North Jersey Notes: THE KNACK MASTERING—Ringwood, NJ

Usually in this section of my column I feature a music artist who performs on the North Jersey music scene. Now, when I say music scene, I don’t only mean the music artists that we see performing week in and week out. The music scene also consists of different components like the venues, the rehearsal studios, the recording studios, the managers, the entertainment lawyers, the web designers, the photographers, the mastering studios, the merchandise companies, and the CD/DVD duplication companies. You get the picture? It’s these components that make this New Jersey/NYC music scene one of the most competitive in the country. Most of the bands reading this column right now would agree that playing in a band and on stage is only half the battle!

Now, after the recording and mixing process, when putting out your new CD, every band struggles to find the right mastering studio to finish up their project. Most recording studios partner up with mastering facilities, which pigeonholes them to just one company when the client (the band) should really just shop around for the best place to fit their budget. Well, as luck would have it, I recently found an old high school friend on Facebook. He is former 383 Stroker guitarist, Dave “Doc” Rosen! Dave and his wife, Kim, just opened their own mastering studio called Knack Mastering in Ringwood, NJ.

The Rosens didn’t just wake up one morning, and say, “I want to open a mastering studio!” Kim Rosen actually was a staff mastering engineer and all-around facilitator at the world-renowned indie mastering facility, West West Side Music in New Windsor, NY, for nearly a decade. West West Side is where Kim learned to master alongside one of the most well-known and respected mastering engineers on the indie scene today, Alan Douches. Within the years that Kim spent there she’s developed her own style and has even built a client base that keeps returning to her for her ability to make their recordings sound their best! Kim’s clientele boasts familiar bands like Radio 4, Franz Ferdinand, and Dashboard Confessional, just to name a few.

Kim Rosen has since branched off on her own to make a name for herself with the help of Dave to open Knack Mastering. I recently had the opportunity to drive up to Dave and Kim’s house in Ringwood, NJ, to take a look at the studio and give some of her latest projects a listen. I have to tell you that the second that I sat down with the speakers blaring, I was impressed! Everything that Dave and Kim let me listen to was so crisp. You can hear every instrument so cleanly, and the levels were as perfect as perfect can sound. Trust me when I tell you that I’ve heard some pretty bad mastering jobs in my day on this scene.

At Knack Mastering, their goal is to work with the client throughout the entire mastering process and to ensure that they exceed the client’s expectations on the final mastered project. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local garage band who recorded in your garage or bedroom, a budding filmmaker, or budding indie label. I even heard a “live” recording that Kim was working on and it sounded absolutely amazing! Some of you might be saying, “He’s just saying that because he’s friends with them!” Trust me, if I knew about Dave and Kim and their Knack Mastering, I would’ve sent all of my stuff there to be mastered! Besides, if you want to test them out, they’re offering all new clientele free test masters to prove their quality of work! Many of you have emailed me asking me if I knew of any good places to get your CD mastered. Here’s my answer—Knack Mastering! For rates check them out online for at


Rob Carlyle of The Compulsions seems to be very generous this holiday season as he is every holiday season. Turns out The Compulsions are giving away free “Cocaine” for Christmas! That’s free downloads of their beefed up version of the Eric Clapton classic “Cocaine.” You can log onto to download The Compulsions doing “Cocaine” for free right now! Rob also told me that there will be some 2010 dates for The Compulsions announced really soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that on

Singer/songwriter Christine Martucci and her band make their return to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, to open for legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter on Friday night, Jan. 8. This show will not only mark Christine Martucci’s first show of the new year, but also her first show at The Stone Pony since her “Ladies Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” show there back in October. Christine Martucci is currently working on her upcoming CD, Government Disease, targeting a spring 2010 release. For more info on Christine Martucci, log onto

And finally, has anyone heard the new stuff from East Rutherford’s Downshallow? Wow! The band has posted what they’re calling The New Fashion trailer, which is a three-minute preview of every song on their upcoming CD, The New Fashion. The clips that I did get to hear sounded like the band has matured as songwriters and are ready to take North Jersey by storm. The 12-song full-length was supposed to be released this month, but has been pushed back for a January 2010 release. Log onto for all of your info and concert dates for Downshallow.

That’s all for now! And remember, if your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your demos and press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424 . No cover bands, please! Also, if you haven’t checked out my podcast yet, do it now at

Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

NJN Concert Calendar:

12/30—Steve Brown and the Fallout—Blend, Ridgewood, NJ

1/6/10—The Compulsions—Don Hill’s, NYC

1/8/10—Christine Marctucci—Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

1/8/10—Marc Rizzo Band—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/9/10—Bled For Glory/God Forbid/Will Killmore/Dispute to Flames—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/10/10—Beatrix Kiddo—Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

1/16/10—Rahway—The Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ

1/16/10—Long Gone Day—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/17/10—Audacity—The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

1/17/10—Dear Gravity—Velocity 17, Maywood, NJ

1/22/10—Deathrash (CD Release Party)—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/22/10—Rahway—The Local 269, NYC

1/22/10—Kosmic Daydream—The Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ

1/23/10—TRIMM—Crossroads, Garwood, NJ

1/23/10—Deathrash (CD Release Party)—Duff’s, Brooklyn, NY

1/25/10—Diablo Royale/Charetta—Gramercy Theater, NYC