Starting at Quad in the early aughts, Coady’s come up through tumultuous times in the music industry and kept incredibly busy the entire time. Teaming up with David Sitek to build Stay Gold Studios, where he engineered TV on the Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs records, along with !!!, Cass McCombs, Blonde Redhead, Architecture in Helsinki, Coady’s been the trusted engineer to some of the most admired and sonically experimental artists in the Brooklyn indie-rock scene.
Coady recently co-produced and engineered Beach House’s at-once intimate and majestic Teen Dream proving once again an indispensable production partner to the visionary artist.
Inside DNA Downtown — the bunker-like studio he shares with a producer-colleague — Coady points to racks of outboard gear once in the chain at Stay Gold and to the SSL G Series console formerly of Quad. The room is filled with equipment, the urgency of a deadline fast approaching and the promise of this young sonic mastermind. We get right to it…
So this is your studio. Tell me a bit about it. You share it with another engineer?
[Prior to opening DNA,] I had been working a lot at The Carriage House in Connecticut, which is really nice — they also have an SSL E/G series console. I’d been talking to a friend of mine about opening a Pro Tools room. He thought we should be more ambitious, combine our resources and open a [more serious] room. A lot of the outboard gear is mine, and was originally at Stay Gold. The console is his and we share the Pro Tools system and the speakers.
And you can do projects start-to-finish here?
Sure. And I have recorded projects here top-to-bottom, which — even though the space is small — have come out sounding great. I generally don’t use a lot of room reverb. For the most part, the sounds I record are usually pretty tight, so having a small studio is fine for me. I close-mic my sounds and then I create most of the ambiances artificially. So, a lot of times the drum sounds I get will be the same whether I record them here or in a nice big studio.
But with the Beach House record, now that’s a big sounding record…
Yes, and that record, by contrast, is filled with lots of room reverb. When we first got to the studio [Dreamland Recording, near Woodstock], I put up these two Earthworks mics, way on the other side of the church from where the band was set up to play. I’d set out to design the ultimate setup of all their organs and keyboards in the studio — they’d brought their own piano in addition to all these thrift-store 70s organs. I wanted to create this awesome environment for them to play in that would be visually stunning and inspiring.
Within a few days, everything got moved around and it became a free-for-all but the one thing that stayed were these two Earthworks mics setup far away from everything, on stands really high up in the air — left and right, pointing down at them. And these Earthworks mics and the studio’s API mixing board had a really cool marriage.
So you ended up using those room mics throughout the record?