016 R&D – California Sessions | Recap of Dice’s Arrival and Session One


Our first studio session together in California was fun and I will get to that, but first I want to mention what lead up to it.

Dice arrived and we went straight to an open mic/karaoke restaurant where we performed one of our new songs and one of our old songs. Since we hadn’t performed together in 6 years, we were a little rusty, but it was fun anyways. We realized some of our instrumentals were in need of some leveling and other mixing so that gave us some more to do in our upcoming sessions. We rehearsed a bunch more after the open mic as we were really starting to get the feel for the tracks again.

The next day was the photo shoot and it couldn’t have gone any better. We made it in and out with everything we needed. Then finally, our first studio session arrived! We woke up and before getting into the session itself, we just kind of relaxed and talked about how we wanted the sessions to flow. We settled on the idea that we would start from track one and work our way forward. So the intro it was!

We spent the first couple of minutes booting up the systems and whatnot and Dice mentioned that he wanted to retake the sample so we sat there and got levels. I was hearing a hum while I was gain-staging and Dice said it was because we needed to ground our turntables to the mixer.

Of course!

I began tearing up headphone wires and splicing them together to get something going, but it just wasn’t working. Finally, we just decided one of us was going to be the conductor to get rid of the excess sound. Dice grabbed the metal on the turntable with his left hand and the metal on the mixer with his right and we took one minute and forty seconds of a sample with virtually no noise! Probably not the best way to do it, but sometimes in the studio, it’s whatever works!

Boom! New sample taken and we were ready to sequence. We already had a demo for the intro so we were able to freeform a little bit. I lined it up and had the idea to sample the last piano chord from our first record to be the first chord of the second record. Additionally, the original sample contained some piano noodling, so I replaced that with my own piano performance where I imitated the baseline from the upcoming sample.

Then, the magic began.

We added a few echos and loops and we were onto the scratching. This was really the moment of truth because the reason we got the Rane SL2 was so we could DJ the record. (For more information on the Rane SL2 and Djing the record, visit www.rollzanddice.com/ranesl2). Anyways, I pressed acapellas from our session with Greyface (our in-house comedian and hypeman) from the first record and from the East Coast session where Millie and Dice recorded Greyface. We got Dice on the wheels of steal and had him drop the needle like he was old school DJayin’ it, performing with wax, except now he’s able to use timecode records.

We had a couple of technical issues that caused some dropouts on my Mac mini that was running 8 GB of RAM so we switched to the MacBook Pro with 16 GB and that did the trick! We got the scratch session done quickly and decided it was a wrap!

Check out the podcast episode and check out some dope photos at at www.aaronkbaker.com.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *