Peter Mastroianni Collaboration

I met Peter shortly after we moved to the Bloomsburg area in 2001. He was running a Joseph Campbell discussion group, and we immediately struck up a friendship. Peter is a deep thinker, lover of books and the wisdom they contain – a local philosopher of sorts. A great storyteller, he also writes some of his own pieces. This collection will unfold over the next year as I go through some sessions from late 2016 and 2017 that cover everything from family stories to politics to mythology.

Live Events

Pepperhead Studios is more than a recording space… we also offer rehearsal space for some of the finest local music projects that feature at area events.

Bluesmobile at the Columbia County Library celebration – Photo by Scott Canouse

Bluesmobile formed especially for the celebration of Columbia County Library’s new bookmobile. The band consists of Mike Hickey (vocs/guitar), John Sweeney (vocs/harmonica/guitar), Kurt Smith (bass), Urie Kline (drums) and Jeremy dePrisco (vocs/guitar).

Negodniki at Artfest – Photo by Audra dePrisco

Negodniki is a jazz ensemble consisting of Mike Hickey (guitar), John Huckans (keys), Safa Saracoglu (percussion), and Jeremy dePrisco (bass). Mostly instrumental, the band performs jazz standards and the occasional composition by Hickey.

Fricknadorable performs throughout the Susquehanna Valley. (Photo by Scott Canouse)

Fricknadorable is the Americana duo of Audra (uke/vocs) and Jeremy dePrisco (vocs/guitar/bass).

Henry Davis: Laments for Henry Davis

Henry Davis is happy to announce that their album “Laments for Henry Davis” is now available on CDBaby, iTunes and elsewhere. Recorded at Pepperhead Studios between March and September 2017, “Laments for Henry Davis” is the first of a succession of works that creator Barry J Davis foresees as a series of intertwining concept albums.

What happens when you die? In the My Brown Opic universe, if you didn’t get it right in your life, your soul is taken by what can only be described as a “soul bee” –  a pollinator of new life. It shows you your wrongdoing. It shows you a glimpse of your future and then places you into the soul of a baby being born. It can be any time. It can be any place.

Continue reading Henry Davis: Laments for Henry Davis

Focusing on music…

I’ll be honest, when Pepperhead Studios officially opened in 2013, that was probably the worst time to launch a studio. I say that for a number of reasons. The overhead of a physical location makes any small business risky. Add to that something as specialized as music recording – a niche market for sure – and you have a recipe for uncertainty at best, particularly in a low-population zone like Central PA.

Another major factor is that recording technology has become so powerful, so cheap and so ubiquitous, that many people really can create quite good recordings at home without much more than a laptop (or iPad) and a couple of USB mics. People do it all the time. For many people, that’s enough. Even though it’s best to work with someone who knows the ins and outs of mic placement, gain structure, and song arranging, novices can still get their ideas out there in a very effective way. More power to them!

On the other end of the spectrum, there will always be large studios – with all of the tremendously expensive gear (vintage or otherwise). They can charge a premium for their services. Whether it’s $3000 mics or specially treated rooms with 100% separation, these facilities certainly have a place and are an important part of the fabric of modern recording. If you have the bank roll for a high-end studio, more power to you!

At Pepperhead, we take a different approach. We know we’re in the middle. We know that you might go elsewhere for lots of reasons, or you might opt to do it yourself. But our clients join us, and stay with us, because we offer something different.

For starters, we don’t get caught up in music industry hype. We’re not distracted by all of the flashy stuff to comes out of NAMM every year. More is not always better. We don’t entertain the “analog vs digital” argument because in the right hands, both work well. In the wrong hands, both can be a disaster.

We work with you to make the best possible product given a no-nonsense approach that keeps the project grounded in what matters: the music. We use tried and true mic techniques. We use the knowledge of our rooms and awareness of what can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of larger studios. That means live recording, with people listening to each other in the room… no auto-tune, and we don’t waste time with 25 takes when three will do.

At Pepperhead Studios, we want to cultivate a relationship. You’re joining a family when you come to us, and we would like that relationship to last and grow, just like those namesake peppers!

Mini Make Faire 2017

Join us for a wonderful day of activities for all ages at the Bloomsburg Mini Maker Faire!

On Sat April 22th, Pepperhead Studios will present area artists performing original, homegrown music, including Mike Hickey, Duane Dulk, Fricknadorable and The Ed Zuber Project. Urie Kline from Lyco Taiko will also give a drum demonstration.

Admission this year is FREE! pepper_maker_ALL2017

10:00 – 11:00      Lyco Taiko

11:00 – 11:30      Duane Dulk (solo acoustic)

11:30 – 12:00      Fricknadorable – Americana

12:00 – 1:00       Electro gadget demo / break

1:00 – 2:00        Mike Hickey – Blues-Rock

2:00 – 3:00        Ed Zuber Project – Rock

3:00 – 4:00        TBD

Directions, parking info and more can be found on the maker site, or their Facebook page.

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Event location is Bloomsburg Children’s Museum

Laments for Henry Davis

In March 2017, Pepperhead Studios was taken over by the Henry Davis team to produce Laments for Henry Davis. Barry J Davis, lyricist and singer came to me with a self-described concept album that sounded perfect for my live recording approach, and interest in sonic experimentation.

What’s the subject matter? Without revealing too much, if you take experience from working as a blackjack dealer and toss it in a blender with the story of the Molly Maguires, add to taste some honeybees, reflections on family, and what’s important in life… then you might be close to a recipe for this alt-rock project.

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Barry’s cousin, John Henry (guitar) came up from Florida in early March to put down basic tracks. Barry needed a bass player, but rather than split my attention between producing/engineering and performing, I suggested we get Kurt Smith.

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Kurt had already been playing with Dave Eisenhower (drums) in his group Shades of Charon, so it wasn’t long before we had a rhythm section that was locked in to Barry’s vision. Dave is a top, in-demand drummer in our area, so I was excited to learn he was on board. We worked together on my last solo project, Chaos Rise Up.

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Supporting players (so far) include multi-instrumentalist Terry Wright, who did some work with our studio on the one-off track Wolves & Women in 2015. Terry has been a fixture of the Susquehanna Valley music scene for decades, known for his long association with the popular variety band Covert Action.

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After basic tracks, we worked throughout March and early April to create rough mixes, add overdubs, and refine our approach. Barry has some big plans for this project, including a full stage show (with costumes) that will tour the NE and Central PA later this year. Tentative release timeline is Fall 2017.

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(Photos by Scott Canouse)

Negodniki Jazz Ensemble

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Mike Hickey (guitar) and John Huckans (keys) work out an arrangement during rehearsal with the Negodniki jazz ensemble. (Photo by Jeremy)
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Usually comprised of Safa Saracoglu (percussion) and Jeremy dePrisco (bass), Negodniki is happy to add Urie Kline on drums for a special benefit performance at the Greenwood Friends School auction at The Silver Moon Banquet Hall in Lewisburg on Saturday April 8 – 6:00pm to 10:00pm. Photo by (Scott Canouse)

Becky Blue Demo

Becky Blue (Rebekah Taffera) recorded a two-song demo with us in September 2016. “You and Me” is a blues, while “B Side” is a rock number. Both songs are original compositions, recorded live.

Musicians:

Becky Blue: Vocals
Jason Taffera: Guitar
Tim Breon: Lead Guitar
Chalie Holmes: Bass
Urie Kline: Drums

Becky recently formed a solo project and will be booking gigs in the Williamsport area in Spring 2017.