The DIY Corner

This afternoon, we have a trio of DIY artists who were kind enough to send along their material. All of it is original, and each is very different. Interesting stories to share, as well as some sweet tunes from the likes of Privet, Jason Ryan, and Mara Flames.


Out of San Diego, Privet is a four-piece indie pop/rock outfit that has two recordings available: Privet LP (2011) and Düo (2012).

Their recording setup is basically a box containing a firewire interface paired with a pair of Universal Audio pre-amps  and compressors through which nearly all of their recordings were produced. They mix recordings using Logic but their instruments and equipment are analog classics, (eg., 70s Twin Reverbs, 70s Leslies and Gibson guitars). Check out the tracks “Don’t Chew with Your Mouth Full” and “Cedar Falls” below.

“Don’t Chew with Your Mouth Full” [mp3]

“Cedar Falls” [mp3]

Jason Ryan

Jason Ryan is one half of the indie rock band, Wolfgang Jay, out of Chicago. He recently released a collection of solo, synth-driven material. Jason was kind enough to elaborate on his recording process for the tracks, “Grace” and “Stick Around.”

“Grace” is an all keyboard piece. Ryan came up with the song on his trusty upright piano, and recorded the main riff on his phone. He then loaded the audio into pro tools 9 , and replicated the lick using only built-in midi plug-ins and reverbs. Jason just had a baby girl, and this song conveys his feeling about that experience.

“Stick Around” is actually programmed, feeding the rhythm piano through a couple of guitar amp plug-ins, adding a big fuzzy bass and simple beat from Reason, demonstrating that simplicity is sometimes better. It’s driving rhythm and neo-industrial feel give this track a great hook.

The process for each song on the set of ten recordings used various production methods and instruments, including using only sound effects for a song, and  minimal mic use on a drum set for another. One can’t help wondering how this solo work influences Wolfgang Jay’s new album, which is currently in development. For now, check out the entire set from Jason Ryan on SoundCloud and, if you like it, purchase the album on Bandcamp.

Mara Flames

This is a mystery submission we received two days ago. It’s fun to get one of these, especially when it’s pretty good. The artist prefers to stick with a pseudonym to eliminate bias toward the review of his new material, which is a departure from past efforts. There’s not a lot of background, but we have enough for a DIY profile, and it’s worth sharing.

This is his first foray into DIY recording, and he played all of the instruments: guitar, bass, synth, and singing and then used Superior Drummer software for the drums. Each song was gradually constructed, adding instruments to a base recording.  For recording, he used Apogee Duet and then mixed it in Logic Express.  Mara Flame acknowledges Andrija Tokic at Bomb Shelter Studios in Nashville, who mastered “In the Rain” and “Awoohoo.”

It appears that catharsis and inspiration were at work on these tracks as he states:

“Starting this project was all about writing songs that I’ve been trying to get out of my system for a while, and finally had time to record. It’s definitely a more nostalgic sound than my previous band, and deals a lot more with love and heartbreak, but I tried to be as honest as I could.”

And you can’t get much more honest than that. This is what we love about this feature, direct insight from the artist. Thanks, Mara Flames.

“In the Rain”


We look forward to receiving more DIY submissions…


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