Adventures In Audio with Audio Masterclass

“Dirt on My Tongue” by Rene Rodriguez feat. Leemon and Bob


This song was originally my final project for the engineering course I was taking at Musicians' Institute in Hollywood. It earned me “runner-up” (damn!) for Best Project at the end of the term. I recorded it mostly at home, and recruited my buddies Leemon “Lack” Peterson and Bob Engel to contribute vocals. All instruments were played by me.

Since studio time at school was mostly booked up, I ended up sequencing the drums in ProTools using samples cribbed from instructors and students, then EQ'ed and compressed to get more bang from the samples.

I also used parallel compression, and used keyed gates to trigger a 50 Hz sine wave on the kick, and a little white noise on the snare. The bass and guitars were tracked through a Presonus Bluetube mic pre at home, then mixed through the SSL G-series at school.

I ran the bass through an ADL compressor for fatness, a DBX 160 for punch, and the SSL EQ. The guitars were recorded with Fender and Ibanez into Marshall and Line6 amps, with Shure SM57 and 55S mics, and then run through a pair of 1176 compressors and EQ'ed on the SSL.

Unfortunately I didn't have the luxury of mixing vocals in one of the school studios. I recorded the rap vocals with Leemon Peterson in the computer lab at school, using an MXL V69 Mogami tube mic set up in a small booth for isolation. The lyrics were written on the fly by Leemon. The chorus sections were sung by Bob Engel at my house using a Shure condenser into the Bluetube. Mastering was done at school with guidance from a couple of instructors.

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It was a huge blast to attend MI and to make the acquaintance of such excellent instructors and students. I can't wait to spend more time in top-flight studios like the ones at MI, creating music like this. I hope you enjoy.

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David Mellor