The Pop Machine Voted Best Recording Studio
Session and Studio News
Indianapolis, IN (February1, 2004)
Former Bad English singer John Waite was in at The Pop
Machine (Indianapolis) writing and tracking his upcoming
release with producer/brothers Marc and Eric Klee
Johnson, Jeff Whorley and Joey Fingers. Also in
recording with Marc Johnson and Joe Cheesman were The
Fuglees, working through their new CD Indiana, and
country band Chevy Downs, who were tracking and mixing
their debut release with the Johnson brothers
The Pop Machine
Indianapolis’ Extra Blue Kind—guitarists David Barajas
and P, drummer Randee and bassist Brian Peterson—play
pop-laden rock music and are damn proud of it. The band
grew out of Indiana University’s jam-band frat-boy
circuit in early 2000, but it wasn’t until they
submitted a demo to local radio station X103’s Battle of
the Bands contest and won that the band really broke out
and found their audience. Their prize included studio
time to develop a single with the Johnson twins (The Pop
Machine). The result was the single “The King of
Everything,” which became a local hit. The band hit the
road, sharing the stage with bands such as Breaking
Benjamin, Chevelle, Trust Company, Stone Temple Pilots,
Kid Rock, Creed and Everclear.
Learn more at
The Pop Machine Gets New Old Gear, Trainwreck Hits The
Indianapolis, IN (March 31, 2004)--Rockers Trainwreck
recently recorded and mixed the debut LP God Bless
Rock -n- Roll at The Pop Machine with producers Eric
Klee Johnson and Marc Johnson, and assistants Faith
Marie, Andy Carrell, and Joey Fingers. Used on this and
other recent sessions was some of the esoteric and
vintage gear the studio recently acquired, including an
Otari MX-80 2" 24-track analog tape machine, two
Telefunken U74 mic pre/compressor units, a 1988
Focusrite ISA115, Neumann KM84, EV 664, Unidyne III 545,
and a vintage Moog Mini-Moog analog synthesizer. Perhaps
the coolest piece of new gear, as reported by The Pop
Machine, may be a Wurlitzer Electric piano formerly
owned by Stax Records in Memphis.
On the Trainwreck sessions, and the making of its
11-song debut LP, Eric Klee Johnson commented, "The
record sounds like The Rolling Stones meets the Small
Faces with a Rob Thomas-like voice fronting the band. We
cut the tracks live with hardly any overdubs, no drum
editing, or auto-tuning; we used Pro Tools like a tape
machine and a bunch of vintage instruments, mics,
mic-pres, and compressors to give it a 'Muscle Shoals
sound.' The record is absolutely stellar."
Artist Jane Jensen has also been at The Pop Machine
recently, working on tracks for a forthcoming LP
including the song "LA Junkyard" with the Johnson twins
and NYC producer Craig Kafton producing and engineering.
And, Tiffany continues to work on her new album at The
Pop Machine with Eric Klee Johnson, Joey Fingers, and
Marc Johnson producing. Two songs "On" and "Take
Everything" are complete and she is hitting the road
this spring to give audiences a taste of her new music.
Birmingham, AL rock band Droned also stopped in The Pop
Machine, to track and mix an EP with Eric Klee Johnson
and Mick Loud producing.
Producer Joe Cheesman has been working hard at The Pop
Machine on the debut for Easy Astronaut and the upcoming
release from Las Vegas singer/songwriter Sandy Kastel as
well as his own project Blip. And, Marc Johnson and
William Hammel have begun production at The Pop Machine
on the debut by hard rock band Dystallis.
The Pop Machine
Session and Studio News
Indianapolis, IN (July 1, 2004)
At The Pop Machine (Indianapolis) was '80s pop icon
Tiffany, who worked on her new album with Eric Klee
Johnson, Joey Fingers and producer Marc Johnson.
The Pop Machine
Speakeasy with Eric Johnson
Who are you currently working with in the studio?
Most projects I co-produce with my twin brother Marc.
Currently we are working with Otis Gibbs, Jane Jenson,
Sidereal, Trainwreck, Chevy Downs, John Waite,
Wonderdrug and Archie’s Address. We usually keep about
four to eight projects going simultaneously.
Eric Johnson is a record producer, artist and studio
Who are some of the high profile artists who have
stopped in to the studio to record?
Jurassic 5, John Waite, Tiffany, Kyle Cook of Matchbox
20 are the more nationally-known artists; however, we
are more proud of the local artists who have made
amazing records with us like Transmatic, Extra Blue
Kind, The Fuglees, Resurface, DENT, Sindacato, Niswander,
RockSoup, The Common, PD&T and Diamonds & Rust.
What brings them to the Pop Machine?
It’s a state of the art studio that has a wonderful
vibe. When artists book the room, they basically live
there with no distractions and can focus on their art.
As a producer and engineer, who would you fantasize
about working with?
Locally, Loretta, Devil to Pay, Johnny Angel and Seth
Horan. Nationally, I would love to make a record with
Guided by Voices.
Is there a particular record you’re looking forward to
The Resurface album we produced is done and the labels
are already going crazy. It’s like an STP meets Staind.
It will blow up huge on modern rock radio.
Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
I love the rock gods (The Who, David Bowie, The Beatles,
Jimi Hendrix). I am currently listening to Travis,
Paloalto, Year of the Rabbit, Powderfinger, Jet and
Brand New as well as Blink 182, which is a guilty
pleasure of mine.
Bob Bullock, The Fuglees, Unreel, Chevy Downs,
Resurface, Sidereal, Late Show, The Pieces, Joe Cheesman,
Transmatic, Trainwreck, Devil to Pay, Loretta, Jane
Jenson, Zero Boys, DENT, Sindacato.
What is the most relevant trend happening in popular
Artists becoming totally anti-establishment and making
great records on their own.
How has working on the production side of the business
affected you as a musician?
Even though I can play musical instruments, I consider
myself a great listener to music. I am kind of a
professional fan. I listen to music like a 13-year-old
girl in Iowa does, I want the song to truly move me, I
want to be born again every time I hear it.
The Pop Machine The Pop Machine Update April 2005
The Pop Machine has been busy recording amazing music this winter
and the supersonic fun continues into spring. The Pop Machine
principles twin brothers Marc and Eric Klee Johnson have been
producing numerous projects for summer release including Dark House
Sweet, Jeremy Vogt, Emitter, and Wonderdrug, all sessions featuring
session ace Kenny Aronoff on drums.
"Kenny brings such a vitality to the music we make, he is truly
inspirational and super musical, he always plays what is best for
the song rather than banging out some wanker bombast, he locks in so
well with electronic loops and has such an infectious positive
vibration about him, did I mention we love Aronoff? Being in
Indiana, Mellencamp has created such high bar for musicianship,
songwriting, and performance so Marc and I as producers who live
here take full advantage of that, I believe that you can here that
in our records" says Eric Klee Johnson.
The way the brothers track projects is as a tag-team; however, one
usually acts as the project lead. Marc is the 'lead producer' for
the Emitter, Dark House Sweet, Jeremy Vogt projects while Eric's
heads up projects for Jane Jensen, Resurface, and Sidereal. Eric is
also currently mixing the debut for the Kyle Cook- (matchbox twenty)
produced Virgin Millionaires, a group featuring Zakk Baldauf from
Transmatic on vocals and guitar.
Also in session was Say being recorded by LA-based producer Wes
Styles with Justin Atkins and Marc Johnson engineering. Faith Marie
and Eric Klee Johnson mixed a live CD recorded at The Vogue Theater
in Indianapolis featuring 1960's Indy music stalwarts The Boys Next
Door, Sir Winston & The Commons, Sounds Unlimited, and The
Revengers. Joe Cheesman recorded hip-hop artist Rich C, and producer
Trent Bell tracked Christian hard rockers Six Feet of Separation.
The Pop Machine has added some cool new gear to make the recording
experience even more enjoyable including a matched pair of Coles
4038 ribbon microphones, a vintage Lexicon 200 digital reverberator,
and is gearing up for the installation of a Digidesign Pro Tools HD3
system to supplement The Pop Machine's TDM and 001 rigs.
Make sure you arrive early and catch Wonderdrug. I recently got hold
of a CD-R with four of the first new songs that the band has
recorded for its follow-up to Hi! Boasting a new thickness to their
sound, the Brothers Johnson, Marc and Eric Klee are brewing up what
could be a sorely needed ass-kicking in the local scene.
Particularly potent is the beautiful "I Know Where You're Coming
From" and the heady rush of "Mad Mad Scene."
Marc and Eric are proving themselves the hardest working rockers in
the city, what with recording Transmatic, Sindacato and the new
Wonderdrug stuff in their spanking new studio, The Pop Machine,
playing any and every gig that comes their way AND holding down day
jobs. Besides opening the Superdrag show, they'll also be at The
Patio this Saturday, Nov. 11 with The Velvet Hypnotic Propellers.