Capturing Creativity: The Story of ‘Amputechture’ Recording Sessions

Helping engineer The Mars Volta’s “Amputechture” record was an exciting endeavor. In late fall 2005, I received a call from Mars Volta’s management, asking for assistance in giving Jon Debaun long time engineer some time off from the band, as they had just finished coming off a lengthy tour. In December, I met up with Jon in Silverlake at The Paramour Estate, where the band planned to stay and work on their record at their leisure.

Jon and I set up multiple combo amps and cabinets in what used to be the stable house, now transformed into a carpeted living space. Carefully, we mic’d everything up to explore various flavor options and ran all sorts of cables into the makeshift control room. The control room comprised of the mobile protools rig, a rack of high-quality compressors, and atop that rack, a small Neve console. While I’m certain it was not a Neve BCM 10, it certainly resembled a Neve Kelso, boasting exceptional pres for tracking guitars, bass, or any instrument, really.

All of Jon Theodore’s drums appeared to have already been tracked at Sage and Sound. I spent about a week with Omar and Cedric, focusing on angular guitar parts and creating sections for other instruments in the band, and then capturing vocal ideas. I distinctly recall a memorable field trip to the Virgin Record store in Hollywood with Henry Trejo in his Mini Cooper—a delightful journey accompanied by Omar. After some shopping, we returned to Silverlake to wrap up the day’s work.

As New Year’s Eve approached, Omar and the crew arranged an impromptu party with a DJ. It was a fantastic way to conclude the week in the makeshift studio, indulging in tequila and welcoming 2006 with enthusiasm! The Record was Amputechture.

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