Junior Prom – Mark Solomich and Erik Ratensperger
In 2013, the Brooklyn-based duo Junior Prom, consisting of Mark Solomich and Erik Ratensperger, released two buzzed-about, hook-filled pop-rock singles, Shelia Put The Knife Down and International. This year, the two issued a self-titled five-song EP on Elektra Records and went on tour with Panic! At The Disco. Not too shabby.
The recordings were all made in Solomich's Brooklyn apartment, where he lived for the past four years – as in past tense: He moved out two weeks ago. Suffice to say that the next batch of tunes will be tracked in fancier digs. Before Solomich cleared out, he and Ratensperger invited MusicRadar in for a look around the joint.
Solomich: "Except for the drums, we recorded our entire EP right here – in a yellow folding chair. If it looks uncomfortable, that's because it is."
Solomich: "This is where I recorded the vocals. The mic is a Shure SM58. I don't know where I got it from. I want to say from a former bandmate who stole it from his high school and then left it out my house. In any event, it gets the job done.
"On the wall is a picture of Cheryl Tiegs, a famous swimsuit model from the '70s. A friend gave it to me because I had nothing on the walls and he thought that it would really tie the room together, which it clearly does."
Mackie studio monitors
Ratensperger: "I bought these Mackie MR5s years ago. They're small, but they still have some nice low end and have held up pretty well. Somebody suggested that we put them on top of books. I think one of them might be an old phone book."
Guitars and bass
Solomich: "The acoustic on the left is a Fender Palomino, the bass is a Fender Squir, the electric guitar is a Mexican-made Fender Telecaster, and the acoustic on the right is a Taylor. They're all right-handed, but I play them upside down. None of them like to stay in tune."
Akai Pro APC20 controller
Ratensperger: "We use Ableton Live on stage. The Akai is a great companion to that. We've been using Launchpad, but we'll be using the Akai more and more as we start adding more shit to the live show. Honestly, nobody wants to look at a dude fiddling with a laptop. This thing pretty much eliminates that sight."
M-Audio Oxygen 49 keyboard controller
Solomich: "I'd like to say that we used all vintage analog synths, but alas, no. All of the synths were played on this MIDI guy."
Solomich: "This is a broken acoustic guitar I found at our old rehearsal space. It barely stays in tune – but just in enough for me to play it on the bridge of the song Sheila. It is no longer with us. RIP."
Ratensperger: "That's not just a can of Diet Coke; it's an empty can of Diet Coke with rice in it. It has a little more crunch to it than an eggbeater. I don't think it matters if you use a Coke or Diet Coke can, or if you use basmati or jasmine rice."
Iron Gym pull-up bar
Ratensperger: "If you notice, there's this thing attached to the top of the door in the background; thist is what you call the 'Iron Gym pull-up bar.' It was an integral part of making the EP."
Solomich: That's my old roommate's dog, Akira. I don't think he liked Sheila Put The Knife Down. Everytime we'd be listening back to it, he'd bark like crazy – only for that song, though. I think he quite liked the others."