Bass Player November 1996
Billy Gould's Home StudioBy Gregory Isola
"That sounds great. Maybe try it with some Ebow; then you'll lose the single-note definition but maintain the mood of the part. All right. Later." Faith No More's Billy Gould hangs up the phone in his home studio and turns back to the business at hand. "That was our guitarist," he grins. "You just witnessed a band rehearsal. With this setup, we send tapes back and forth all the time. It's so cool."
A converted gardener's shed in the backyard of Gould's San Fransisco home has quietly become home base to one of the noisiest bands in the land. "Writing an album with Faith No More is like building a house," Billy sighs. "So this place acts as our scratch pad; it lets us sit back and work out our music ahead of time. The last time we went into the studio, we recorded five or six songs in a day and a half because we knew exactly what we wanted to do. I mean, scrolling for keyboard sounds when you're paying 1700 an hour? Forget it!"
Billy greases the wheels with a pair of Genelec 8" near-field monitors, a pair of JBL 4311 reference speakers, a Mackie 24*8 mixing console, two Furman PB-40 patchbays, two Pro Co PM-148 patchbays, and a Power Mac 8500 synched to an Alesis ADAT (in rack). "I do all of my recording on hard disk first," he details. "Then I clean up everything, take out all the noise, and pop it into the ADAT."
Gould's main rack (right) also houses a Fostex 3070 compressor, Roland SRV-2000 digital reverb, Roland SDE-3000 digital delay, Roland DEP-5 reverb, Zoom 9120 effects processor, Tech 21 SansAmp rackmount preamp, Roland Super-JV 1080 keyboard sound module, E-Mu Procussion sound module, Marshall JMP-1 guitar preamp, DigiTech GSP2101 preamp, and a DigiTech Vocalist II harmony generator. The two-space mini-rack to the left holds a Tascam DA-30 DAT deck and a Mark of the Unicorn MIDI Time Piece II sync box. An ADL 1000 tube compressor/limiter and a JBL SR-6630 power amp (for speakers) sit below the desk, and a Kurzweil K2000 keyboard stands against the wall. Basses pictured include a Kay upright lurking in the background, an Aria Pro II Integra, and a Japanese Greco with PowerStorm pickups. That wimpy little thing behind Gould is a Fender Duo-Sonic guitar.
Billy is quick to tell you owning a killer home setup has its price. "The problem is I don't go to shows anymore," he laughs. "I've lost touch with what's happening in the city because this is my world right here. I walk around the corner for some coffee in the morning, and then I come in here; when I come out it's dark." Loss of social life aside, Gould is floored by the freedom to experiment home recording affords musicians. "Back when Faith No More was making demos, we'd save up eight months to go into the studio for one day - and we'd try to learn everything in eight hours! Now even little 4-track Portastudios sound great, and they let you listen. Hearing what sounds good and what doesn't - that's how you learn to record. Bands think they have to buy lots of gear before they can go out and get a record deal, but you can pull it off with whatever you've got. Make the funky stuff work. Just get in there and get your hands dirty!"
Thanks to Pfeen.