Behind the Sonic Magic: Crafting Ghost’s Infestissumam – A Studio Journey of Creativity and Challenge

Nameless Ghoul, having a break from tracking guitars

“Ghost Record Infestissumam: While putting the finishing touches on Alice in Chains’ ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ record at Henson Studios, an exciting opportunity surfaced. Nick Raskulinecz brought demos from a band, then known as Ghost (B.C.), and their direction captivated me instantly. Months later, as Nick finalized the deal, I jetted off to Nashville to set the gears in motion at Blackbird Studios.

Nathan Yarborough keeping track and documenting our guitar settings

Blackbird Studio’s A custom-modded Neve 8078 became our playground. We dived deep, meeting a tight schedule head-on, laying down main tracks swiftly within a couple of weeks. Working with the band in teams—Tobias, Martin, Simon, and Axel—for the first few days. Then, Tobias left back to his family in Sweden after all the arrangements were debated and confirmed. After drums were completed (we tracked for cymbal separation, which can be complicated, but Axel was impeccable at keeping his timing together and made this seem like a breeze), it was time for Martin and Simon to jump into action while Axel went back to Sweden. Nick and I dialed in their Orange amps with some vintage flavors like the Hiwatt Lead 30 and Marshall 2550 into an array of cabinets and mic flavors for standout guitar tones.

Nameless Ghouls keeping anonymity

After completing the guitar recording, Morrow, a quietly spoken individual with innate talent, joined us to deliver the iconic organ and keyboards. Fine-tuning the tone bars on the Hammond B3 for each song became a tremendously tedious task, with Simon assisting in achieving the desired timbre. Morrow’s performances showcased amazing touch and feel, yet the real time-consuming aspect lay in meticulously dialing in the sounds.

Nameless Ghoul tracking guitar-SG Les Paul Custom

After the organ and Keyboards were done, Richard, the bass player, finally flew in to “lay down the groove,” easily handled in a couple of days. At that point, my job was done while Nick worked on vocals for the remainder of the booking; I headed home to Los Angeles.

Nameless Ghoul and Nick Raskulinecz pushing performance.

Yet, an unexpected hurdle arose. Despite attempts in Nashville, securing singers for the highly Satanic Latin lyrics proved challenging. Enter David Campbell, summoned once more to arrange a stunning choir score. We gathered a 28-piece choir at Bridge Recorders (now Silent Zoo Studios) in Glendale, California. With their Neve VR,  I had a decca tree set up with three M50s, and one U87 for about every three singers, the scene was surreal—Skyping with Nick in Nashville while he connected with Tobias in Sweden.

The process was a blast, a whirlwind of creativity within constraints. That record remains a personal favorite. Now, witnessing the band’s phenomenal journey, it’s evident they’ve soared far beyond our wildest expectations.

All photos by Paul Fig

Exciting News! I’ve Joined Austrian Audio’s Friends Page!

I’m thrilled to share that I’ve been added to Austrian Audio’s esteemed Friends page!

This recognition reflects my genuine appreciation for Austrian Audio’s OC7 and OD5 microphones, meticulously crafted tools that align perfectly with my pursuit of top-tier sound.

I’m honored to join the ranks of Austrian Audio’s Friends! Explore my profile on the Friends page here.

Last spring, I had the pleasure of visiting my good friend Joe Barresi at his studio. During that visit, Joe had just received a shipment of mics from Austrian Audio to demo and, knowing my curiosity for new gear, offered me the chance to try them out.

Always eager to explore new sonic possibilities, I picked up a couple of OD5 microphones. Little did I know, these mics would pleasantly surprise me in more ways than one. From the moment I started using them in my next session, I was struck by their robust build, incredible ease of placement, and, most crucially, their sound quality.

The Austrian Audio OC7, the  True Condenser version of the OD5

Those initial sessions led me down a rabbit hole of exploration. I found myself diving deeper into Austrian Audio’s range, getting my hands on the OC818s, the OC7, and more OD5s. As I continued experimenting with these microphones across drums, guitar, and bass cabinets over the following weeks, I found myself completely sold on their unparalleled performance.

Moreover, Austrian Audio’s groundbreaking use of dual-capsule technology in the OC818 opened new doors for me. The access to the back capsule, allowing separate processing, significantly expanded the sonic horizons. Being able to harness distinct characteristics from each capsule gave me a whole new realm of sonic possibilities, allowing for an unprecedented level of creativity and precision in my recordings.

The Austrian Audio OC818

From their nuanced sound to their effortless adaptability in various recording scenarios, Austrian Audio’s microphones have become an integral part of my personal toolkit. They seamlessly blend top-notch build quality with exceptional sound reproduction, making them an essential choice for capturing the essence of every performance.

Despise You “and on and on…”

Despise You, Power Violence, Grindcore, Relapse Records
Despise You “and on and on …”

Back in 2010-2011, the underground music landscape was un-aware there was a potential for a new Despise You record. A decade had passed since the groundbreaking release of Westside Horizon. Phil Vera and I found ourselves electrified by the mere prospect, a surge of excitement sparking as we swiftly charted our course toward Dave Bianco’s studio- Dave’s Room..

The studio buzzed with an electric energy as we geared up for this monumental venture. Rob Alainz’s drums took center stage between his two sets of hi-hats one left, one right and a tumult of broken cymbals. Chris Dodge’s bass was dialed into a punchy, bacon-sizzle sound, and Phil Vera’s guitar, a Peavey Butcher in harmony with my Marshall JMP, was the sonic linchpin that tied it all together for tracking live.

Locked in and ready to unleash, we embarked on two intensive six-hour sessions—a whirlwind where time seemed to bend around our creative fervor. All along working around Bianco’s mixing schedule, we captured lightning in a bottle. Twenty-five songs (20 ended up on “On and On…”) erupted from our collective energy, each one a testament to the raw, unfiltered passion we poured into every note and beat.

What emerged was beyond expectation—pure, unadulterated angst and ferocious energy. The recording sessions forging 20 of these tracks into a sonic embodiment of the visceral emotion that is Despise You. Collaborating with Phil and the band was an adrenaline-fueled rush, an artistic synergy that left a mark on each of us.

This collaboration with Phil Vera turned out to be more than just a studio endeavor. Our creative camaraderie and our continued relationship around recording prompted him to throw my name into the production hat for the Seattle band, Filth is Eternal.

Thank Phil!

Billy Ruben and the Elevated Enzymes

A little while back an old friend of mine from high school, David Martin,asked if he could refer someone from Arkansas to me for help with his “studio and music stuff”.  I’m always game to hear music and meet new people, so I agreed to talk. Well, it turned out that what this guy really wanted was help with music he had already recorded – he needed someone to listen, critique, and mix. I asked him to send me what he had so that I could listen and get back to him. Well, after clearing my ears of a few back-to-back projects, I finally had a chance to dive into his repertoire. I’ll admit, I had some “Arkansas” preconceptions that might have made me a little skeptical about what I would be hearing, but the more I listened to the rough mixes Billy Ruben and the Elevated Enzymes sent, the more intrigued and enthused I became. By the time I had listened through a few times, I was pretty fired up by the well-crafted, high-energy, garage-rock-psychedelic amalgam Billy and crew had come up with. These tracks remind me of early Richard Hell, Stooges, Scene Creamers, and The Cramps… and I had to ask, “tell me what I can do to help!”  The reply was that the band was looking for a mix engineer –and given the groovy stuff I was hearing, I was ready to get in there and shake/sharpen/some stuff up (or I jumped right in, I signed right on). First I needed to chisel down the list  of eleven songs to four and create an interesting cross section of what Billy Rubens and the Elevated Enzymes are. To me these were the first of the bunch to introduce the world to.

I’m going to share “EP 1” with you. It’s a boisterous journey through 4 songs with Billy Ruben and the Elevated Enzymes. These four tunes will take you through the landscape of their imagination and remind you of how much fun music can be.

AFI “Bodies”The band’s highly anticipated 11th studio album Released June 11, 2021

Finally! After months of teasing us with just a couple of tracks at a time, AFI has released Bodies, their newest effort since the Missing Man EP. 

This super talented quartet has created a high energy, diverse collection of songs. Together with Adam, Jade and Hunter I worked to get some awesome drums recorded for this album at my studio, Dave’s Room.

The band returned to the studio In May 2021 and tracked live for a special Daniel P. Carter BBC Radio 1 Session.

As Elana Chris says for Alternative Press:

“Make no mistake: Bodies brings with it serious divergences from the AFI we last heard in 2018. But divergence is precisely where they thrive. The record, though far-reaching, is hardly a haphazard attempt to reclaim the spirit of the ’80s. Rather, it’s a carefully curated exhibition of the band’s diverse inclinations. Now 11 albums into their tenure, they refuse to stagnate. Where their creative process leads, they follow with utmost enthusiasm and commitment, favoring self-loyalty over arbitrary confines of genre. The new era is beckoning—will you hear it?”

After 15 Years System of a Down Release Two New Tracks

System Of A Down
(Image credit: Armen Keleshian)

I am enormously proud of the latest project I engineered and recorded at Dave’s Room. Not only was it a privileged to work with the talented artists from System of a Down, but also it meant a lot to me to be involved with two such meaningful pieces of music. Both tracks, “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” focus on the terrible war being fought between the Armenia and the Armenian Republic of Artsahk and the combined forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey. 

Daron, Serj, Shavo, and John decided that the best way to bring attention to the plight of Armenians in Artsahk was to make music. The band has not recorded or released anything in the past 15 years, but they felt that the recent attacks by Azerbaijan and Turkey on the Republic of Artsahk (Nagorno-Karabakh), a disputed territory within the borders of Azerbaijan, needed and deserved any support they could give. I too, believe that Azerbaijan, with the help of Turkey, is attempting to eradicate Armenians in Artsahk and that the international community needs to acknowledge the independence of this region and censure both Azerbaijan and Turkey for their actions. I am proud to have recorded these two important, historic tracks at Dave’s Room. 

System of a Down will be donating all royalties earned from these two songs to the Armenian Fund. Their website, <%22>, eloquently explains the situation in Artsakh and tells you how you can purchase the music and support individuals with crucial and desperately needed aid as well as basic supplies. Each song is available for a minimum suggested donation of $1, which will be given to the US-based charity organization Armenia Fund, which assists those in need in Artsakh and Armenia with basic survival supplies.

LEWIS Debut, First Album since The Kinison

Chris Lewis

Here it is friends! Christopher Lee Lewis‘ first solo album since leaving The Kinison.
Christopher’s new musical endeavor LEWIS is now available at Bandcamp, or streaming at Spotify and Apple Music.

Why not make quarantine a stay-cation with this musical journey of 90’s flavored, jangley, grungy, indie pop? I promise a quick injection of fun and optimism.

LEWIS (ex-The Kinison vocalist) shares uplifting singles from new album produced by Paul Fig

Back in my Amen days (somewhere around 1999-2000), I met Chris Lewis.  He was incredibly young and had great energy. He was an Amen fan and we met after a show we played in Sauget, Illinois. He handed our singer a demo tape of his band, The Kinison. The visceral, bombastic sound captured on that tape told us the band had real potential.

I remember helping record early Kinison songs at Amen’s rehearsal space. It was a carpeted garage deep in Van Nuys and that’s where Chris and his band worked out their tunes.  Their demo “I Hate Black Sabbath” was recorded at Sound City, and it led Chris and The Kinison through a series of showcases and ultimately a record deal.

Chris and The Kinison were on their way, and they toured relentlessly in the early 2000s.

Many years later, we reconnected when The Kinison wanted to record a couple of tunes with me at Dave’s Room. This became the EP “Oh, the Guilt”

A few years later, Chris started to write on his own. He tracked 5 songs with a talented friend of ours, Manny Nieto, at his Suplex Studio in Los Angeles. Not long after that, Manny decided to move his studio to Hawaii and I mixed an EP from those 5 songs; it’s called, eponymously, “LEWIS”.

Chris was excited to have these tunes realized, and given our history and how comfortable we are working together, he asked if I would record his album. Over several weeks Chris sent me dozens of songs for “LEWIS”. His new music has a more singer-songwriter feel; jangly and grungy, but at the same time poetic and personal.  Chris is both relentless and prolific and while I was listening to the first group, he sent more and more songs. We decided on a recording date and he was still sending me music! Each tune was better than the last and out of the final group came “Tobi”, and “I’m Nervous Too” – two tracks that I knew had to be on the record.  

We worked hard and fast tracking live with Sam West on drums, and Frank Figueroa and Brian Duke on bass.  After 4 days of tracking and overdubs Chris had his first album recorded, “Son on the Floor”.

Mixing was fun – I kept the raw, honest performances and made sure Chris’ writing and intent really shone through. I am extremely proud of Chris and his new record. I am sure there will be more to come from LEWIS.

As Jedd Beaudoin from Pop Matters says: “the infectious single “Bathe Clean”, three minutes and six seconds that spotlight Lewis’ particular blend of humor, incisive observation and ability to create an unlikely but undeniable hook. Think of a sweeter Guided By Voices or songs where power-punk clichés are muted for the sake of the song and that’s some of what Lewis gets up to on” — PopMatters

Please enjoy The 4 singles leading up to LEWIS full length release August 21 “Son On The Floor”  on Sona Baby Records with these lyric videos.

Son On The Floor will be available on LP and download on August 21st, 2020 via Sona Baby Records. Pre-orders are available HERE

“I’m Nervous Too”



“Bathe Clean”


“What You GIve”

Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind

At the beginning of 2019, Greg Fidelman assembled a crew to tackle capturing and documenting the energy that this monster of a band puts out. Tracking more songs than needed to make sure we had the best of the best, we worked 6-day weeks for months. as the clocked ticked closer and closer to the band’s tour schedule. With a lot of hard work we came screeching across the finish line!  I am proud to have worked alongside Producer Greg Fidelman, engineers Sara Killion, Greg Gordon, and Dan Monti, the always on it Bo Bodman, and Chaz Sexton at East West.

Slipknot- We Are Not Your Kind to be released August 9,  2019

Produced by Greg Fidelman, Mixed by (Evil) Joe Barresi

Deadland Ritual

Late in 2018 I had the chance to record Matt Sorum on drums, Geezer Butler on bass, Steve Stevens on guitar and Franky Perez on vocals. We tracked live at Henson to catch these amazing performances, then overdubbed vocals for the perfect take.

What an amazing few days it was sitting in the room with all this talent!