LED BY MUSICIAN/SONGWRITER GREG CARTWRIGHT, THE REIGNING SOUND carry a major torch for ’60s garage soul. They recorded their new album, Shattered, in Daptone Studios (Brooklyn, N.Y.), where Reigning Sound drummer Mikey Post works in the Daptone label’s shipping department, and kindred spirits Gabriel Roth (of the Dap Kings) and Wayne Gordon produce and engineer projects for their label and outside artists.
“Everybody here wears multiple hats,” says Gordon, who recorded Shattered. “It’s a family, and I’m just one of the brothers.”
The MO at Daptone has been to embrace limits: Finite options breed creativity and thoughtful decisions. The band were tracked live to an Ampex 440 8-track machine, while most of Cartwright’s lead vocals were overdubbed.
Gordon put up two mics on Cartwright’s voice: “One was a Bock 241 and the other is one we call the ‘million-dollar mic.’ It’s a mic that my brother Lawrence Gordon built. Gabe had a shootout of all these great mics, and this one won, so we dubbed it the million-dollar mic. Those two main vocal mics were going through a Purple Biz pre and a Purple MC77 compressor. That captured the deepness of Greg’s voice, but also the clarity.”
Gordon’s mic choices were fairly basic, but he played with placement on Post’s drums to get different sounds. B3/Leslie went through the million-dollar mic or a Røde Classic, and guitars were taken with a 57. Those cool vintage sounds, the engineer points out, really come from the players and their rigs.
“For Mike (Catanese)’s and Greg’s guitars, they used [the studio’s] Ampeg Gemini, a couple of Magnatones, and Greg brought in a boutique amp of his own. Mike plays a ’70s Silvertone that sounds f*cked up in a good way, which helps.
“There’s definitely certain types of amps that you use [to get their sound], and certain guitars, but honestly, 99 percent of it is the musicians. It’s just having the knowledge and understanding of that music. It’s ingrained in them.”