Contemporary Jazz, Smooth Jazz
Gregg Karukas (GK)
Gregg Karukas インタビュー (GK)
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Hi Gregg, thank you for meeting last time when you were comming Cotton Club
live with Peter White and Mindi Abair on November 2007.
Also thanks for taking picture when Yoshi's Peter White interview at Hotel Okura.
At that time, you said you were going to move your house to another
location. Did you already move to new house and prepared new your
house recording studio ? Also you said, you will have drum booth.
Do you have drum booth for new studio ?
we moved to Thousand Oaks near Camarillo ( the strawberry capital of the world!!!)
There was a small studio, smaller than my last studio, and I added a 10x10ft. booth for drums,
vocals, horn section.
I just got your new CD "GK", I found there are a lot of guest players on it.
Did you record all of them in your new studio ?
Yes, all my 11 CD's were recorded and mixed by me in my own studio(s).
I was always the guy in the band who recorded the gigs, rehearsals and demos.
Most of your previous CDs are O2R and Cubase utilzed multi track
recording Smooth Jazz style. However new CD "GK" seems most of tunes are
regular "band recording live style".
Can you tell me your new CD "GK" live flavored ideas ?
Well, I always have about half of each CD recorded live with real rhythm
section, the other half with drums programmed by me. Different songs require
different sonic and rhythmic approaches. It is also fun to get different
players in to record "old-school" and work on the grooves, if they are not
already worked out.
Is this for utilizing your new studio including drum booth and (maybe)
enough space compared from your previous house studio ?
Now that I have the new booth, I can record a whole band easily, as long as
the bass goes direct. I have another small booth too for sax, and a laundry
room,......and a real live sounding living room that would be cool for a
horn section or I might try drums out there sometime, in the daytime LOL.
What is the reason to name the studio name Nightowl ?
Most all my composing and production work is done late at night, ever since
I did my first CD, "The Nightowl". Get it?
You have been playing regular Rhodes Electric piano or S-80 Rhodes built in
sound on previous CDs like Blue Touch and Night Shift.
This time, you are playing Wurlitzer and Organ on "GK".
However, I do not see on these "real" instulments names on CD jacket
information instead of YAMAHA MOTIF ES and S-90.
Did you actually play MOTIF ES or S-90 for Wurlitzer sound ?
My keyboard sounds are usually a combination of all the great synths and vst
instruments I have. Motif is great for Rhodes/ Wurlie sounds, combined with
XV-5080, so I haven't used my real Rhodes in a while. Some of my favorite
organ sounds are from Roland JV-1080 60's and 70's card.
What is the reason you are using Cubase for your studio recording ?
Is there any preference to use Cubase ?
(Usually many musicians are using Digital Performer or Pro Tools.)
I have used it since it was Pro24, or whatever, on Atari, before that I used
SMPTE Track. Before that I used Studio 440 by Sequential Circuits, before
that: Commodore 64 and EMU SP12 Drum Machine......before that Sequential Drumtracks!!
I had Logic for a while but went back to Cubase.
It excels at everything, especially the VST Instruments for real time
playing. I hardly bounce anything, it all goes virtual to the mix and I can
still change anything at the last minute if I want. I will be getting
PROTOOLS soon since they improved the MIDI drastically. I'll probably still
stick with Cubase though.
I'm slow to upgrade due to bugs, but Cubase 5 looks promising.
You also use O2R96 for recording. I think, if Cubase is used, all
tracks are available to record without O2R. Is there any
multiple use of O2R and Cubase ?
I use O2R96 for inputs and mixing a lot. I don't do all the mixing in the PC.
I mostly use UAD efx, EQ's and compressors, then bring almost every
track into a mixer channel.
How can you utilize YAMAHA DC7PRO Disklavier Piano ?
Many ways. I record all my late-night ideas on the DKL (Disklavier), without
turning on the console and PC. Then I can dump the midi files into Cubase
and edit from there the best ideas. Sometimes I'll play a solo with just the
metronome going and that will end up being the final performance, with a few edits.
Did you play directly through this Piano to record MIDI signal into Cubase ?
Sometimes, but I think the "MIDI out" response is a little quicker on the S-90.
After MIDI realtime recoding, did you send Disklavier recorded
MIDI track to Disklavier again to mixdown for your after arrangement ?
I usually play most of the parts on my S-90 with Ivory or the built-in piano
sound of the DKL....then, I bring in the musicians for overdubs and add all
the synth parts. After that, I might change some piano parts (in MIDI) to
blend or interact better with what they played. Once the song is ready to
mix, I'll send the MIDI piano track to the DKL and record it with a few
different mic positions to get the best sound. I always have to tweak a few
velocities and I might even record one pass with more or less velocity for
the whole song, then I listen back to the recorded piano in the mix to pick
the best one, always checking for phase problems in mono.
In 1994, you were in Lake Biwa Jazz Festival (琵琶湖ジャズフェスティバル)
with Boney James band.
Can you tell me, how could you get this Japan tour business opportunity
at that time ?
Because Lake Biwa is very close to Yoshi's home town.
Was it that early?? That was a good exposure gig, since they
filmed it and showed it on TV. Boney was just starting out and Warner Bros.
probably paid for most of the expenses. Just one gig. Us , the Count Basie
Big Band (without the Count) and a Japanese "Green Day like" band.
Is there a new Japan performing tour opportunity in the future ?
I hope so, we have to get more all-star shows over there.
"Night Shift" is still air playing on US Smooth Jazz Radio.
Are you going to send new tune "GK" to radio programmers to replace into "GK" ?
Well, they are still playing Girl in the Red Dress a lot too. Manhattan is
the new single from GK and the airplay has been very good.
Thank you for answering questions.
My pleasure, hope to see you soon.