Posts Tagged ‘Death By Audio’

May/June Projects: DBA Renovations

July 3, 2011

I know, I know, I’m combining months for this post. In all honesty, it’s been a busy summer and we’ve had a few people moving in and out, so I grouped my May/June project into one big Death By Audio house renovation. Mostly, two rooms in our house were completely renovated in the past two months. We’ll start with the new movie room. Before May, this room was an art studio for the past year. Here is the last photo we have of the unfinished space:

Thanks to Materials for the Arts, we were able to bring in a new couch, a rug, and a new projector to turn this room back into a home theater, like it was in 2009.

Of course, that was the easy room. We simultaneously decided to tackle the Death By Audio bathroom, which had been plagued by yellowing brick, mildew, and a floor made up of broken shards of tile and cement rubble. Unfortunately (probably for the better), I don’t have any “before” pictures for the bathroom before we started.

The first thing we did was reroute the lighting. We ran extension cords through the ceiling and dropped lights through the drop ceiling. This way, all of the lights were controlled by a master switch, rather than being permanently turned on. Then, we broke up what remained of the tile, swept the floor and the shower, and poured 5 bags of concrete. Sure, there was a mishap in the shower and we had to call in a plumber to change out a pipe or two, but after sealing everything, it looks pretty good.

After the concrete set, we started painting. The shower and walls were painted a battleship grey, and the floor was painted green. We also threw a sheet of plywood over the exposed pipes so everything looked a bit cleaner. A few bathmats here and there, and it’s almost like we’re living in a condo:

Now that everyone is settling in, it’s time for me to get back to some audio and visual stuff. Tomorrow, Fuck Ton plays at Shea Stadium for the Fourth of July, and I’ll have my live video display to show off. Come check it out!


Death By Audio Records

June 24, 2010

Death By Audio Records

Check out the blog for Death By Audio Records where I am now a contributing writer. We’re writing about all of your favorite Brooklyn bands like Coin Under Tongue, Sisters, Grooms, Starring, and True Womanhood. There’s also a Death By Audio Records twitter account, for those of you with short attention spans.

Kleeb Versus The Pothole

June 14, 2010

Broken Ankle Summer in New York

Before I even unpacked my bags from my wonderful west coast vacation to Portland and San Francisco (videos coming soon), I found out the hard way why Brooklyn is in desperate need for some infrastructure repair. Walking down the sidewalk in Park Slope, my ankle met with an unlucky turn in a pothole, and I’ll be immobile for 6-8 weeks.

Of course, being cooped up at Death By Audio isn’t so bad. Despite the cabin fever, I can still play drums, work on circuitry, and even pick up some shifts in the show space. Ironically, my intended destination before this accident was NYC Resistors, where I intended to work on some Arduino and Max/MSP projects with my newly constructed mobile circuit rig:

Mounting a breadboard, power supply, amplifier, Arduino, and hookup jacks to this box now makes it possible for me to move my entire project down to the workshop in Park Slope. Of course, it will be mid-July before I’ll attempt this trip again.

How can I carry this huge rig easily? Luckily, my friend Mike in Philly makes good quality hand-made messenger bags and backpacks. During my trip, he dropped off a Norman Porter bag at DBA, and it can hold this box plus a laptop and still have extra room.

Norman Porter Messenger Bag Company

So I’ve been hanging around the house, playing drums, learning Max/MSP, editing my vacation videos, and trying to find some work at the venue or elsewhere.

I managed to make it up to NYCeWheels on my crutches, and came out with a pretty sweet electric bike. Although probably a bit dangerous, at least I can get out of the house once in a while. Just strap crutches to my back and I’m good to go.

Mark rides an electric bike to work

Freak show on wheels

One week down, five more to go. Hopefully I can use this time to be productive. Probably going to start posting regular updates, so check back. This blog is back in action.

Bike Pedal Door Latch

February 2, 2010

Using my old freewheel, chain, and a chainring that was abandoned by a customer at my shop, I made this latch that opens when you turn the bike pedal. The freewheel is attached to the actual knob using two metal strips that I drilled through the handle and pressed into grooves in the freewheel, so they both turn together. The chainring is attached to the door with a hub axel, using a small block of wood to space it out from the door:

Hidden Couch Storage Closet

January 25, 2010

Don’t let a couch stand in the way of a useful storage space:

Made with 4 casters, 4 hinges, a deadbolt, and some framing 1″x2″ boards.

Arduino Christmas at Death By Audio

January 7, 2010

The lights were programmed with an Arduino board.

Zen and the Art of Duct Tape

January 7, 2010


Back in October, the cargo net had become such a hasty endeavor that we decided the best way to maximize our child-like sense of glee was to cut out about twenty feet of HVAC ductwork that ran through the center of the ceiling. Now that it is December, it was evident that the heating system we had removed would need to be replaced. Driven by the impending cold spell and party influenced by Brazil‘s seedy system of renegade Deniro ducts, we bought 100 feet of insulated octopus arms, military grade duct tape, and a few cans of expanding foam. The result? The shabbiest, but most exquisitely squalid heating system I’ve ever seen. We have yet to see how efficient it is.

Death By Audio Photo Journal

January 7, 2010


With the acquisition of my new (albeit highly unprofessional) digital camera, I decided to visually document some of the places I talk about here, starting with my place of residence.

Practice Room:

Pedal Room:

Living Room:


Mixing Room:

My Room:

My First DBA Project: 2 Watt Amp:


More to follow, including Brooklyn Pool Parties, survivalist biking, and a surprising show at DBA with lots of drums, keyboards, and paint.

A Place To Bury Strangers

January 7, 2010


I’ve settled into a routine here at Death By Audio. I wake up at 8:30, do some Kundalini Yoga that I learned from Drew, make a huge breakfast, pack my PB&J sandwich for lunch, and bike the 8 miles to work. Then I arrive home around 8 pm and am too tired to make it past midnight, usually.

I guess I’d like to have some more time off. I really don’t do anything for myself anymore. I don’t play drums or saxophone or guitar, I put off all my circuit-bending projects, since both the altoid amp and the theremin are having problems that I don’t feel like fixing. I have been writing sporadically, and I occasionally still do sound effects for Columbia students. I think I may leave this job after the busy season. Thinking about a cross-country trip, couch surfing with some friends. I can make it to Wisconsin from here, at least. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to get the rest of the way.

Anyway, one of my roommates’ bands played the other night with Holy Fuck at the Williamsburg Hall of Music. They’re called A Place to Bury Strangers, and before I lived here I had not listened to them.

Now, being a drummer, I was never really a big fan of guitar fuzz. My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, etc. I could appreciate what it was, but never really listened to them. I was promised that A Place to Bury Strangers would put on an amazing live performance, and I was not disappointed.

Oliver plays his Fender Jaguar through two half-stacks on each side of the stage, and I’m pretty sure they usually use more amps. His guitar has no tone knobs or pickup selector: each lipstick pickup is wired directly to an output jack. If one of the jacks breaks during the performance, he can simply plug the other one in. He keeps three of these guitars on the stage, because at various points throughout the show, he gets compelled to rip all of the strings off, or swing the guitar around in the air.

The bass and drums give an industrial feel to the massive amounts of guitar noise in the air. The overwhelming volume was on the verge of being too much to handle. This is definitely an earplug band. The projectors on the band flashed in blue and green patterns, giving an eerie, dark feel to the entire performance.

This video shows a performance from 2006 where Oliver gets his amps involved in the destruction.

As far as the actual music, it’s not really my thing. But I will say that A Place to Bury Strangers was one of the best live bands I’ve seen recently. I stayed around to watch Holy Fuck, a band that I enjoyed listening to while working out or driving. After three songs I’d had enough. Two guys turning knobs and head-bobbing just wasn’t as exciting to watch as someone ripping apart a guitar on stage.

As a side note, Oliver is the creator of the Death By Audio guitar pedal line, and he uses many of these on stage. I had the opportunity to play the Robot pedal, which will be released sometime in June. It’s a fantastic device, with a modulated chip transforming your guitar into 8-bit fuzz, sort of like an old telephone sound. His pedals are gaining popularity, and with the band, it’s great to see success take off for someone who’s been working hard for so long.

As for me, I feel young again. These guys have been hard at work for so long, so I don’t feel too bad at this point in my life. It’s time to start playing music again. I feel inspired and I think I’m at the perfect place to do something great. It’s summer in the city, and life is good.

Death By Audio

January 7, 2010

As the curtain closes on the act called 3 Catherine St, I must look again, for the sixth time in five years, for a new place to live.

Some of you may have heard the rumors about “the ultimate loft space” in Redhook, in Bed-Stuy, in Williamsburg, featuring Nate, Joe Grocki, Drew, Chak, Dustin, Big Nate, and me. We would build a studio and record bands and live in a big commune and it would be great. We talked about the “summer of building walls” and I looked forward to some manual labor in the summer, drywalling and painting and constructing the place ourselves.

Then there was the Great Flood of 2009. Our basement abode spent three days in the mildew of Brooklyn garbage and god knows what the hell is in the water around here. My mattress didn’t make it, and I just barely saved the drums and amps. I spent the whole night wrapping up cables and hanging them out to dry, along with my sheets and some clothes. It was miserable.

Then we got the news about the loan. The loan that was supposed to grant access to our glorious loft space. It didn’t go through. People started dropping off the lease and a general depression hung in the air. Nate and Drew moved home. April found a space in Park Slope. My options were running out.

Enter Death By Audio. Those of you in New York may recognize the name as a small all-ages venue in Williamsburg, in an old refurbished warehouse. Some of you musicians may recognize it as a manufacturer of guitar pedals. However you recognize the name, it also doubles as a living space.

Harry and the Potters play DBA

I was lucky enough to meet a friend of April’s that lived there. He invited me to check out the place to see if I wanted to take the spare room that had been available for the past few months. I walked through the first half of the warehouse, through the stage area and into the back where everyone lived. I passed a row of bikes, skateboards, and various speakers and keyboards in the entry way. I emerged into a huge space with high ceilings that functioned as the kitchen/living room area. One of the guys was preparing a fish dinner with potatoes. Another was cutting out some magazine clippings and pasting them on a bass drum. It bustled with activity at all times.

There was a practice space on the first level, mostly for bands that rented time. Attached to this was a makeshift mixing room, cluttered with DBA pedals. The next room was the pedal production room. About 15 pedals sat open on the counter, in front of a wall of resistor drawers. They are debuting a new pedal in the next few months, and are getting ready for the demand.

Wandering into the next room I saw a wall full of paint cans, a workbench, screens for printing, some lumber, and an array of hand tools. There was no shortage of projects to work on. On the side of the kitchen, a second level was constructed above all of these work spaces.

Upstairs was a small living space with a projector for movies. My room would be next to this. It seems to good to be true. So I came back today to meet some more of the guys. A Place To Bury Strangers , a few of them residents, were playing their new album for an older guy from Mute Records. I sort of got an informal tour and they told me I was welcome to move my stuff in.

So I close this chapter of my life and enter the next, and I don’t think it could get any better. Who knows what is going to happen from here on out.