Room With A Vu: February 2009

STUDIO NAME: The Funeral HomeLOCATION: Louisville, KYCONTACT: CREW: Kevin RattermanCONSOLE: Trident TSM 40x32x24

MULTITRACKS: Otari MTR-10 1/4" 2-track; Studer A827 2" 24-track; TASCAM MS-16 1" 16-track; PC running Nuendo 3.2 on Win XP with ABIT IP35 Motherboard, Intel Quad Q6600 2.4GHz processor, 4GB RAM
CONVERTERS: Apogee Big Ben Digital Clock; Lynx Aurora 16 (6)
MONITORS: Mackie HR 824; plethora of consumer shelf systems for reality checks
MICPRES: API 512 (4); Avalon 737; Focusrite Red (4); Neve 1073 (2); Trident TSM Series (40); Universal Audio 610
MICS: AKG 451, D112, 451, 414 (2); Coles 4038; Groove Tubes GT 6TM; Neumann U87, KM184 (2); Røde NT1; Royer 121 (3); Sennheiser 421 (2), 441, 504 (2); Shure KSM 32 (2), SM 7, SM 57 (4), Beta 52
COMPRESSORS: Avalon 737; Empirical Labs Distressors (2); Universal Audio 1176
NOTES: Comfort is a must for Wax Fang drummer Kevin Ratterman’s home studio—only his comfort level sits above an operating funeral home. “My family made alcohol here but it was basically stopped during prohibition, so they turned it into a funeral home because they thought that it would be better business,” explains Kevin. “My family operated the funeral home downstairs and lived upstairs.”
As the first operating (and still operating) funeral home in Louisville, Kevin turned the 500 sq. ft. Victorian-style building into his own recording studio after his family vacated the living quarters. And living quarters it still is, as bands from as far away as Japan have come to live here while working on a record. “We work with a lot of little bands—it’s great because they can stay for little cost, and sprawl out all over the floor.”
The studio operates opposite hours of the services downstairs so as not to bother the dead. Kevin continues, “There’s a metaphysical feeling with all the death and ending that goes on downstairs, and all the life and creation that’s happening upstairs; it’s a revolving door of energy. I love the idea of making records in unconventional environments, and recording music where people listen to music instead of studios that are acoustically tuned and sound dead.”
To add to the unconventional atmosphere, The Funeral Home is currently working on making the facilities 100 per cent analog. “My goal is having the option of not touching the computer at all. I want a more organic way of working, and better-sounding recordings. Our next project is for the band The Kings, Daughters, and Sons, a local band from here in Louisville. They are going to track everything live to tape and I’m really excited about that . . . you don’t get too many bands willing to do that these days.” Other acts that have passed through the mortuary’s doors include Japanese band Parms, My Morning Jacket, and Kevin’s own band Wax Fang.
With analog equipment collected and borrowed (including the Otari and TASCAM tape machines from friends Jim James and John Quaid of My Morning Jacket), Kevin is close to his all-analog goal. “I will never sell anything, I’ve learned that. Keep everything because if not, you’ll regret it for sure.”