|TEEN’s Gear: Sequential Circuits TOM
A former member of ambient indie pop group Here We Go Magic, Teeny Lieberson formed TEEN in 2011. Her sisters Katherine and Lizzie and friend Jane Herships completed the line-up, and the group started exploring Teeny’s musical interests, which had veered from the quirky indie pop of her previous band to percussive, organ heavy rock ‘n’ roll with psychedelic flourishes.
How much of your recording is done at home versus in the studio?
About half and half.
If you use a studio, what do you record there and what do you record by yourself and why?
It’s fun to record on your own because you have absolute control. It can get so much more experimental when it’s just you. But going into the studio allows the sound to be that much bigger and that much better.
What are the pieces of equipment that you find particularly inspiring when recording at home?
Tascam 424 Portastudio – 4 tracks just do things on their own accord, so you never know what you’re gonna get. Sequential Circuits TOM (pictured) – great drum machine… the sounds are wacky and tunable.
What one piece of hardware/software would you most like to add to your recording setup (cost not an issue)? Why?
Anything that would make my vocals sound the best that they can. I still can’t totally get them sounding as clear or beautiful as I want them too. Oh and a Korg MS-20 because it’s my favorite synth ever.
Do you expect your next record to be self-produced, or would you like to work with a producer? If it’s the latter, who would you most like to produce your band, and why?
Nah- we’re gonna work with a producer I think…No more home sessions with the band. I’m really hoping to work with my friend Daniel Schlett at Strange Weather on some future music. He’s super talented.
Do you use rack effects or guitar pedals to forge your own sound? If you do, please list the ones you use the most and let us know why you love them.
Pete (Sonic Boom) used a Roland SDE 1000 (pictured) on our vocals (I think that what the unit was) and it sounded great. And Space Echo always get the job done.
Do you have a particular recording style that you aim for? What techniques do you employ to recreate it?
I approach things differently with different groups of people. When by myself, it’s all spontaneous. I don’t write anything beforehand. But with TEEN, we’re trying to only track what we can play live, so that requires some rehearsing.
Who determines the direction and style of your recordings?
Depends on who I’m working with!
Is there a person outside the band that’s been important in perfecting your recorded or live sound?
What other artists would you say have had the biggest influence in your approach to recording? Why?
The whole Here We Go Magic crew. I kind of learned everything I know from them. They taught me the value in improvisation, looseness. Nigel Godrich was amazing to work with because he wouldn’t let you get too in your head. Mistakes can be happy..
Would you say that your live show informs your recording process or that your recording process informs your live show? Both? Neither?
Both. I think they naturally influence one another.
Is there a piece of equipment that you find particularly useful on stage?
With bands doing more of everything themselves these days (recording, performing, self-promoting, etc.) and the evermore multimedia nature of the world, how much effort do you put into the visual component of your band – fashion, styling, photography, graphic/web design, etc.? Do you do these things yourself or is there someone that the band works with?
We’ve worked with a lot of people, all of whom have been amazing. Valerie Gnaedig + Annie Lenon (winsomebrave.com) did our website. Sam Fleischner + Megha Barnabas worked with us on the “Electric” video. Janis Vogel has done two videos for us now. I think the visual aspect can be equally as interesting as the music and we’re always aiming for that. We’ve been very lucky to work with these amazing artists.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspects of the recording process? On the flipside, what aspects are the most rewarding?
Self-criticism. Allowing things be loose. You don’t want to lose spirit but it’s so easy to get caught up in minutia. It’s much better to let things be… But when you get out of the heady struggle of mixing and you feel kind of proud, being able to share your music with your friends is the most rewarding.