Sun King Rising spends a lot of time in the studio so I thought maybe, like me, you would enjoy a peek into his musical domain to see where a lot of this creativity takes place.
He graciously accommodated my request, so let’s all enter the doors of Reborn Pelican Studio where SKR describes some of the highlights of the studio for us.
HELLO TO YOU ALL. I'M JOHN BLANGERO, aka SUN KING RISING and this my studio. I thought I'd give my friends an inside look at my musical workplace, better known as Reborn Pelican Studio, located on the water in deep South Texas. It is my special creative space.
The primary tool for SKR is the Yamaha N3X piano, which although electronic, has perfect Yamaha grand piano action and is used to trigger exact Yamaha CFX grand piano samples for that classic piano sound, which we work very hard on. I've always loved the piano sounds of Elton John, Bruce Hornsby, and Leon Russell so we are always focused on a big full grand piano voicing.
The silk rug under then piano is from Egypt, purchased on one of my many trips. The piano is the very heart of the studio....although I usually compose on my Yamaha C5 acoustic grand.
I'm very picky about my vocal sound and over the years I've settled on my personal gold channel which starts with a Lauten Oceanus microphone that goes into a Pendulum Audio Quartet preamp and then to a Summit Audio TLA-100A tube leveling amplifier. You'll find a lot of outboard equipment at Reborn Pelican with quite a bit of a focus on gear made by Crane Song including the monitoring chain. I've tried a lot of microphones and I will switch around occasionally. However, the Lauten microphone gives me that full beefy sound that is appropriate for a baritone voice such as mine.
You recording enthusiasts may be surprised to learn that Reborn Pelican Studio is a Cubase shop. I picked it as my focal DAW long ago because of the incredible tools that it has for midi production and editing. Since I orchestrate quite a lot, I like to have a good work pipeline and Cubase provides that for me. Here is a view from the mix position. It shows the demo that I'm working on for the next album, a song called Anchorless.
Other unusual bits of kit in the studio include my mellotron, which hasn't been used for SKR but gets used all the time for my prog rock project, Harlequin Reborn.
Of course, there are other conventional areas of the studio dedicated to guitars, drums, other keyboards etc. Maybe I'll show some more in a future Lowdown!