Song Of The Week: “Fly Away”

Song Of The Week: "Fly Away" featuring Nikki Rey and Mr Mego

Listen Now:
Spotify
Apple Music
Amazon Music
Google Play

 

Music and lyrics: John Vargas
Featuring: Nikki Rey (vocals), Mr Mego (ukelele)
Rhythm: Mark Rickey (keyboards), Tony Song (guitar), Charlie Channel (bass), Collette d’Almeida (drums), Stan Muncy (percussion)


What They’re Saying…
This upbeat Pop/Jazz track fills the listener with a cool, relaxed summer sensation. This time there is a Hawaiian element in the sound and you feel your head nodding to that Bossa beat and see yourself under a parasol drinking cocktails. A really lovely song.

Andrew Goodwin
New Music Ear

Read the full review

Song Of The Week: “Right Next To Me”

Song Of The Week: "Right Next To Me" featring D-Varg and Matt Blaque

Listen Now:
Spotify
Apple Music
Amazon Music
Google Play

 

Music and lyrics: John Vargas and David Vargas
Featuring: Matt Blaque (vocals), D-Varg (rap vocals), Tony Song (guitar)
Rhythm: Mark Rickey (keyboards), Charlie Channel (bass), Collette d’Almeida (drums), Stan Muncy (percussion)


What They’re Saying…
The album opens with a medium paced Samba crossover with a big summery vibe.  It is a fun, bright and breezy number with hints of Michael Jackson (“Off The Wall” era) and Gloria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine.  D-Varg’s rapping gives it an updated appeal to younger listeners who may not have heard music like this before.

Andrew Goodwin
New Music Ear

Read the full review

Recording The Album – The Gear

When it comes to recording music, a good musical performance is always key. Musicians should show up on recording day prepared and well rehearsed.  This usually is the formula to a successful take.

It has been a blessing to be the recording engineer for both 510JAZZ albums Bossa510 & January 16.  All our music was recorded digitally with microphones, mic and line cables, microphone preamps, audio interfaces,  an iMac computer, and Pro Tools.

In this post I’d like to highlight which audio interfaces I used for recording both 510JAZZ albums and why I chose to use them.  When recording 510JAZZ’s debut album Bossa510  we used two audio interfaces: the Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo (thunderbolt) and the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40.

 

Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo
Focusrite Saffire Pro 40

The main purpose of an audio interface is to take an analog audio signal that is captured from a microphone and convert it into a digital audio signal that can be routed into your computer.  The digital audio signal will get recorded in the computer by a DAW like Pro Tools (computer recording software).

At the time (2014-2015) the UA Apollo Twin was a new and very popular consumer audio interface.  It came with some of UA’s coveted plugins for mixing, so I knew I wanted to use it for recording our album.  The UA Apollo Twin was our master audio interface.  It contains two high quality microphone preamps and an optical input used to route in an additional 8 audio inputs.

These additional 8 inputs were supplied by the Saffire Pro 40 via an optical cable.  I must say the Saffire is a great interface that is reasonably priced and provides lots of versatility for recording and mixing.

This post is about recording… But if you did your math correctly, that gave me a total of 10 audio inputs for recording.  In 2015 (10) microphone inputs was more than enough for recording the core 510JAZZ band.

For the core 510JAZZ band; keyboard, electric bass, drums, and vocals, I was able to divide up the inputs.  I usually would dedicate 6 inputs to the drums, 1 input for electric bass, 2 inputs for keyboard, and 1 input for scratch vocals. I won’t get into microphone placement much on this post, but it did play a key part two shaping the sound of the band.

Once the microphones were in their desired positions, I would set my microphone preamp levels (input levels) via the gain knobs on the audio interfaces.  Gain staging at this level is really important, I learned from many sources that in the digital domain clipping the audio signal can be really destructive to your sound.  To combat clipping one can turn the gain knob down on the audio interface.  Clipping is usually indicated by a red LED indicator on the audio interface. Usually healthy levels for recording are indicated by green and yellow LED’s.

I learned so much from recording our first 510JAZZ album.  Fast forward to 2017 and recording our album January 16.  I wanted to get another audio interface to allow for recording more sources simultaneously.

When Universal Audio made the announcement about the Apollo Expanded  addition to their Console Software (which allows for the cascading of multiple UA Apollos) a lightbulb went off in my head.  This lightbulb visual was shortly followed by the classic “Cha-Ching” sound of cash register sounding off.  The UA Apollo interfaces are not cheap.  I found a great deal on the new Apollo 8 interface online and was able to get one for our studio!

Apollo Expanded

 

Universal Audio Apollo 8

The Apollo 8 became my master audio interface.  I was able to set it as the master interface in the UA Console Software.  Once I was up and running with all 3 audio interfaces (Apollo 8, Apollo Twin, Saffire Pro 40) I was able to record 18 inputs at once, yikes!

When recording the January 16 album this equated to more microphones on the drum kit – 8 total.  This allowed for our guitarist Tony to participate in all core 510JAZZ recordings.  I usually would dedicate 2 microphones to his guitar (electric or acoustic).  This was a great perk, but required so much more attention to detail.

I was up for the challenge and it really paid off.  I encourage anyone who is new to recording to start off with an audio interface that suits your recording needs and really get to know it.  When you are getting ready to expand you can think of an interface that would equip you for the occasion.

Be sure to listen to January 16 & Bossa510 by 510JAZZ.

Have fun, each day is a blessing.

 

Enjoy!

David Vargas

Sources:

Sound on Sound. www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focusrite-saffire-pro-40. Accessed 5 Sept. 2018.

Westlakepro. westlakepro.com/product/universal-audio-apollo-twin-duo-interface/. Accessed 5 Sept.
2018.

Pro Tools Expert. www.pro-tools-expert.com/home-page/2015/1/22/
universal-audio-introduces-new-apollo-expanded-software-powe.html. Accessed 5 Sept. 2018.

Universal Audio. www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces/apollo-8.html. Accessed 5 Sept. 2018.

510JAZZ on Top20 UK Smooth Jazz Chart

We’re honored to be on The Moth FM UK Top 20 Smooth Jazz Chart for the week ending September 2, 2018.

510JAZZ is on The Moth FM Top 20 Smooth Jazz Chart.

510JAZZ’s new song You’re Everything To Me (ft. Maya Victoria) is #20 on the list. We’re delighted that our friends around the world love our music.

We’d like to offer a huge thank you to The Moth FM’s DrGlyn Reece for this wonderful news. What a Blessing it is to be in such good company on the Top20 chart.

Listen to the song “You’re Everything To Me”

View The UK Top 20 Smooth Jazz Chart and Listen to DrGlyn’s Show S04 E49.

“Song On The Radio”

This Week In Radio

We at 510JAZZ strive to reach out to terrestrial and Internet radio stations all over the globe – to tell them about our music.  We’ve been Blessed with very strong support from some of the best.

We’re delighted to see songs from our new album “January 16” playing on 21 stations this past week (August 25 to September 1).  Our most popular song is Right Next To Me (ft. D-Varg and Matt Blaque) followed by the song You’re Everything To Me (ft. Maya Victoria).  These stations have played several other songs from our January 16 album as well.  We’re thrilled to see this acceptance from our friends in radio.

We encourage you to check out these superb radio stations as they are playing the best in Smooth Jazz every day – including songs from 510JAZZ.  Look them up on your favorite search engine and click on their “Listen Live” link.

510JAZZ was heard on 21 radio stations during the week of August 27.

My Love For Radio

Ever think about the music that defined you as an adolescent?  Movies like That Thing You Do remind me of the excitement that artists and composers feel when their song gets played on radio – whether it’s that first radio spin – or several years later after thousands of spins.

I can’t help thinking about Al Stewart’s 1978 release Song On The Radio.  Every time I hear our music, it’s just like hearing Al Stewart’s hit single when I was a teen – pure magic!

Radio has sure changed since those days.  During that time we listened to the radio, fell in love with a song and then went to the store to buy a 45 or LP vinyl album, cassette or CD.  Then we would play it over and over on portable players, in the car and at home.  Radio was always the catalyst, for our love affair with music.

In 2018 music is available everywhere – as close as your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.  The one thing that remains the same is that radio continues to be the catalyst that drive’s music lovers to seek out that song and “put it into rotation” (on their mobile devices, computer, etc).

Radio has changed in a big way.  We now listen to a mix of terrestrial radio and Internet radio.  We no longer need to purchase that physical album at the music store.  The list of radio stations is massive now, to where some of the best stations can only be found on the Internet.

The one common ground here is that every radio station has a presence on the Internet.  So if your favorite songs are only played on a station in Sao Paulo, Brazil or Galway, Ireland – you can listen from where you are, via their live stream.

The Internet has made the music world a much smaller place.

John Vargas
510JAZZ

Interview With DrGlyn Reece of The Moth FM

On August 25, 2018, 510JAZZ’s John and David Vargas were interviewed by DrGlyn Reece on his show “Jazz and Coffee” on The Moth FM.

You can listen to this excerpt on our SoundCloud channel.

The Moth FM's DrGlyn Reece Interviews 510JAZZ

In this interview, you’ll hear selected songs from our new “January 16” album. We talk about songwriting, our musicians and more!

This excerpt is taken from “Jazz And Coffee” show S01 E23.

This interview was recorded live on The Moth FM on August 25, 2018. Permission to use this excerpt has been granted by The Moth FM.