David Frank

music production

Contact

Please contact me through my studio:

Canyon Reverb Studios

canyonreverb@gmail.com

310 455 4321

 

68 Comments

  1. Hi there, thanks for putting my picture edits on your site. I am a big fan of The System! Mic Murphy and I follow each other on Twitter, do you have a twitter account? I’d like to do more pictures of you and tweet them to you. I just did some cartoony ones of Mic Murphy 🙂 Hope you like them.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ssoosay/

    Cheers, Surian

  2. Hi David! I have a couple of scanned photos of your article from the May 1986 issue of Keyboard Magazine. Do you want me to send to you, if that’s okay?

    Thanks!!!

    -Cecelia

  3. David I am the guitarist for Tavares and the Denny Terio Dance Party. I will be doing gigs with Gilda Bettencourt and use a Roland GR 33 synth that I can midi to any keyboard. I admire your incredible patches on I Feel For You “Chaka” would you be so kind as to telling me what keyboard was used so I can replicate that sound?, I will be doing that tune with her and need to comp the chords as you did. Respectfully yours.
    Joey Rotella

    • Hi Joey, Actually I used a Minimoog for the bass. Dx1 for the pad sounds, spacey sounds and sequenced sound under the rap. Reggie Griffin also did keyboards on the song. I believe he used an Oberheim OBXa. Thanks for asking. Have a good time! David

  4. I too was going to ask about the keyboards on ‘Feel For You’, I was 6 when my mum bought it on vinyl single and I remember always liking it and still do. Now I’m older and appreciate even more the production and amazing sounds that went into it. It’s just amazing to get this information from a co-creator and keyboardist on this classic record, thanks David.

  5. Hi David I just wanted to say you made the bass synth sound sexy.

  6. Hello,
    Although I am not writing to ask about what type of synthesizers you use, I am writing to tell you that there are certain things you do with them that border on addictive. I recently downloaded”DDTGroove”, as a throwback to my youth…. It has since turned into some sort of….Can’t stop listening to it. Every time in the chorus I hear something in the synth that I didn’t hear before. And either I am going crazy, or you really are just amazing. When I tried to tell my friend this, he told me you were also responsible for “genie in a bottle”, which made me sad. But that’s okay.
    Thank you for writing a really amazing song. I feel it completely outweighs the whole genie thing. I am not a pop audience. I know that I am not the billboard type anymore, but DDTGroove was billboard back in the day. You did good!!!! Thank you!!!!!

    • Denise, What can I say. Thank you!! for your comment. I hope you don’t mind that I sent it on to Mic Murphy. We are finishing a new album so your comment is right on time. I consider DDTG the biggest accomplishment in my life. Some people have more, some have less. I’m happy we got this. I love music and have tried to teach my kids that that is the most important thing to put in their own music. It is all in the feelings conveyed between the chords as they change for one texture to another, the melody as it moves against or with the chords, and the meaning and emotions behind the lyric… and the beat! Don’t Disturb this Groove. David Frank

  7. Hi David!

    A little greeting from Sweden here – it was very cool finding this site and finding out about new, current projects with the System. I am just enjoying “Don’t disturb…” on vinyl. 🙂

    A synth collector myself & sound programmer, I’d like to offer you to download my sounds to check them out. I made the Fairlight CMI refill for Reason for instance, a 3 Gb library with all CMI sounds used with kind permission from Fairlight Instruments.

    I’m a huge fan of Chaka, Scritti, etc!

    My own music here – http://soundcloud.com/bitleytm

    Would be cool hearing from you,
    /Patrick

    • Hi Patrick,
      Thank you for reaching out. I’d love to hear your sounds. I don’t use reason only because I have many options. Logic and machine are my main sequencing programs. I just am now installing Ableton Live to see if I can teach myself one more trick! Thanks. Let’s stay in touch. David

  8. Hi David,

    I have an old keyboard magazine interview from may ’86 where you mention that you used an Emulator, PPG Wave w/waveterm, Minimoog, Oberheim OB-8, DMX and DSX on Phil Collins’ album No Jackjet Required. Do you remember what synth was used for the main pads in “Sussudio”?

    Thanks in advance

    regards,
    ML

  9. Thanks for the reply, David 🙂

    According to this site it was a Prophet 5:
    http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/the-40-greatest-synth-sounds-of-all-time-ever-306114/24#!24

    I’m pretty sure you’re right about the OB-8 though, it doesn’t sound like a Prophet 5 to my ears.

    • Here is the comment I wrote on that site:
      “This is mostly incorrect. I programmed and arranged Sussudio at Townhouse Studios in London for Phil upstairs while he and Hugh were working on other songs in the studio. The bass line on his demo was an electric bass playing repeating 1/8 notes on the root. The 1/16 note bass line was completely my arrangement. Hugh suggested that we record the minimoog on 2 different tracks with different sounds. It was done with an Oberheim OB8 synth,DMX drum machine and DSX sequencer,The minimoog was sequenced with the DSX which was super tight as it was not Midi but Control Voltage and Gate. The bass was not gated by the drums. They arranged the horns after I programmed/arranged the synths and drums. The horn arranger used the bassline pattern as the basis for the horns. David Frank”

      • Hi David. I can’t even imagine what that 1/8 notes bass line would sound like now… Glad your input prevailed. Amazing arrangement and a great track. Thanks

  10. Thanks for settings things straight, David 🙂

    There’s so much misinformation out there,

  11. Hey David, long time fan. Equally a fan of Scritti.Dave Gamson and I took Karate together in the late 70’s. I remember spending time in Minot studios in white plains, ny back in 1985 just as Scritti were enjoying the success of Perfect Way. I was in the studio recording while the guys were working on Provision, and I remember hearing about you and your work on one of my favorite songs “absolute.” I imagine the bass line is an Oberheim? I remember when you guys came out with “Don’t disturb this groove” and being floored by the whole arrangement. I LOVE the counter-melody of the background vocals, which sounds like Tawatha Agee or the same singer on “absolute,” with that silky, luscious vocal. Even today that songs hold up sonically and musically. So brilliant. Here’s to hoping you still write, and play music. All the best! Paul.

  12. Hi David,

    I’d like to know what synths you were using for the various sounds on Chaka Khan’s “This is My Night”.

    Thanks in advance

    regards,
    ML

  13. Thanks alot for the info, David

    Ok, I’d like to know what instruments were used for the following sounds:
    (I’m using this yutube clip as reference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCHENrQSA3Y)

    1: big bell sound at the beginning =
    2. metallic sounding riff at 0:09 and 0:18
    3. sweeping pad at 0:28 =
    4. bassline (sounding like it’s doubled by a digital synth at times) =
    5. staccato chords at 0:32, 0:41, 0:50 etc =
    6. organ “riff” in the background througout the verses =
    7. chords followed by voicy lead sound – 1:16-1:30 =
    8. weird sounding chords at 1:56 =
    9. solo – 3:51-4:10 (reckon this is a real guitar, or?) =
    10. bell sound – 5:23-5:40 =

    That’s alot of sounds, but maybe you remember what synths you used for some of them.

    Thanks

    regards,
    ML

    • 1 Dx1 or dx7
      2 wave2.3
      3. don’t remember
      4.minimoog maybe doubled by dx7
      5.OBxa
      6.OBxa
      7.OBxa and wave2.3
      8.I think wave 2.3 unless I had an emulator at the time or we sampled a bit of vocals into the Publison
      9.real guitar…Paul Pesco 2nd half of solo if not both
      10 DX1 or dx7

  14. Thank you so much for the synth breakdown David, I really appreciate it ;.)))

    cheers,
    ML

  15. Hi David,

    I just noticed that Robbie Buchanan is credited with playing synths on “I Feel For You” along with yourself and Reggie Griffin. Do you remember which part(s) he played on this song and what synth he might have used?

    Thanks

    ML

    • I don’t know what Robbie played. I did the minimoog bass. And complex sustain pads,Fast rhythmic synth in the rap, Crazy sound effects on a DX1 and a PPG wave2.3. Reggie did drums/arrangement and that signature stereo OB8 da-da-da-da da da daaa da-da-da-da and and bell lines…I may have doubled the bells. It was Reggie’s arrangement. Cheers Reggie!

      • Hi, David. Two questions:
        1. Was it for political reasons that the late, Great Arif Mardin (and not Mic & U) took Producer credits for ‘This is my night’? What did he add the track? It sounds like a typical System record. I know he was a great producer…
        2. What did u think of Mic’s solo project? Given that it was done on the heels of R+R, and at Science Lab studios (almost entirely). That LP was bitter-sweet for me b/c it represented the break up of The System. Did you give Mic any input/ advice/ technical assistance? Thanks

        P.S. Mic, if u r reading this, I don’t mean to imply that you needed help. I think ‘Touch’ is great album, from songwriting to production…etc

        • Arif added soooo much. His whole approach to using outboard for different FXs and his and his engineers ideas about mixing influenced us in many way. I retrospect we maybe should have gotten co production. I think Arif would agree but his lawyers may have said different…not sure. We were honored to work with him in any case.
          it was time for Mic to do a solo album. We had done 5 albums and I had worked on many other peoples projects during that time. I thought it sounded great !

          • Many thanks, David. As always, you are very gracious in your deference to others’ view points.

            Cheers

  16. Hi Dave, nice website, good to find something info about you finally, I’m into the 80s Funk and alot of classics have been made by you! A legend you are. 🙂

    I don’t know if you were involved in the engineering/Mixing of your tracks back in The System days? But I’m interested to know of what the typical processing would have been on the DMX drums?

    I’m producing/mixing ITB the same style using good quality samples but I can’t seem to nail the depth and hard sound of your drums on the tracks you produced back then, particularly for the Attitude group. ie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKwZGEezYCM

    Any info would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Sean, I don’t think we did any processing except possibly compression and EQ on individual drum outputs. Of course it was going to analog tape which did its own compression. Try an analog tape emulator on the DMX sounds. You make me proud of what we did back then. Thanks!! David

  17. Hi David. What did u use for the bass sound on ‘I don’t know How to say…’ (Rhythm & Romance)? And also, what did u use for that killer synth solo?
    Finally, those drums… what did u use, please?
    Rhythm & Romance was such an under-marketed album by Atlantic. So many songs were worthy of release, but at least we get to play them as much as we like.

    Thanks

    • OK. I think I don’t know how to say was Minimoog and maybe doubled with DX7. The solo….hmm I may have used a Roland JX800…it was that grey keyboard with lots of faders. Wish I had kept all my Keyboards It’s also possible that I used the OB8. It is one of my favorite solo’s. Wow, not sure about the drums but I know I used the DMX DSX sequencer and the Linn 9000 on that song and a few others on the R+R album as I was going after that tight sound you could get from the CV/gate DSX. So glad you like the album. Music can last forever. Wasn’t Mozart signed to Atlantic??? 🙂

  18. Continuing with my ciriticsm of Atlantic Records A&R failure to adequately promote Rhythm & Romance (actually ALL System albums), rumor has it that an early version of R&R was rejected by “Big” Jon Platt ??? Alleging that he didn’t think the mixes were punchy enough…
    Speaking of lunchy mix, Pleasure Seekers LP was punchy. In my opinion, the hardest hitting album from The System.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Thierno, Jon Platt was not at Atlantic. Thanks Tom Lord and Chris Lord Alge and Unique Recording Bobby Nathan for Pleasureseekers Punch!

      • Hi David. Actually, I meant Merlin Bob, not John Platt. But, evidently, that rumor was false. I can’t imagine The System turning in a mix that does NOT live up to expectations/ standards. LOL @ ‘Big’ Jon Platt.

  19. Hi David. I came across this article about the legendary (and closed) Unique Recording Studis (NYC), and you are mentioned in the story, along with a host of other luminary electro guys. Looking at the gear in the studio, I can see why Mic & U used this facility so many times. Too bad it had to shut down.

    http://www.bobbynathan.com/sample.html

  20. Hi David, I hope you remember me, I worked with you guys on a bunch of tour dates, I was a part of your crew which consisted of me and Rich. I wanted to say hello and hope all is well. I miss you guys. I see Paul every now and then if he happens to be on tour in the Orlando area. Stay in touch. I miss coming into the city to pick up your gear and take it to Triple S. I’m out.

    • Hi Bob, Of course I remember you! It’s been a LOMG time. Triple S rehearsal studio right? ..damn those were fun days.Have you talked to Rich? i hope life is treating you well. Stay in touch. Big Smiles!! David

  21. Hi David, What keyboard or module did you use for the bass and strings for “you are in my system” and “the pleasure seekers” also did you and do you have particular console you like to use when mixing down. AND what tours or shows will you be doing soon…Thanks
    Norm

  22. Excuse me, but holy cow this is a lot of information about how those old recordings were made! I can’t believe this EXISTS. Thank you so so so much for sharing how you worked back then.

    One question: GATED REVERBS – how did you guys program them back in the day? I’m 26 and obsessively study the production techniques of that era. It’s exceedingly difficult to get gated reverbs – like those in DDTG : ) – to sound like they did using standard plugins. I’ve found that it’s partly the reverb engine, and partly the drum samples used. E.g. Experimenting, I’ve found that Cameo, Jam/Lewis, etc… typically used a Linn LM-1 and occasionally a DMX for those characteristic gated drums, but Ableton’s native reverb, while digital, isn’t really up to the job. My Ensoniq ASR-X, however, has a sufficiently dated digital FX chip that it does gated reverbs convincingly, which coupled with the LM-1/DMX and some EQ/compression, sounds almost like the real thing. But the ASR-X is 90’s.

    So what kinds of digital reverbs were you guys running all those drum machines into in the mid to late 80’s? How dry/wet was the reverb, and how were you gating/compressing/EQing/saturating to get the right amount of attack, sustain, release, etc…?

    Thanks! You. Are. The. Man.

    All the best,
    Navar, San Diego
    p.s. really admiring your work with Attitude at the moment.

    • Sorry for the late response. Actually I believe we often used an AMS reverb(nonlinear program?) gated with a….noise gate. I’m not sure what kind. I was depending on the engineers to do that. I’m going to ask Chris Lord Alge next time we talk. Sorry not to know more about that.

  23. david…. sitting here reading your theory laden post (grin) and suddenly i’m eight yrs old again, in wayland, my back to you as you play random riffs for me to chart…… hope it was an easy fast for you this year. i think of you every time i sit to play. still have the silver pen pencil set you gave me before i moved to california….. p.s: griff looks so much like you it’s spooky, and one of my patient’s daughters has an epic crush on him

  24. Hi David,

    Did you use the same synths on Robert Palmer’s cover of “You Are In My System” that you used on the original, or did you start from scratch, if so what synths did you use?

    Also on the song “Pride” from the album of the same name, what is the sound I hear at 1:06? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52OuAUpsk_U

    • Actually they were different synths than the original. I used what Robert had started with. He introduced me to the PPG Wave 2.2. Most of it was done on that Synth.The original version was OBxa (basically an OB8 but with analog oscillators) DSX DMX and a Minimoog AND Memorymoog. I didn’t play on the song Pride. Thanks, David

      • Hello Dave, I’m so glad I found your blog, awesome stuff!!
        One question though – do you at all remember what synth you used for bass on “You are in my system” – my buddy and I are having a debate about it – He says it’s an OBxa , I think it was the Minimoog?

  25. Dave, the Moog bass on “You are in my system”, how would one set up Diva vst for a simlar sound? – I’m trying 2 oscillators tuned an octave apart both saws, quick envelope and about 15% emphasis – sound about right? or did you have a pulse wave for the lower octave?

  26. Congrats on the System Overload LP. You and Mic did your thing again! It sounded amazing! Every song!

  27. David: Big fan of your work. I love discovering that you’re behind some of the funkiest sounds out there when I read liner notes.
    Love the new album. I don’t what The System’s plans are, but DIABOLICAL LOVE MUST BE THE NEXT SINGLE!
    Just let the kids hear this with the right video, and you guys are back on top! It’s too funky, the lyrics are great, and Mic’s vocals are tight as always.
    Best of luck and I hope you’re working with 98 Degrees on their comeback music.

  28. Hi David,
    I was wondering what synths, samplers and drum machines you were using on the “Don’t disturb this groove” album from early 1987?
    Also, it’d be great if you could post a synth-breakdown for the title song.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Ok.thanks for your inquiry.
      DDTG was programmed using a Linn 9000.The Drums were from the same. Live shaker and tamb. live guitar. Wave 2.3 Elec pno,DX1 guitar clavinet,TX rack of 4 dx7s- bells. minimoog bass,Matrix 12 chorus synth pad and horn riff
      System Overload- logic- drums were BFD and various ESX sample layers, Maschine, minimoog plugin, strobe,Ace and OB8(the real thing) on the main pad,zebra, hmm might be forgetting a few things…fx vocal sampled into maschine and messed with. 2nd half of 1st verse synth line over vocals was Maschine. Is that what you mean by synth breakdown? I can look at the session and give more detail or you are welcome to ask me about specific parts.

  29. Hey David,

    Big fan of your work! I am writing to let you know that I remixed your song “Genie in a Bottle” and wanted to share with you, I am also a Maschine user!!

    here is the remix of Genie in a Bottle:
    http://m.soundcloud.com/tracks/search?q=marino+genie+in+a+bottle

    anyway I hope everything is great and i think you should make a twitter or fb page so i can keep up w your productions

  30. SORRY here is the proper link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLu0ex9J8zY

    I tried to replicate your 32nd note Kicks but I just cant make it sound good like you, and did a Latin Freestyle sounding drum pattern instead!!

    Keep it up David!

  31. hey Dave – big feature on “The System” including the new CD on here….

    http://www.synthetix.fm/2013/02/synthetix-midweek-flashback-system.html

  32. Hi Mr. Frank, did I hear correctly? At the beginning of Diabolical Love did I hear Mic say in the spoken intro – “Her smile was like an incantation/she was creole, or may she was BAJAN…” – I know I mishear lyrics often but that sure seems to be what he said. If so that would be so cool for me since I am Barbadian and we call ourselves bajans. Just check out my email address.

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