Engineer Robert Carranza Records New Album in LA and Hawaii
Pictured in LA (L-R) are engineer/mixer Robert Carranza and Jack Johnson, with the new U47 large diaphragm tube mic from Telefunken | USA. Photo by David Goggin.
Los Angeles, CA – Jack Johnson has completed his new album, “Sleep Through The Static,” with longtime engineer/mixer Robert Carranza, who is a Grammy-nominee this year as Best Engineer, Non-Classical, for his work with Ozomotli. Johnson’s album was recorded at his new facility in LA and at his studio in Hawaii, utilizing the U47 and Ela M 251 historic mic recreations from Telefunken | USA.
“Jack’s voice has kind of a velvet sound,” remarks Carranza, “and I have always been searching for just the right mic for him. We had already started recording the new album, but the minute we tried out the new U47 we decided to go back and re-record all of Jack’s vocals. All of a sudden, there was something different, almost magical. I hate to use that word, but this mic made such a huge difference on the record.”
Jack Johnson, born and raised on the north shore of Oahu, was a champion surfer before he entered college to study filmmaking. While studying at the University of California at Santa Barbara he produced a surf documentary called Thicker Than Water, with two friends, Chris and Emmett Malloy. It not only featured his talents as a cinematographer, but also included his abilities as a singer/songwriter.
“When I put a mic up and sit between the speakers,” continues Robert Carranza, “and I hear the vocal coming at me from above the speakers, and from the back and from the sides and the bottom – it is very rare. This mic has almost a binaural sound, and it made a big difference in the texture of the album. This is the sound I have been looking for.”
Eight years ago, a four-song Jack Johnson demo caught the attention of producer J.P. Plunier, who had worked with one of Johnson’s heroes, Ben Harper. Plunier produced Johnson’s 2001 debut album, Brushfire Fairytales, and also played lap steel guitar on the record. Johnson’s second album, On and On, came out in 2003, followed by In Between Dreams in 2005. In 2006, he released the soundtrack to the animated film Curious George, which went to #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 and Rock Album charts. Sleep Through The Static, featuring Merlo Podlewski on bass, Adam Topol on drums, and Zach Gill on keyboards, is scheduled for release February, 2008.
“The U47 that Telefunken sent me was a demo, but we loved it,” adds Carranza. “I told them I wanted that mic and wasn’t giving it back. And we also bought a new Ela M 251. I first tried it on acoustic guitar, put it up and got a perfect guitar sound. No EQ, no compression, and it really sang. You can’t beat that.”