Gear Nerd: Anthony Corallo (Sick of Talk, Deathcycle, Sheer Terror, Sonic Poison, S.S.S.P.)

I’ve been in a lot of bands with a lot of super talented people. Out of everyone I’ve played with,one person who I can say has been a standout is Anthony Corallo. He has a very natural ear for music. His ability to arrange songs is uncanny, and he can help you nail down that last fucking note that’s been eluding you while writing a song. He’s been a go to for me creatively for over 10 years now.

I first met him when he was like 6 or 14 or something and have watched him go from the funny little kid with no hi-hat clamp at the Freespace on Long Island, to the funny kid (he’s 30) who’s played venues all over the world. He’s an amazing drummer and excellent songwriter and has a real talent with recording bands as well. I picked his brain for this installment of the Gear Nerd series. You’ll love this one…

Please introduce yourself and tell us what bands you've been in and anything you're working on now.

My name’s Anthony Corallo, I play drums and sometimes record bands. The first band I played drums for when I was 14 or so was called Provoke the Human, and from there — Sick of Talk, Disnihil, Sleepwall, S.S.S.P., Faithless, Polygon, The Agent, Faithless, Concrete Cross, Sonic Poison, Deathcycle, Sheer Terror, and I think that's about it, besides filling in for someone. 

Currently, I'm really only doing Sheer Terror. We just released a 7" in August on Reaper Records (USA) and Rebellion Records (Europe), so it's been busy. We go to Europe for 16 shows in November, and have some other shows lined up and being planned. SSSP has a show in Houston with Kill Your Idols this week. Andrew Orlando (Black Army Jacket , Reservoir Records) , you (Mike D), and myself are contributing a cover song to a Man Is the Bastard tribute compilation, that project is called Staring Contest. 

Tell me a bit about your roadie work.

It's been pretty hectic, I also sometimes work for Glassjaw, who for the past 3 years have done a 4-5 week tour once a year. As far as recording goes and stuff I've worked on that’s starting to be released, the Somerset Thrower Godspeed LP that just came out, Sheer Terror Pall in the Family, the last Green Dragon tape, and I'm currently in the process of recording the Field Day demo. I also got to engineer the vocals for the Skull Pit LP which is being released soon. Mitts (Ex-Madball) asked me to record it and he produced it... that was fun and I'm glad I got to do it, Mem from Exhumer sings, and Tatsu from Church of Misery wrote the music, I believe.

That’s all great shit, but how is it that you didn’t fucking mention Stiff Little Tone? Dish it, man!

I wrote like 7 or so songs when I was like 18.. played all the instruments myself, then wrote the words on spot, I think. My friend from school, Rob Flato, recorded them all in his parents basement. He had ProTools, an interface, some mics, and knew what he was doing. Musically, I still think it's not bad, lyrically it's all just humor.. songs like "Milk Me Like a Cow," "Pool Jets," "Blow Me, Blow Outs" [laughs]. The "album" is saved in my iTunes as "Auto-Fellatio. [Laughs] Maybe one day it'll be a Record Store Day exclusive.

Photo: Mike De Lorenzo

What's your live setup like? Do you tend to use the same set up for local/regional and away shows?

If I can bring my kit with me, I bring my Tama Rockstar. I bought it off Jimmy Doom (Disnihil) [a King among men from Queens- Mike De Lorenzo] for $200 after I joined Disnihil. I love it. 13" rack tom, 16" floor tom, 22" kick drum. For cymbals I currently use a 20" a custom ride, 19" a custom crash, 18" K fast crash, and 14" a custom Mastersound hi-hats. I have a few different snares, but live I usually use either my Mapex Black Panther hand-hammered brass, or a Q drum co Gentlemen's Aluminum. I also have a Pearl brass free floater sometimes use live.. there's a rotation, I guess.

In Sheer Terror I have to use a double bass, so I have a Pearl Demonator double kick, and I have a single kick version of it as well for other situations.. feels pretty good, not a million dollars, fuck it. I have a Sakae kick pedal but I don’t use it much..I brought it to Europe when I was filling in for Backtrack, that's about it. When Sheer Terror plays out of state or abroad, we bring what we can and get the rest backlined, but regardless of where the show is I do set up pretty much exactly the same way as I would at home.

Photo: Anthony Corallo

You’re always involved in so many musical projects at one time. Is there any difference in your gear choices depending on the band you’re playing with at any particular time ?

Not really. Like I said before, I might rotate with snares, just because. But I think anything I'd really be doing would sound fine with my usual set up.

How about when you're recording? Does that gear setup differ from your normal live setup?

I also have a Sakae "Almighty Birch" kit, which sounds awesome. The company used to make old the old Yamaha shells, so that was intriguing enough for me to want to try it out. I used it on the Sheer Terror 7" we just did, which I also recorded, and Somerset Thrower also wound up using that kit as well, they used different sized shells, though. I rarely ever "trigger" anything, so the Pearl Free Floater is just my go to, it translates well recorded. I flip flop, though, either kit gets the job done.

Let’s talk about Chronic Death Studios. What got you interested in getting into recording ?

I've always loved music for as long as I can remember, so it was always an interest of mine. When we were like 15, Sick of Talk recorded our demo (and eventually both 7"s) with Phil Douglas (Iron Chic) in the basement of the house he was living in, that was one of my first actual recording experiences with someone who knew what they were doing and what we were going for. So, this guy having the gear and just doing it in a basement, I thought maybe this is something I can do one day and I can save all the bands I'm in a few bucks. 

Disnihil recorded both records with Will Killingsworth in his house. At the time, in his garage, he had a really cool set up and a lot of gear. Once Sleepwall recorded Is That Factual? with Jason (Lowenstein) from Sebadoh, and he was completely mobile, that was when I realized I don't need a basement or space in order to do this, just a car I guess.. and I had that. 

Before even recording that Sleepwall 7", I quit my full-time job at Merch Direct in 2007, [Justin] Beck from Glassjaw asked me if I had a job lined up. I said "naah." I'm pretty sure he shook his head and called me an idiot, but he gave me a job with Glassjaw while they were recording their EPs at the time. I was assisting their engineer at the time Jon Florencio (Inside), and doing whatever else needed to be done. Those few months were extremely influential... watching them record, and practice for the Saints and Sinners Fest was kind of eye opening, it was different than anything I had ever done. 

Had you been a big Glassjaw fan before that?

I never really liked them until that moment, which is probably why I got the job, besides Beck maybe got a kick out of the dumb shit I'd say and we liked some of the same bands. They were extremely tight, and professional, as was Jon Florencio with his recording. So, everything to follow that, I had a different approach to writing and recording...Disnihil Future Cancers 7", Sleepwall was just beginning.. I told Jon and Beck I had an idea for a name — Squeezing Rocks. They made fun of me for a while for that that one. I'm not good at naming shit, leave me alone [laughs]. I always kept in touch with Jon, we had a lot in common, so he always steered me in the right direction. He let me intern for him for a while, and lent me an old interface so I can begin recording in 2009 or so while I saved up for my own set up. I recorded the Concrete Cross demo with that, an S.S.S.P. split 7", and The Communion right before Lee passed away. I'm glad I had his interface or else I may not have had a day of hanging out and recording with Lee weeks before he passed. 

Photo: Mike De Lorenzo

Jon had gotten me a discount on a Digi003, gave me an M-audio octane when I helped him move, so it was kind of on once that happened, which was all around the same time I joined Sheer Terror in 2010. He's been a mentor and a brother to me since 2007 and he still always helps me out and gives advice when I need some. Chronic Death Records was the label me and my friend Steve Gendelman did.. we released two records, the Sick of Talk Raked Over the Coals 7" and the vinyl version of the Disnihil s/t full-length that Chainsaw Safety released on CD. I just figured I'd continue using the name and maybe one day release another record.

Can you tell us about your studio gear?

I use Pro-Tools..Digi003 (black lion mod) , with an M-audio Octane connected to it with an Adat lightpipe for additonal inputs. Other mic pre's I use are the API 3124+ (4 channel), and 2 Chandler Limited Germaniums. I have small speakers I travel with, but when I mix at home I use Mackie HR824's.

Photo: Anthony Corallo

Has anyone in particular influenced your gear choices/setups ?

Like I mentioned before, Jon Florencio played a large role in helping me configure a rig suitable for what I was looking to do. As far as being a part of the playing during a recording and gaining some things through that, when Sheer Terror recorded Standing Up for Falling Down LP, we worked with Dean Baltulonis. He had me use his snare, which was a 14" Pearl brass free floater. I bought one after we finished.. that snare sounds really good recorded, I always use it, and always have bands I record use it if they're cool with it. He also recorded our Spite 7" in 2011, which was still early on for me as far as me recording goes. So, watching him work and tune drums definitely was an inspiring thing, ya know ? He had us go with Dave Gardner for mastering on both records he did for us and we also used him on the Sham 69 tribute 7" we did, and our most recent 7", Pall in the Family. He does a great job, and used to work for Amphetamine Reptile, one of my favorite labels, and has worked with bands I love like The Cows, Rocket from the Crypt, D4, etc.

So, it was cool to have a recognizable name from the credits of records I have, working on stuff I'm a part of, and to also have a mastering person in mind to offer to bands who record with me. When we recorded the Concrete Cross LP, which was around late 2012, [vocalist] Artie [Philie] had his friend Jesse Cannon master our record. He did a great job, and since then has mastered a ton of stuff for me. Neither of them have influenced gear choices, but they've been real helpful. Prior to dealing with them through my own bands, I didn't really have go to people for mastering. They're still the only people I mention to bands, but sometimes they have their own person in mind anyways.

Is there any piece or pieces of gear that would be an ultimate score for you... like dream shit?

I always want a ton of shit.. dream shit? I'm sure I'm in need of an entire recording set up upgrade, besides that a Neve Mic Pre would be cool to have, Royer ribbon microphone, plenty of other stuff. Q Drums makes a full copper kit, those are pretty cool, and they also make mahogany kit based off the old Slingerlands that would be cool to have..a Yamaha recording custom kit, but that that stuff is super expensive. So I'll pass on dream shit for now. I need a hi hat stand, DW5000 I'm thinking.. another crash, the K fast crash is kinda weird. Ludwig made a snare, I think its just called Brass Shell... not a black beauty or anything, I'd like to find one of those. Yamaha Flying Dragon kick pedal, Raeph from Black Anvil let me mess with his and it's been on the list since.

Sheer Terror when Mike De Lorenzo (far left) was in the band with Anthony (far right) (Photo: Jammi York)

Tagged: concrete cross, disnihil, gear nerd, sheer terror, sick of talk, sssp