rainbow on a wild search for Lemmy of Motorhead.
All in all…
…California was a learning experience for us. We came home with some valuable connections and friendships made. We heard some powerful feedback and gained bookuu advice from legends in the industry. It was an experience that we wouldn’t want to trade in for anything. Hopefully we left a good impression on the West coast, one we can come back to shortly.
The Recording Experience with Jay at NRG studios went well for us. But you know what the best part about this whole experience is??…It isn’t over yet… 🙂
In a few short weeks I have the pleasure of going back out to NRG in California to finish some vocals and tie up a few loose ends before preparing to get the songs in YOUR hands!!
As a Final Note and To Our Fans…
…Not a day goes by where I don’t thank all of you in my heart for voting and helping to make this possible as well as supporting us on the amazing journey that your love has provided. Keep helping to push us further, and keep being the best fans in the world!!
Check out many more photos from our time at NRG here!
-Ran into the Women of TROY after just landing in California-