Welcome to Peter Malick Music Blog

Production. Songwriting. Composing. Guitar. Mixing

CNN, The $155 Million Dollar Picasso, and Indie Music

I just returned from the YMCA. Now, I don’t own a TV. Maybe an odd admission from a guy who claims to produce popular music, but that’s a subject for another day. As it turned out, the elliptical machine I ended up on was aimed at a TV set featuring CNN. The big news? Check it out: Steve Wynn sells Picasso for $155 Million Synopses:  Casino magnate Steve Wynn bought Le Reve by Picasso for $15 million. He stuck his elbow through it, had it repaired, and sold it to hedge fund Quadzullianaire Steve Cohen for $155 million. Hey, we live in the land of opportunity. But wait, there’s more. Steve Cohen’s company, SAC Capital, just settled with the federal government for  $616,000,000.00 (yup, 616 million dollars), for doing something funky, so Steve, I guess, just thought he’d go out and buy himself something nice to celebrate. Which got me to thinking, it’s a great thing to support the arts. It’s also a “thing” to support the ego, and buying a famous piece of artwork for $155 mil, and putting it in your private collection… well, a person could make a case for claiming that was ego driven. My little corner of the arts revolves mainly around  independent musicians. These musicians, not unlike a young Pablo Picasso, struggle to create beautiful work, and hopefully get paid for that work. I thought about how that $155 million might support the arts in my neighborhood, so I took a look at a very generous budget of $20,000.00 for a young band’s first EP, promotion, and tour. Here’s how the dream budget might break down:... read more

Producing a ‘Blues Record’ in 2013

The Mighty Wolf (and he won’t be back again) He was known as The Wolf. Chester Burnett, aka The Howlin Wolf, was a giant of a man. At 6 foot 3″ and 300 pounds, his physical presence was, well, substantial. However, it was his music, and the impact that his music has had on everything that followed that makes him a true giant. The last time I saw Wolf live was not long before his death in 1976. He was unashamed of the tubes embedded in his arm that were needed to hook up to the kidney dialysis machine that was keeping him alive. He still gave an outrageous, and energetic show at The Shaboo Inn in Willimantic, Connecticut. Man, I love his music to this day. I spend a lot of time listening to the songs I’m currently working on, and a lot of time checking out new music, new artists, and new production. Honestly, I don’t do a lot of listening purely for the joy of it. Every once in a while, though, I’ll put the work aside, and like visiting a dear friend, put some Wolf on the studio nearfields. So here’s what this post is really about. I get chills listening to The Howlin Wolf. I get chills when I hear John Lee Hooker’s voice in the night. Those voices, and the voices of some of their peers came from a powerful and hard life experience. Their music came from a truly American experience. A life that was all too real and challenging, a life experience that does not exist today. There are still really cool... read more

I couldn’t resist this! Billy Preston, trailblazer.

Billy Preston live in 1971. You think maybe he was a bit ahead of his time? 3 keyboard players, including bass on the original synth (the mighty Hammond B-3). Four piece horn section, no guitar to be seen or heard anywhere. This was over 40 years ago!!   Thanks to Anni Krueger ‏@AnniKrueger for sending a link to the video. Update: Billy Preston, Producer Tommy Vicari, Engineer... read more

Today’s Old News – Let’s listen like it’s 1999

Every once in a while I’ll get an email about a project that was released in 1999. Known affectionately as “The greatest album you’ve never heard” by friends, it sold about 100 CD copies, and has never been released digitally. The album was Sons of the Jet Age, and the band was a collaboration between Detroit soul rocker Amyl Justin and myself. To be fair, by the time the album was pressed and released, the band had pretty much broken up. I’d already made plans to move to New York City, which turned out to be a pretty solid decision. The fact that hardly anyone has ever heard this thing has continued to bug me. If you’ve ever visited my studio, this is old news, because you’ve probably had me force a copy on you from the cartons stacked in my garage. Sorry. This is all headed somewhere… and the where is that we’re in the process of finalizing a digital distribution deal that will allow us to release many of my new productions, as well as some cool archival stuff. Lots of music that’s never been heard beyond the walls of my studio. More news soon, but meanwhile, surf over to Soundcloud for a listen to a Sons of The Jet Age track, You Are My Sunshine. Update: I forgot to credit the talented Tom Hambridge, who not only produced the album, but played drums on many tracks, and wrote a couple of the songs. Ducky Carlisle was the recording engineer, as well as Mixing... read more

Recording Vocals :&: Vocal Production

I’m in the process of creating a YouTube series on my style of vocal production. Part 1 was shot with my iPhone from inside the Pie and Tart Shop vocal booth. Part 2 is in process, and it would be done if I had more video tutorial making skills, but alas. Luckily I’m pretty sure that I’m better at producing vocals than I am at making tutorials about it. Here’s my take on the technical side: 1. Understanding the instrument :: Although I no longer consider myself a singer, I did study voice with Mark Baxter, Elizabeth Sabine, Rosemary Butler, and eccentric Boston legend Dante Pavone. I have a solid understanding of the mechanics of the voice. The human voice is a complex and mysterious ‘musical instrument’ and in the studio a vocalist needs someone who understands the care and nurturing of that instrument. Higher budget projects may employ a dedicated vocal therapist or specialist, but every lead singer needs informed feedback in the studio regardless of budget. 2. Having an ear :: A producer must have perfect pitch, or relative perfect pitch. With a talented vocalist, real time accurate feedback from an engaged producer can lessen the need for tuning in the mix.   3. Flow :: There are times to push for that additional take, and there are times to stop. There are also times when the performance just isn’t going to happen, and the best plan is to come back tomorrow. When a project has a set budget, it’s important to have a plan B, just in case the vocal session is not going to happen.... read more

Muddy Waters, Chicago Blues, and Music Production in 2013

I first played with Otis Spann in January of my senior year in High School. When he asked me to “join his band”, and I told him that I could be in Chicago in June because I’d promised my parents I would graduate from high school. He didn’t have a phone, he didn’t have a band, and he’d recently left Muddy Water’s band to strike out on his own. I read the Village Voice every week, and when I saw that Otis was playing at The Cafe a Go Go during my spring break, I grabbed my guitar, hitchhiked to New York City and showed up at the ‘gig’. Spann didn’t miss a beat, telling everyone in the room “See here’s my guitar player now.” There even was a band: SP Leary on drums, Johnny Young on mandolin, Lucille Spann on vocals, and occasionally Luther ‘Georgia Boy Snake’ Johnson also on guitar. There was no bass player. Then there was “The Queen” Victoria Spivey. For those movie buffs who remember Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, The Queen was the blues equivalent of Norma Desmond. She’d been a young blues singing star many decades past, and now lived in Brooklyn with her husband. They owned a small record label whose claim to fame was recording a very young Bob Dylan when he first hit the village. They also recorded the Chicago blues greats when they passed through New York. The first set at the A Go Go was uneventful, until the curtain that separated the dark club from the entrance opened and in walked The Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, and... read more

Volagio, Mexico City, Honky Tonkin’, Rock n Roll

Volagio is a rock band from Mexico City. When I got off the plane and prepared for our recording session, I had only met the band via Skype. The demo tracks I heard were really good, but I had no idea what a great time I’d have at Honky Tonk Studios in Mexico, nor how amazingly the sessions would turn out. Here’s the Souncloud link to “Hollywood”: Enjoy! Volagio is about to embark on their first US tour, check their website, or Facebook for more... read more

Antje Duvekot and Into The City

OK, West Coast friends, you might not know Antje. East Coast friends, you must know Antje. One of my all time favorite co-writes was with Antje Duvekot, and the song is called Into The City. It appeared on the Chance and Circumstance album, and I am bummed to this day that it didn’t get more recognition. But, Antje has just released a new album titled “New Siberia” and she revisited Into The City. It’s the #1 track on the new record! check it out, people.... read more

Update Catch Up #2 :: Daphne Willis

I think it was about 2 years ago that Daphne Willis started visiting us here in L.A. to co-write with me. The bunch of songs we wrote ended up getting focused into a six song EP that we recorded at The Hobby Shop, and finished here in The Pie and Tart Shop. Daphne was signed to Vanguard Records at the start of our project, and since has parted ways. As of today there’s no release date for the EP, and I’m hoping that the music doesn’t fall into that black hole of an incredible artist and her former label. The amazing Daphne Willis   Stay tuned. I’m hoping you’ll get to hear this one soon. Here’s the details from our sponsors: Daphne Willis – Lean It Produced by Peter Malick Mastered by Mark Chalecki Mixed by Peter Malick Butch Norton :: Drums, Peter Adams :: Keys, Johnny Flaugher and Super Mario :: Bass, Daphne Willis and Peter Malick ::... read more

Updates? #1 Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute

If I were to look back through my posts, there would likely be a promise to keep this site updated with my studio projects. I have failed! This post is meant to be a sort of belated New Years resolution to keep my site current. My excuse for the long silence is not that there’s been only crickets hanging out in the studio. I’ve been too busy most of the time, and the rest of the time I’ve been being a dad, husband, new puppy person. And so, I’ll start somewhere near the present and move backwards in time. As Uma, my two year old says, “Set, Go, Ready”. Julie Christensen recorded a song for the next Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute album on Glitterhouse Records. Weird Kid Blues features Julie on vocals, I played baritone guitar and F-Hole acoustic. Dobro by the awe inspiring Greg Leisz and mandolin by Dan Wilson. Here’s an incomplete video of Julie Christensen singing Joan of Arc at a Leonard Cohen tribute. It’s a duet with Lou... read more

Courtney Jones Preview meets The Hunger Games

I’m rounding the corner, and keeping the finish line in sight for Courtney Jones’ new release. It’s a project that I’m really excited about for a number of reasons. Courtney and I wrote and recorded the entire project from scratch, and we did it right here at the Pie and Tart Shoppe. When we started out, Courtney brought a handful of great songs that she’d written. After we’d penned about two dozen new songs, we decided that our new work was what the album should contain. That was the beginning of Plan B. After tracking the album, Courtney was out of action with vocal issues, & that was the beginning of Plan C. Now, a year after we tracked the basics with the awesome Butch Norton, and Jon Ossman, the album is almost done. Whew. Here’s an a capella preview, The Path. My amazing wife (and sometimes stealth co-producer), Landry, edited Courtney’s song to a movie trailer for The Hunger Games.... read more

The Seoul of Norah Jones

Probably the least listened to of Norah Jones’ New York City tracks is my song Deceptively Yours. Except, it appears, unless you’re a Korean Cover Band. I love this. and this: And, The Workers Band of South... read more

Spencer Livingston Occupies The Alternates

Another 2011 project of note was Spiders and Webs, the 6 song EP with my neighbors and up and coming locals, The Alternates. My personal favorite on the EP is The Modern Way: The Alternates – The Modern Way Shortly after Spiders and Webs was released, lead singer Spencer Livingston and I started working on a solo project that should be released this summer. We also threw together Spencer’s ode to The Street, Occupy Wall Street: Fellow band mate Jake Craven edited the video. I’ll have updates as Spencer’s new project progresses at The Pie & Tart... read more

Bollywood on the East Side

Last Summer I got a fairly random call from Mickey J Meyer. Mickey was traveling from South India to Los Angeles, and wondered if I could set up a session to record Bass and Drums for the soundtrack of Life Is Beautiful, a movie he was scoring. I was able to put together the killer rhythm section: John Wicks of Fitz and The Tantrums on Drums, and producer/bass player Paul Bryan on Bass. We tracked at The Hobby Shop in Highland Park. Mickey ended up sending me one of the songs from the movie to mix “It’s Your Love”, which was my first experience mixing a Bollywood style session. Life Is Beautiful is in Tamil (language) and should be released later in 2012. Mickey Meyer is a super talented composer/songwriter/musician. I’m proud to have him as a... read more