Chad Muska:
Recording the Greats, Hotel Style

Audiohead Interviews Tech Tips Events Goods and Gear Featured Music

Pick a Beat
“The recording was all done in a two-week time period,” says Muska. “We had the beats ready, so they’d come in and pick a beat that they liked — I had a bunch for them to choose from — and then they’d sit down and write their lyrics right in the room. And when they were ready, we would record it.

“The vibe of this record is about the artists — the people — and what they’ve done to create hip hop and take it to the level where it’s at now,” he says. “So it was basically, ‘What are you about?’

“Each song is its own world, and you go into it through each artist, and kind of live through what they’re about, what their mindstate is, and their musical styles. Each song on the album is different, just as each artist is an individual, influence on hip hop music.

“Hip hop isn’t about what’s on the radio today and what’s on MTV,” says Muska. “Hip hop is about bringing people together for a common cause. They all come together to feel good and listen to music that makes them feel good. And it’s self expression, through graffiti, through breakdancing, through MCing, through the way you dress, through everything — that’s what hip hop is.”

“Whenever I’m not skateboarding, I’m working on music,” says Chad Muska.

Meeting His Idols
“It was a dream come true, straight up, I can’t lie,” says Muska. “These are all people who I grew up listening to, never imagining that I would work with them, or even see them in person, let alone make an album with them. So, it was definitely a blessing.

Markie “And it was a big learning lesson, because I was coming from being mainly a beat maker, and wasn’t used to working with other artists,” he explains. “Once you get into recording vocals and such, it’s a whole other world. But Dave’s been in music for a long, long time, recording, mixing, engineering. I was learning from Dave every day. The way we work as a team is just really, really cool.”

“The sound that we got from the hotel room and hallway was really good,” says Roen. “If we told people we did the recording at a pro studio in New York, they wouldn’t be able to tell.”

Recording Vocals
Muska and Roen used a RODE NT2 microphone and a Sound Devices USB audio interface to record vocal tracks alongside Muska’s instrumental tracks that were laid out in Cubase. They also used a Mindprint single-channel voice strip box with a compressor and a microphone preamp, a DAT backup system and a Mackie 1402 mixer.

“What we did musically for this album shows what can be done without a million-dollar studio — with a laptop, a microphone, a good little MIDI sound module and a good compressor. We set up a complete recording studio in our hotel room,” says Roen. Plus they videotaped all of the rappers recording during the sessions and cut a video using Final Cut Pro.

Multimedia Business
Muska continues juggling his pro skateboarding career alongside music. But while he’s out on tour, Dave handles business, from editing skateboarding videos, to music videos, to websites, magazines, shoe designs, clothing designs, t-shirts plus running the 1212 record label.

They get promotional help from a global street team network of about 650 kids who put “MuskaBeatz” posters around their neighborhoods. They built the street team through the Internet.

“Skateboarding and hip hop are not just American things,” explains Muska. “They’re all over Japan, Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada… everywhere. We’re trying to communicate with kids that are into what we’re doing and bring them together. We try to hook them up with each other in their own community, and bring them together to help promote our label and our music and get the word out there for us. They’re stoked to do it.”

Previous page: Hip Hop On the Fly

Chad Muska

1. Hip Hop On the Fly
2. Recording the Greats, Hotel Style


Biz Markie
Afrika Bambaataa
Melle Mel
Special Ed
Flavor Flav

Useful Links


TC Native
Final Cut Pro
After Effects

Power Mac
Cinema Display
Roland PC300
Prophet 600 (vintage)
Yamaha CS-15
Korg Triton
Mackie 1402 mixer

About Audiohead.netSyndicateOriginateContact

Got a suggestion? Send us your mojo and we’ll put it in our pipe.

© 2004-2006 - - All Rights Reserved.