Feb 7 2018

Leisure, Money, and the Soulquarians

X-Factory NZ Musician Click Here to download

Go on, do it! Google the word ‘soulquarians’. You may already be familiar with this term or you may, as I was, be on the brink of discovering something truly wonderful. Looking back at movements in the history of popular music, occasionally it seems like certain random events lead to a seemingly random group of musicians creating music so revolutionary that it causes a paradigm shift in our global musical consciousness. In the case of the Soulquarians, this is such a movement, and it lasted almost five years. Further internet searching may lead you to discover the article J Dilla Essentials, shedding some light on seminal tracks produced by the late James Dewitt Yancey (J Dilla or J Dee), or you may read about the Soulquarian experiences at Electric Lady Studios. Wherever you head, it won’t take you long to realise the influence that a small group of musical pioneers made on music ever since they started collaborating in the late ‘90s. Founding members of what was to become a revolving collective were Questlove from The Roots, D’Angelo, James Poyser, and J Dilla, sharing the same star sign – Aquarius. Even though anecdotal narrative suggests that it was initially a zodiacal epiphany that helped bond these pioneers, it was their shared love for the unconventional, whether in rhythm, harmony, melody, or production style that secured their musical bonds. Original members of the Soulquarians were soon joined by artists such as Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Common, Pino Palladino, and Roy Hargrove for a creative period that lasted between 1997 and 2002. Borrowing from an article by the Chicago Tribune in the early 2000s: ‘Many of these artists have performed on one another’s records, creating a community of likeminded musicians forging a style that\ doesn’t have a name yet. Organic soul, natural R&B…it’s music that owes a debt to the old-school sounds of Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and George Clinton without expressly mimicking any of them. It refreshes these traditions with cinematic production techniques gleaned from hip hop and with attitude that is street-smart but above all highly individual, celebrating quirks instead of sanding them down for mass consumption.’ Using musical analysis, but also applying suitable caution necessary when engaging in reductive pursuits, we need to ask some questions.

1. What do these quirks consist of?

2. How have these artists influenced contemporary songwriters/producers today?

One obvious place to start is D’Angelo’s album ‘Voodoo’ where the whole album uses a characteristic rhythmic ebb and flow, a constantly moving groove often referred to by musicians as ‘push-pull’. One Mo’ Gin is a great example. The keys lay so heavily ‘back’ on the beat, and the drum groove (played by Questlove) is so beautifully loose to the point where sometimes you lose the sense of where the ‘one’ is – if only for a moment. At the time, the focus was aimed at the feel-good factor, without being over analytical, and is a great example of technology having a positive influence on musicians and musical groups (i.e. MPC-derived J Dilla-isms).

Erykah Badu is an artist who embraces polyphony and harmonic ambiguity (another Soulquarian quirk). A great example is Apple Tree, chord sequence derived from a harmonic technique called constant structure, where the type of chord is the same. In this case the sequence is built solely on minor harmony, which moves non-diatonically through the first 5 notes of E major scale – Em7, F#m7, G#m7, Bm7, Am7. So what does the Soulquarians have to do with the Leisure’s Money? Well, as you may have guessed, this NZ band utilises some of the influences that these early neo-soul pioneers developed two decades ago. Money, like Leisure’s earlier hits (and suggested by their name) is all about the groove and vibe. As suggested by Pigeons and Planes Magazine: ‘They’ve got an effortless cool about them, mixing elements of R&B, funk, and electronic for something totally fresh and completely natural.’

You can hear the R&B influences throughout the track via the drum groove and ‘70s production style, a laid back but funky backdrop to an ephemeral vocal and dreamy electronica. The guitar break at 2min 30s is reminiscent of Groove Armada’s My Friend, being in the same key and using a similar guitar sound, as well as containing shared melodic attributes. Jaden Parkes, Djeisan Suskov, Tom Young, Josh Fountain and Jordan Arts are the personnel behind Leisure. Each member works elsewhere in the music industry, and much like the Soulquarians, Leisure’s creative muse is firmly rooted in collaboration.

‘The album is entirely collaborative but remarkably cohesive, blending influences from The Beatles, 1970s funk and soul, and Leisure is “more concerned with what’s best for our songs, than what’s best for someone’s ego,”’ bassist Suskov told Kate Richards in Noted. Listening to Money, perhaps the elephant in the room is that the key link to Soulquarians and Leisure’s Money lies in the rhythmic displacement evident in the groove. In Money, the bassline is polyrhythmic in the sense that different parts of the pentatonically-derived four bar pattern are played in different places on the beat by the bass player. Additionally, the bassline is largely played using a straight feel which rubs against the swung vocal line. Pushing and pulling of time by the bass (Djeisan Suskov) in Leisure’s work provides the x-factor for me, its complexity incongruent to the relaxed vibe of this song. Perhaps if we were to reach for meaning here, it may be possible to draw parallels between tension found in the music and tension and rub of the message inferred in the song – i.e. money (and our flawed relationship with it). Understanding that correlation does not imply causation, and being reminded of the debate that it is always possible to find things in music that don’t exist and miss things that do exist, I would like to propose that, like many tracks since D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Questlove and the other Soulquarians decided to celebrate the ‘distinctive’ or ‘remarkable’ in music (with an emphasis on harmony and rhythm in particular), Money is a wonderful offshoot of the Soulquarian era, and its place in mainstream Kiwi music is warmly welcomed.

Looking for the x-factor in the X-Factory? Then you could do worse than embracing the different/strange/unique, rather than relying on genericism and the well-beaten path. Although ironically perhaps, unless you are careful to find your own uniqueness, then even by following the Soulquarians you could be falling into the same trap!



Feb 7 2018

Six60 – two new NZ Top 10 songs in 2 weeks – how do they do it?


Six60 – two new NZ Top 10 songs in 2 weeks – how do they do it?

The word Authenticity (in existentialist philosophy) is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life’.

Other words that are sometimes used as synonyms of the word authentic are genuine, real, true, and honest. Talking with fellow MAINZ tutor Buzz Moller after he had just read my article on the APRA Silver Scroll Finalists, he recalled that during the deliberation process all finalists and their songs were deemed to contain an authentic quality – though it seemed that at the time, this term wasn’t defined by any members of the panel.

I tend to define authenticity in music too, perhaps coming from the other direction. I may judge a piece as containing a lack of authenticity if my experience of it makes me feel it is contrived, generic, lacking depth, excessively commercially driven, or motivated by assessment and deadline (in my role as a music tutor), rather than a genuine attempt at creativity.

To avoid these traps is no mean feat, as popular music is defined by lyrical and musical idiosyncrasies, sub-cultural traits that help contextualise and popularise any given song. There is even a science for this! The study of musicology and the semiotics of popular music, developed by Philip Tag is a way of understanding the literal denotation and contextual connotation found in popular music.

Anyway, enough of that – let’s get back on track. The Dunedin-formed band Six60 is a five-piece band comprising Eli Paewai on drums, Chris Mac (bass, synths), Ji Fraser (lead guitar), Marlon Gerbes(synths, samples) and guitarist/singer Matiu Walters. Named, as I am sure you will know, from the house they lived in – 660 Castle Street – the band have released a couple of albums, three EPs and numerous singles in their 10-year career so far, earning several platinum and gold awards along the way.

Listening to (and watching) Rivers, the second of two tracks currently in the NZ Top 10, the vibe is relaxed and uncontrived. [Note by Silke: At the time of writing -they’ve released a full, self-titled EP since of which all tracks subsequently also charted.] There is no sense that the track is ‘trying’ too hard at all. Even the video is simply sketches of the band in a studio environment, seemingly either listening, reflecting on, or hanging in the studio; very low-key.

Congruently, the music is minimal of course. An economic and efficient production style is very fashionable these days, but this track is also very musical, employing a range of solid melodic techniques (melisma, use of coloured tones e.g. 9ths 6ths etc., appoggiaturas, clever lyric writing etc.) creating interest, on a backdrop of reassuring familiarity.

There is nothing challenging here, think beer on a sunny Sunday afternoon and good vibes. The core of the tune is a synth bass that holds the rhythmic pulse, a choral harmony and the lead vocals. Dashes of acoustic and electric rhythm guitar are scattered sparsely, throughout, as is the electronic drum track.

Vocal harmonies are R’n’B derived with a gospel feel, and consist of I and IV chords mainly, with the occasional non-diatonic IVm-I progression (e.g. 48s) and the cadential V-I at the end of each strophe. Use of occasional non-diatonic harmony seems to be a current trend, another spice to enhance but not overpower, the minimalist production style. A tresillo rhythmic feel that Rivers has adopted is also reflective of current production inclinations.

Six60 have a very happy knack for simultaneous sales success with multiple tracks and Don’t Give It Up is currently also in the NZ Top 10. This is more of a band track with some programmed elements. This track also contains tasteful vocal harmonies, is diatonic, and borrows from a familiar rhythm – this time from the ‘60s (think Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison – chorus and post chorus sections).

Interestingly there are a couple of unique sonic identifiers (sounds specific to a particular track). The first is the unintelligible vocal sample that plays throughout the entire song, slightly off key – a great use of intonation as a production tool, sparking interest from the start. The other is the affected synth-like vocal that is first heard at 53 sec, at the beginning of the first chorus.

The keyboard skank pattern and the track generally is reminiscent of NZ reggae and could reveal some of the answer to why Six60 are able to produce two NZ Top 10 hits in two weeks. I think the key is in the band’s combination of authenticity, NZ stylistic popularity, and sub-genre familiarity.

Perhaps when a band is permitted over time to evolve organically and naturally, conditions are ripe for them to maintain a sense of authenticity. The band’s music is a mix of soul, rock, and reggae and Six60 perform it well, without trying to re-invent the wheel, maintaining currency in terms of production within the subgenre of pop music that is perhaps yet to be defined. Six60 can easily be (and have been) described as no-frills, roots-flavoured, pub music for the masses, but they do it well and their music is consistently popular as a result. Importantly though, amongst all of that Six60 are authentic, genuine, honest to themselves, and their ever-growing international audience.


Sep 6 2017

X-Factory: Rounding Up The Silver Scroll Finalists

The five songs in with a chance to win this year’s APRA Silver Scroll Award are Close Your Eyes by Bic Runga, Life of the Party by Chelsea JadeHorizon by Aldous HardingRichard by Nadia Reid and Lorde’s Green Light. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue…

Okay, so maybe the ‘blue’ part of that familiar expression is pushing it a little – other than as a reference to the Afro-American origins of popular music over a century ago, arguably from which much contemporary music is derived. But still, reflecting on the finalist choices for the 2017 Silver Scroll Awards, I couldn’t help but notice that these songs are all connected by concept.

They each: (1) adhere to cultural norms currently situated in contemporary pop music (further discussion of which is provided below); (2) contain distinctly salient features framed within those cultural norms; and (3) pay homage to previously established musical styles, borrowing from older generations of musicians and their creative legacy.

Borrowing from the past is nothing new. Recent innovators such as Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson are no strangers to using genre specific compositional techniques, and the result helps frame songs in a larger timeframe, perspective, and consequently audience. With the above observations in mind, let’s look at the final five.


Bic Runga’s Close Your Eyes plays stylistic tribute to the ephemeral sounds of the flower power ‘60s, The Beatles, Small Faces, The Byrds, and perhaps even a pinch of Stone Roses. Yet at the same time Runga employs the kind of attention grabbing devices found in 21st Century chart culture. For example, the intro is just long enough to hear a rhythmically stabilising analogue synth-type hook line (against an energetic drum groove), but being only 8-bars long it doesn’t make the listener wait too long before the vocals enter.

Current trends in arrangement rely on the need to generate almost instant limbic reward. Hooks and melodies need to be almost instantaneously appealing, there is no space for dead bars, competition is high, and simply put it is ‘survival of the fittest’ in musical format. Runga achieves this via the combination of nostalgia mixed with a modern twist.

Vocals are mixed in front (a modern norm to allow for a satisfactory performance on any device). The major sub-dominant chord employed in the piece lifts the mood if you subscribe to theories of musical equilibration, which is congruent to a positive lyrical semantic, even though the piece is in a minor key. Very clever work. Harmonic expectations are thwarted via the lack of cadential movement in bars 7-8 in each 8-bar hypermeter. This is an attention grabbing device, and a way helping perpetuate the forward motion of the strophe.


Chelsea Jade’s Life of the Party contains an interesting backbeat-focused accompaniment heard in the verses by finger clicks and vocals on the 2 and the 4 – but at the same time the supporting groove is very 8th note-based, echoing the pulse-like-ness of tunes reminiscent of the 1980s. The chorus is extremely catchy and syncopated and cleverly stated instrumentally during the intro of the track, so that when you hear the chorus for the first time, you feel you already know it.

Prolific songwriter Max Martin uses this device to help aid the listener’s sense of perceived familiarity, a precursor to limbic reward. The clinical sounding root- and fifth-focused melodic line is reminiscent of the trend heard by singers such as Taylor Swift and Lorde, as we currently favour a simpler harmonic and melodic palette compared to earlier decades. Another salient feature of this track is Jade’s use of ‘cockney’ accent-type phrasing over the lyrics, ‘Got gravel embedded in my hands’ in the bridge. This affected singing technique plays a distinct part in this track.


In Horizon, the elephant in the room is Aldous Harding’s prominent vocal style, reminiscent of Edith Piaf, a popular French singer in the mid 20th Century. This strong vocal vibrato is unapologetic in nature and requires an equally unapologetic accompaniment, provided by effected strings and piano. Harding’s accompaniment further adds to the boldness of this track via a simple, deliberate, and economic production style.

Again, if one were to subscribe to musical equilibration then use of the harmony derived from the natural minor mode creates a sense of courage, adventure, tension, danger, severity, a challenging situation (think music to Game of Thrones here), which is resolved in the chorus to a major tonality, alluding to a sense of narrative success inferred by the lyrics, ‘here is your princess, here is your horizon’, providing prosodic congruence.


Richard by Nadia Reid immediately breaks taboos for a folk musician, firstly with the choice of snare sound and drum groove throughout providing a modern take on an established feel; and secondly the verse length, practically devoid of phrasing space for surprising long 8-bars!

This device is heard in The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, to some extent, and is unusual as it doesn’t allow for lyrical reflection by the listener. Perhaps this is a deliberate move as ironically, the first lyric is, ‘Richard liked the sound of his own voice…’ Nadia Reid’s Suzanne Vega/Tom’s Diner-esque inspired lyrics again borrow from an older time, and the hypnotic state that one reaches as a result of the repetitive snare drum and ethereal guitar (Sam Taylor – guitars and male vox) juxtaposes the over-active vocal line. Genius.


Finally, Lorde’s Green Light resembles the economic-ness of Taylor Swift-like melodies, but adding a touch of spice by employing some well-crafted surprises, providing the quirky backdrop that Lorde’s vocal and stage persona requires – another singer with a remarkably unique voice.

Green Light contains the kind of production mastery of successful Top 20 hits, but Lorde is afforded the opportunity to take more risks due to her astronomical fan base. I am referring in this case to the jarring effect of the syncopated piano and vocal heard at the end of each line of the verse, which is particularly audacious due to the sparseness of the arrangement.

The temporal density of the pre-chorus is perhaps a reaction to the lyrics, ‘Those great whites, they have big teeth’, almost like the notes are trying to run away from a dangerous animal. The chorus transfers into a dance track just after the lyric, ‘How we kissed when we danced on the light up floor’, and Lorde borrows harmonic movement from tunes like Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix) and Hush (Deep Purple), with the use of major chords descending in fourths. The pre-chorus is also reminiscent of brisk Bollywood melodies consisting of an anapaestically-derived rhythm (two semiquavers followed by a quaver).

So it does seem like the secret of writing critically acclaimed tunes in the current climate requires:

  • Stylistic familiarity pertaining to post 1960’s pop and rock music.
  • An understanding of tools that allow artists/producers to compete sonically with their contemporaries.
  • Artistic audacity to reach beyond homogeneity in a creative environment.

Dr Mark Baynes is the Programme Manager for the Bachelor of Musical Arts degree at MAINZ, Auckland; a degree program that fosters students’ ability to find their own musical voice, culminating with the creation of a capstone project such as an album, film score or music for game audio. 

Aug 18 2017

Tune Me In Article – July 2017

An article recently published on incongruence in music. Article can be downloaded here.

Thanks, Mark

Jun 15 2017

APSCOM6 Conference Paper for KYOTO 25-27th August

APSCOM6 Conference Paper for KYOTO 25-27th August

Excited to be presenting my research at APSCOM6, Asia-Pacific Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, August 25-27, in Kyoto, Japan. The theme is Music as a universal human faculty: Exploring its biological, psychological, and cultural dimensions. Click above for a link to the full paper.

Conference details

Cognitive sciences on music is a field of study which aims to clarify such aspects as perception/cognition, thinking, feeling, the mechanism and process of development which serve to mediate music. Depending on the object of research, a multi-disciplinary approach can be adopted incorporating such fields as psychology, brain science, acoustics, information engineering, medicine, physiology and musicology.

The conference is therefore open to everyone from all fields of study and from around the world. In APSCOM 6, there will be key note lectures, research presentations, and concerts such as jazz, gamelan, gagaku, and didgeridoo. The theme of APSCOM 6 will be “Music as a universal human faculty: Exploring its biological, psychological, and cultural dimensions” Since ancient times, music has been with human beings.

Through studies of the musical faculties of human beings, we aim to explore the great potential of human beings. We are therefore awaiting presentations and lively discussions on this theme. Kyoto Women’s University, located near the famous Honganji temple, is a Buddhist university with a history of 105 years. The university is in the center of Kyoto city and has easy access to the Kyoto National Museum which will hold some of the APSCOM 6 events.

Jun 2 2017

Do Y’wanna ‘Know’ What I ‘Know’? – A Christmas Case Study of Musical Irony

Do Y’wanna Know What I Know – A Christmas Case Study Of Musical Irony

Do Y’wanna Know What I Know – A Christmas Case Study Of Musical Irony from Australian Music Psychology Society Newsletter Edition 5, 2016 – Mark Baynes.

Spoiler alert – if you love Christmas carols then please read no further. In the book, The evolution of emotional communication, Altenmuller, Schmidt, and Zimmermann suggest that emotional responses of basic emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, anger, fear) are ‘remarkably invariant across listeners of different ages’ (2013, p.277). Juslin and Sloboda found that ‘the ascribed emotion of a music performance could be well predicted from a fairly small set of characteristics, relating to pitch, speed, intensity, and articulation etc.’, and that these characteristics are also used to evaluate emotions in a person’s speech (Juslin & Sloboda, 2011, p.84). But in Expression of emotion in music and vocal communication: Introduction to the research topic, Bhatara, Laukka, and Levitin agree that emotions resulting from incongruent songs (containing incongruent interaction between music and lyrics) are more complex than basic emotions, due to the ironic context from which they are experienced (2014, p.212).

“Incongruent interactions transform meaning from what might be gleaned from listening to either the music or the lyrics alone…incongruent interactions make messages more poignant and can serve as an anthem for social movements…however, incongruent interactions run the risk of listener misinterpretation” (Herrmann and Herbig, 2016, p.72). For example, incongruence can be found in a track entitled Perfect day (Reed, 1972), where the subtext of the song alludes to a premise that the singer’s day is made ‘perfect’ from an addiction to opiates. The musical accompaniment is innocent but the lyrical meaning is darker. Another example is Do you hear what I hear? made famous by Bing Crosby in the 1960’s. On one level, this is simply a contemporary Christmas song, arguably an interpretation of Christian nativity. Lyrical indicators in this carol that corroborate this interpretation include phrases such as “Shepherd boy”, “A star dancing in the night”, “Mighty king”, and “A child shivers in the cold”. With the exception of the military style drumming the music accompaniment could easily be described as initially calm, choral and reflective, moving towards a denser climatic finale using strings, a transposition up a minor second, use of a brass section, and increased counterpoint.

Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker composed this carol during the period of unease caused by the Cuban missile crisis and its lyrics reflect a message for peace. Ironically (and anecdotally) Bing Crosby recorded his vocals to the song on November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas (see https://www.carols.org.uk/do-you-hear-what-i-hear.htm). Non-congruence is effective in providing the listener with mixed messages, arguably interpreted as irony through a darker twist of a seemingly positive message. In the case of Do you hear what I hear, the lyrics “A star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite” now suggests images of war; a nuclear missile heading towards an innocent narrator perhaps, rather than a navigational constellation and interstellar awe. Likewise, the lyrics “A song, song, high above the tree with a voice as big as the sea”, infers images of a thermonuclear explosion, rather than a choral culmination.

This was a surprise, and the psychological affect that this song has on me is forever changed. In Sweet anticipation, David Huron states, “The phenomenon of ‘surprise’ represents a failure of expectation. From a biological perspective, surprise is always a bad thing. Even when the surprising outcome turns out to be good, failing to anticipate the outcome means that the brain has failed to provide useful information about possible futures. Predictive failures are therefore cause for biological alarm. If an animal is to be prepared for the future, the best surprise is no surprise” (Huron, 2006, p.21). From a phenomenological perspective, my lived experience of listening to Do you hear what I hear? after my hermeneutical epiphany, is quite different from my initial listen – the snare drum has much more significance, clearly inferring military action, and the lyrics far more sobering. The surprise that I felt gave salience to my perception of this track, and has continued to do so every listen since.


Altenmuller, E., & Schmidt S., & Zimmermann E. (2013). The Evolution of Emotional Communication: From Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man. Oxford University Press.

Bhatara, A., Laukka, P., & Levitin, D. J. (2014). Expression of emotion in music and vocal communication: Introduction to the research topic. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 399. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00399

Huron, D. (2006). Sweet anticipation: Music and the psychology of expectation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Herrmann, A. and Herbig, A. (2016). Communication Perspectives on Popular Culture. Lexington Books.

Juslin P.N., & Sloboda J. (2011). Handbook of Music and Emotion: Theory, Research, and Applications. Oxford University Press.

Reed, L. (1972). Transformer. RCA, London.

Oct 11 2016

Programme Manager – Bachelor of Musical Arts @ MAINZ


mainz-for-webI have recently accepted the post of Programme Manager for the Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree, at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ), part of Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

This role predominately involves researching, running, and developing the music degree offered at MAINZ, which has a contemporary music focus.

Unfortunately this means that I am no longer able to teach piano privately any more. If you wish to study at MAINZ however, drop me a line on markb@tpp.ac.nz

Dec 7 2015

Alicia Keys and Contrastive Valence in ‘Fallin’

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Click the link above to watch my new video on contrastive valence on www.psychologyinmusic.com.  Wondered when singing flat was a good thing? Wondered when a wrong note is actually the right note?

Please support my new venture, www.psychologyinmusic.com.  This is a new website containing videos and articles linking music and psychology.  The aim is to create a set of videos that outline techniques, grounded in psychology, that can be used by performers, composers and arrangers.  All articles are grounded in recent research; in this site, the bias is on musical tools rather than academic discourse.  Psychology in music is very young, and study of it is really exciting!  Please visit the site at www.psychologyinmusic.com and subscribe if you like what you see!  I will be uploading more videos this week; the first one is a psychological analysis of the bridge of Fallin’, by Alicia Keys.

Thanks for supporting my music.

Dr Mark Baynes

Nov 24 2015

Psychology In Music

Please support my new venture, www.psychologyinmusic.com.  This is a new website containing videos and articles linking music and psychology.  The aim is to create a set of videos that outline techniques, grounded in psychology, that can be used by performers, composers and arrangers.  All articles are grounded in recent research; in this site, the bias is on musical tools rather than academic discourse.  Psychology in music is very young, and study of it is really exciting!  Please visit the site at www.psychologyinmusic.com and subscribe if you like what you see!  I will be uploading more videos this week; the first one is a psychological analysis of the bridge of Fallin’, by Alicia Keys.

Thanks for supporting my music.

Dr Mark Baynes

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Nov 12 2015

Vintage Key Studios

Please support my new venture, Vintage Key Studios. As you may be aware, I have been collecting vintage keyboard instruments for several years, and now I am in a position where I can offer recording services.  Please read the welcome page below and visit the site, if you get a chance.

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Welcome to Vintage Key Studios (www.vintagekeystudios.com)

Vintage Key Studios specialise in the recording of quality vintage keyboards. Situated in Auckland, New Zealand, we can either record you on one of our instruments here in the studio, or we can record the session for you, using our house keys player Mark Baynes. Please read about each of the keyboard instruments we have on offer by clicking on the links.

Tired of the thinness of plugin keyboard instruments? Want a real keyboard sound in your mix?
Then maybe this service is for you. Previous clients include Tiny Ruins, Anika Moa, Tim Finn, King Kapisi, Kora, Henrique Morales and Seth Haapu. We use high end Apogee digital converters, top shelf microphones (Neuman U87, AKG C414s, and an Earthworks PM-40), and Avalon, Vintage Ampex and Universal Audio preamps. Your sound can be recorded clean or subject to a variety of tube/vintage stages, adding as much warmth as required. Our tracking booth is also available for vocal/instrumental tracking. Even our studio furnishing was built using parts from an old upright piano!

Files can be transferred and payment made online, so you can order your recordings from anywhere around the world. This is a boutique business that only survives through our passion for preserving quality instruments, as we believe that no other solution is really good enough!

Please drop us a line if you wan’t to find out more; thanks for stopping by.

Mark @ Vintage Key Studios.