June 2016

Too Many Zooz at Studio Trilogy in San Francisco

Leo P’s Sax Featured on Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons”

Pictured during Too Many Zooz sessions is drummer/percussionist King of Sludge.

San Francisco, June 2016 – Bizarre “Brass House” group Too Many Zooz have recorded new songs at San Francisco’s Studio Trilogy. While in town from NYC, they performed with local musicians, who joined them in the studio. “This was a super fun session and the guys are insanely talented and creative,” remarked Trilogy recording engineer Willie Samuels.

Too Many Zooz was recently featured on Beyonce’s new “Lemonade” album, following her discovery of their viral videos. They can be heard on both “Formation” and “Daddy Lessons.”

The three-piece Too Many Zooz got their start in the subways of NYC. Matt Doe on trumpet, Leo P on the sax, and The King of Sludge on bass drum and percussion. Videos of their performances frequently get millions of views.

Watch Zooz perform in the NYC Union Station subway:


“Too Many Zooz wasn’t really intended to be a band,” explains co-founder Matt Doe. “We were just trying to have fun, and make some money to eat, buy a 6-pack, and pay our rent. I saw it as an opportunity, a really easy way to play music for money and do what I love as my job.”

After starting their first full-length album at Platinum Sound in NYC, they ventured to SF. “We had a show out there at the Independent,” says Matt Doe. “and decided to book some time at Trilogy because there were some artists that we were meeting out there and it was easier to record with them out West.”

Engineer Willie Samuels explains, “The sessions at Trilogy were really a continuation of what they had been doing in New York, so I stuck with the same mic’s and set up that they had been used to. One of the big challenges is that due to their time in the subway, they are used to playing in close proximity to each other, as well as dancing around quite a bit. Leo’s dance moves are incredible, and he keeps it moving while recording. So there is a fair amount of difficulty with bleed and keeping the guys ‘on mic’, but Matt is amazing at ‘working’ the proximity of the Shure SM7b.

Additional microphones include a Neumann M269c on sax, Shure SM91 taped to the bass drum shell inside, Neumann TLM170 on bass drum outside, Shure Beta52 on ankle bells and foot stomps, AKG C414 on blocks and bells, and a Neumann KM84 on drum overhead.

Samuels continues, “I also had a pair of Neumann M269c’s set up in the center of the room in a Mid-Side pattern that I used for ambience of the whole group as well as our miscellaneous overdub mics for random percussion and such. I could very easily use just the ‘mid’ mic if we wanted mono or the whole setup if we wanted a stereo picture.”

“He did good, man,” says trumpeter Doe. “Willie’s a really good engineer, easy to work with and hardworking. The studio’s great. To be honest, in any studio that you pay good money at you expect to have the right microphones for the right rooms, but not every studio has a luxury apartment ten feet from where you record. That for me was so huge. That was amazing.”

Listen to the new single “Warriors” by Too Many Zooz:

Written and produced by Too Many Zooz; co-produced by Ivan Jackson, recorded at Studio Trilogy in San Francisco, CA, engineered by Willie Samuels and Serge Tsai; mixed by Serge Tsai at Platinum Sound recording studios; mastered by Chris Gehringer at Sterling Sound.

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Jazz Prodigy Matt Wong at Studio Trilogy in San Francisco


San Francisco, April 2016 – San Francisco’s Studio Trilogy recently hosted sessions with 17-year old jazz virtuoso Matt Wong. A pianist/composer/arranger and San Francisco native, he developed an appreciation for jazz and blues at an early age and began playing piano at age six.

Wong began composing and performing his own material for small ensembles at age 11 and gained early recognition at the world-renowned Blue Note jazz club in New York City. In 2014, he received an ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, given to jazz composers under the age of 30.

Trilogy engineer Justin Lieberman commented, “I’ve worked with Matt before and am familiar with his great ability to work through an arrangement with musicians. Based on those previous experiences, I knew that it was important to give the players maximum communication and that line of sight was critical for Matt to be able to adjust the performance and make sure it was feeling good musically.”

Accompanying him on piano were top players from the Bay Area: Tommy Folen, bass; Jeff Marrs, drums; Max Miller-Loran, trumpet; Thomas Occhiuto, sax; and Paul Hanson, bassoon. Lieberman added, “They are really an awesome group of musicians. In situations like this I try to do as much pre setup as possible, so that when the musicians get in the room they can get straight to hammering it out.”

In both 2014 and 2015, Wong won both the Gerald Wilson Award at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Herb Pomeroy Jazz Composition and Arranging Award for big band composition at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival. In 2015, he was a winner in three categories of Downbeat magazine’s 38th Annual Student Music Awards, including Jazz Instrumental Soloist.

Lieberman explained the recording set-up, “For Matt, I put B&K omnidirectional microphones on the piano hammers and a Neumann 149 at the foot,” Lieberman continues. “ I used a large diaphragm Neumann M269 on two of the horns and a Royer 121 ribbon mic on the trumpet. For drums I had a Wunder CM7 on kick, a Shure 57 and a Sennheiser 441 on snare, with AKG 452’s overhead. Bass was a Neumann 269 at the bottom and a Royer 121 where the neck meets the body.”

Wong commented on the sessions at Trilogy, “Working at Trilogy was a blast for me. I went in to record and document some of my new compositions. It was really a treat and a great opportunity to get to work with some of my favorite musicians in such a great studio.  Justin made the entire process of recording really easy, smooth and seamless, and allowed me to focus on the music and working with the musicians. I really like how the tracks came out and I definitely look forward to working there again.”

In 2015 at the Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wong won the student composition and arranging contest. He was introduced by Wynton Marsalis and conducted the performance of his piece by the Jazz At Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He currently attends the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. http://www.toojazzy.com

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