Blog Archives

Banjo: An Illustrated History

Author of Banjo: An Illustrated History, Bob Carlin, was interviewed by Fox News 8! In it he spoke about his book, what you can expect from it, and it’s evolution from the many other Banjo related books that he has written. Click on the link below to watch the video to learn more about Bob Carlin and his book, Banjo: An Illustrated History.

>>Click Here<<

00142046The banjo is emblematic of American country music, and it is at the core of other important musical movements, including jazz and ragtime. The instrument has been adopted by many cultures and has been ingrained into many musical traditions, from Mento music in the Caribbean and dance music in Ireland. Virtuosos such as Béla Fleck have played Bach, African music, and Christmas tunes on the five-string banjo, and the instrument has had a resurgence in pop music with such acts a Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers.

In Banjo: An Illustrated History (June 2016, Backbeat Books, $35), author, broadcaster, and acclaimed banjoist Bob Carlin offers the first comprehensive, illustrated history of the banjo in its many forms. He traces the story of the instrument from its roots in West Africa to its birth in the Americas, through its coming of age in the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

Banjo: An Illustrated History profiles the most important players and spotlights key luthiers and manufacturers and features 100 “milestone instruments” with in-depth coverage, including model details and beautiful photos. It offers historical context surrounding the banjo through the ages, from its place in Victorian parlors and speakeasies through its role in the folk boom of the 1950s and 1960s to its place in the hands of songwriter John Hartford and comedian Steve Martin.

Folk, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rock – the banjo has played an important part in all of these genres. Lavishly illustrated, and thoughtfully written Banjo: An Illustrated History is a must-have for lovers of fretted instruments, aficionados of roots music, and music history buffs.

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Dave Thompson speaks with Mr. Media

Author of The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Campy Cult Classic, Dave Thompson, spoke with Bob Andelman host of Mr. Media. They spoke in great length about The Rocky Horror Picture show, it’s impact on pop culture, and its many many fans. Click on the link below to hear the full interview!

>>Listen<<

00139671When assessing the cultural impact of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, author Dave Thompson does not pull his punches: “Forty-plus years on from its debut in a tiny London theater; four decades, too, from its transition to the silver screen, Rocky Horror stands among the 1970s’ most lasting, and successful, contributions to modern culture.”

Thompson’s latest contribution to the Applause Books FAQ series, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ (April 2016, Applause Books, $19.99) is the in-depth story of not only the legendary stage show and movie, but of a unique period in theatrical history, in both the movie’s UK homeland and overseas.

Inside these pages, we see Rocky Horror as sexual cabaret and political subversion, as modern mega-hit and Broadway disaster. At the movie house, we learn when to shout, what to throw, and why people even do those things. Here is the full story of the play’s original creation; its forebears and its influences are laid out in loving detail, together with both the triumphs and tragedies that attended it across the next 40 years.

Packed with anecdotes, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ is the story of dozens of worldwide performances and the myriad stars who have been featured in them. From Tim Curry to Anthony Head, from Reg Livermore to Gary Glitter, from Daniel Abineri to Tom Hewitt, the lives and careers of the greatest ever Frank N. Furters stalk the pages, joined by the Riff-Raffs, Magentas, Columbias, and all the rest.

The book also includes the largest and most in-depth Rocky Horror discography ever published, plus a unique timeline – The Ultimate Rocky Horror Chronology – detailing the who, what, where, and when of absolute pleasure.

Andy Babiuk talks Beatles Gear with AudioFanzine!

Author of Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition, Andy Babiuk, was interviewed by AudioFanzine, an online magazine with content and services in the fields of audio and musical instruments.   Here’s a sample of the interview.  Click on the link at the bottom to read the entire interview at AudioFanzine!


00333744Babiuk’s book, published by Backbeat Books, is a coffee-table style tome full of information, anecdotes, and tons of photos. This is the second edition of the book, significantly expanded from the original, which was published in Britain in 2001.

“I worked directly with Olivia Harrison and with Ringo,” says Babiuk about his research for the new edition, “and McCartney’s been really cool, and Yoko was great.” His other sources included the late George Martin, Geoff Emerick the late Neil Aspinall, and many others.

Babiuk owns a boutique guitar store called Fab Gear in Rochester, NY, and has played for a long time in The Chesterfield Kings, which he says was largely inspired by bands of the British Invasion era.

I really liked the way that the book weaves in the band’s history along with the gear info.

Thank you. I wanted it to be a story about the Beatles from their perspective as musicians. You’ve got to tell the story of the band, you can’t just make it a list of things. And also, I was very happy that we were able to put the album covers in. Because it’s another way to give perspective of what was happening and what was being used during different phases of the band. We all remember those records and the covers, and that helps tell the timeline of where you’re at.

Some of the band’s early instrument choices were influenced by how difficult it was to get American brands in England, right? For instance, Paul’s choice of the Hofner bass.

Well the Hofner was more because they were in Germany. You’ve got to remember the mentality and the age of these guys when this was happening. McCartney was a teenager. He was either going to be out of high school and into some sort of art college or something, or he was going to go with his buddies and drink beer and pick up chicks and play music all day in Germany for months at a time. “Screw it, man, let’s go have a party!” That was the mentality. But along with that, they didn’t have any money. They were all living in a room together with a candle. It was wacky. Hofner was a German company. They were in the center of Hamburg. There were a lot of music stores there. So the Beatles were actually able to access and look at instruments that were available. The “violin” bass was unique because it was symmetrical. And McCartney said this himself. Most basses, like Fenders and others, are asymmetrical.

Oh right, because he needed to flip it over to play it lefty.

He saw it and said, “Gee, you could flip this over it would be the same.” I’ll guarantee you this, and everybody from that time period told me this, you could never, ever walk into a music store and see a left-handed instrument. It was just never going to happen. So McCartney was thinking, “Hmm, I’m in Germany, this is a German company. Can they build one and put the electronics on the other side?” The guy said “sure.” He was just trying to make a sale. He called up Hofner, “Hey, we’ve got a sale for a lefty, can you build one” “Sure.” And there you go, it’s as simple as that. And plus, it wasn’t expensive. It was a German-made bass, and they weren’t really sought after. Nobody played them.

And yet Paul ended up sticking with the Hofner for the most part, right?

Yeah, he did. And I think a lot of it has to do with that it was lightweight. He told me that. It doesn’t weigh anything. You can have it on your shoulder for two or three hours and it’s not pulling on you, it doesn’t weigh anything. And the other thing, too, if you’re a guitarist you’ll relate to this, when you have an instrument that you’re really familiar with, you tend to like to play it, because you know everything about it. You don’t have to look at the neck and you know exactly where the fifth fret is. You can just feel it.


Read the whole article HERE.

John Kenneth Muir discusses The X-Files

Author of The X-Files FAQ, John Kenneth Muir, has reviewed the first episode of the television show The X-Files! Read below to see what he had to say.


00124644After far too long an absence from television, Chris Carter’s The X-Files (1993-2002) returned to television on Monday night with an episode titled, cannily, “My Struggle.”

That title — not coincidentally, I presume — is also the translated-to-English title of Adolf Hitler’s 1925 literary autobiography, Mein Kampf.

That historical fact may prove the key to understanding better this new starting point for the series.

When we consider Hitler and his particular “struggle,” we think immediately of genocide, totalitarianism, and fascism.

We think of a man who destroyed both individual freedom, and the lives of millions of innocent people. That autobiography, written in a jail cell, laid out one man’s mad dream essentially, for Germany and the world.

Unfortunately, Hitler made much of that mad dream a reality before his death.

And if viewers and critics believe that this new X-Files series doesn’t address those very same issues, they aren’t paying close enough attention.

The title should cue them in.

Specifically, our old friends Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) — now estranged — are informed of a terrifying conspiracy by an Internet celebrity and fear peddler: Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale). 

Think Alex Jones meets Glenn Beck, only better dressed.

O’Malley’s story of an “evil” conspiracy in “My Struggle” involves the invasion of America, illicit scientific experiments on American citizens, and the vast expansion of a totalitarian state. 

In other words, the tale concerns a 21st century threat to our freedom not entirely unlike the threat to Germany (and later the Allies) in the 1930s and 1940s.

I have often written of Carter’s powerful sense of anticipatory anxiety in relation to The X-Files, Millennium (1993-1996) and Harsh Realm (1999-2000). In the nineties, he feared that the Clinton Era of Peace and Prosperity couldn’t last. We were so distracted by the Economic Boom created by the Internet that many of us weren’t paying attention to the larger world.

And Carter was right, of course. The Age of Peace and Prosperity — the Roaring Nineties,if you will — came to a crashing end on 9/11/2001.

Read his review in its entirety here.


John Kenneth Muir was also interviewed by Geek Chic Elite. The interview is available below!

 

With twenty five reference books to his credit, author John Kenneth Muir’s latest release is called THE X-FILES FAQ, which explores the 1990’s series that aired on Fox for nine seasons. Recently, we had a chance to talk to John about the new book, the legacy of creator Chris Carter and what his thoughts were on the six part X-Files ‘event’ series.

Were you always interested in writing and how did you move into the world of literary critic?

Well, I began my career as a literary critic, I think it was when I was five years old. My parents had the knowledge or foresight to sit me down in front of a British science fiction series called Space: 1999 and the episode I watched was called ‘Dragon’s Domain’ and it was about the people in the year 1999 encountering this horrible tentacle monster that would suck people into its mouth and spit out steaming bones. I was five years old and this just sort of struck me, the idea of these people of the future, because then of course 1999 was the distance future as this was 1975, I thought the people of the distant future and all of their technology but they’re encountering a monster. It was like science fiction meets horror, high tech meets gothic, it just obsessed me and it started the next decade I guess, in the eighties, I read all of these things about shows that I love like The Outer Limits, Star Trek, Twilight Zone and no one had written a book about Space: 1999 and I thought one of these days I’m going to write a book about this show and the values it had as this sort of gothic show. So I went to college, I studied in film, I had a concentration of film studies and so I kind of learned the language of film through that and then I thought, but what if I could analyze Space: 1999 through film studies techniques and boom, I had my first book. By 1994 I guess I was twenty five, I had a contract for my first book about Space: 1999 using my film study background and I been doing it now for twenty years about other topics I love.

Read more here

Mark Clark interviewed on Movie Addict Headquarters

Mark Clark, author of Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed the Movies, spoke with Betty Jo Tuck on Movie Addict Headquarters. They talked about the book and the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens! Click on the link below to hear more and let us know what you think in the comments below!

>>LISTEN<<

00122914In his foreword to Star Wars FAQ Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed the Movies, Alan Dean Foster, critically acclaimed author of more than a hundred science fiction and fantasy novels, sums up what the Star Wars FAQ is all about: “Reading a book like Star Wars FAQ is a bit like strolling the streets of London without a guidebook. You know where Big Ben is, but stumbling across the first public drinking fountain in Britain is apt, in its own more modest way, to be even more enchanting.”
 
Star Wars FAQ offers an original analysis of the series’ enduring appeal and cultural impact. In the process, author Mark Clark tells a story as thrilling and action-packed as the movies themselves, with bold characters facing apparently insurmountable odds.
 
Featuring 38 chapters, such as Echo Base: Homage in Star Wars, New Hope: Assessing Episode IV, and Far, Far Away: Production of Star Wars, Star Wars FAQ introduces the reader to early screenplays drafts that were never filmed and to short biographies of many people who made key contributions to the movies’ success. Star Wars FAQ details every aspect of the original Star Wars Trilogy (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi). Along the way it unearths under-reported stories and illuminating minutiae often skimmed over or completely ignored in other histories of the legendary film series.

Star Wars is a story full of frantic chases, narrow escapes, daring victories, and tragic setbacks, culminating in an unlikely triumph that changed the course of the galaxy. Illustrated with vintage promotional stills, photographs of memorabilia, and other classic artwork Star Wars FAQ explores how Star Wars changed the movies.

Stephen Jones speaks with Exquisite Terror!

Stephen Jones, author of The Art of Horror, spoke with Rich Wilson from Exquisite Terror about his inspiration for the book. Read the interview below and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


00141141This new collection is beautifully put together by noted horror author Stephen Jones, and presents page after page of full colour art, from the earliest carvings of the Egyptians to the digital work of modern masters. As you’d expect, film and fiction are heavily represented, and the book is neatly split into sections — creatures, ghosts, psychopaths, etc. — with accompanying essays providing good reading material alongside countless posters and book covers. Often labelled as trash by the mainstream, The Art of Horror proves otherwise; this showcases superb work by immensely talented people, and richly brings your fears to life. As Jones states in his introduction: “Art will always be there to hold a mirror up to the universe and show us what is really out there…” This is a serious celebration of the genre, and a must-have for those who love things that go bump in the night.

We spoke to editor Jones about his inspiration for the book.

Where did the initial concept and idea for The Art of Horror come from?

Actually, this was one of those rare instances of a publisher contacting me. Elephant Book Company Ltd, a British packager of many classy coffee-table art books, approached me via a mutual colleague and asked if I was interested in writing a book about horror art. I initially turned them down as I was busy on a number of other projects and, having been involved with several art books before, I knew how much work it would involve.

However, they kept coming back, and I started to think that I didn’t want anybody else doing this book! So, in the end, we came up with a compromise where I would conceive and edit the book and we would get in other experts in their particular subjects to write the individual chapters. And that worked brilliantly — up to a point. In the end, it involved a lot more work for me than I had originally envisioned, but I had an incredible team backing me up and the more I got into it, the more fun I had doing it.

How important do you think these images have been in promoting horror literature and cinema in the past?

Oh, incredibly important. But the problem is that they are all over the place — in different countries, from different eras. That was the attraction to me, to bring together this rich vein of illustrative material relating to the horror genre into a single volume, so that people could see how it all fitted together, where the connections were being made.

Of course, even in a book of this size we barely scratched the surface. There is so much more that we could have included, but you have to work within certain commercial restrictions, and it was important to me that the cover price allowed it to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I’m very proud that we achieved that without sacrificing any quality whatsoever.

You have a wide and varied collection of artists featured, from legends such as Giger to comic book masters such as Charlie Adlard. Who chose the work to be featured, and how easy was it to obtain publishing rights?

This is where my team came in. Obviously, as I’ve been involved with the horror genre for nearly forty years, I was aware of the work of many of the artists we included, plus many of them were friends and acquaintances who I had dealt with before. But I also had an amazing project manager in Adam Newell (who I had previously worked with at Titan Books) and designer in Paul Palmer-Edwards, who both also suggested artists and various works to be included.

In the end, the final decision was always mine as it was my name on the book, but they brought to my attention artwork and images that I was perhaps not familiar with or had overlooked. On top of that, we had an experienced picture researcher who dealt with all the clearances. I simply could not have done all that work on my own, and without those people backing me up I would probably not have done the book at all. In the end, it really was a team effort.

Were there any artists you wanted to feature that didn’t make the book, for whatever reason?

Yes. There were some that turned us down — mostly because they wanted ridiculous amounts of money. When we found something that I liked, we usually approached the artist or their representative. In most cases they agreed to be included because they wanted to be in the book. As I say, a few turned us down and, in those cases, we just moved on and found a replacement piece of art to fit the specific theme.


Read the whole interview over at Exquisite Terror!

Elliott Landy interviewed by Night Flight

Elliott Landy, author of The Band Photographs: 1968-1969, was interviewed by Night Flight! Elliot talks about the Kickstarter campaign that launched the project, and how he was able to create such an intimate portrait of The Band.


 

00146104The Band’s organic debut Music from Big Pink came out in 1968 during a year that included the psychedelic Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles and heavy acid blues of Cream’s Wheels of Fire. Here was a group that was consciously avoiding the LSD-tinged sound and visuals that nearly every other major rock band of the day was cashing in on.

The Band not only looked they were from the 1800’s, they even wrote songs about it (their second album included “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”). In an era when the Yippies were suggesting that teens and twenties should (metaphorically) “Kill Their Parents” — and everyone between the ages of 15 and 25 were battling the ‘Generation Gap’ — the inside of the Big Pink album proudly displayed a photo of The Band with all of their next of kin, primarily their mothers and fathers!

Elliott Landy’s new book of vintage photographs of The Band doesn’t look like images of a classic rock band. The (mostly) black and white images appear to be five guys from a previous century (think of Mathew Brady’s iconic photos of Abe Lincoln) who’ve been given instruments and equipment from the future. The hardcover book is 12×12, album cover size, allowing for the intimate photos to be as large as possible (and the printing quality is top notch).

There’s a 160 pages worth of photos — only about 30 of which which are previously published, behind-the-scenes shots inside the studio, backstage at gigs, at home in the kitchen, plus expected guests: manager Albert Grossman, promoter Bill Graham, and, of course, Bob Dylan. There’s out-takes and alternate album cover photos, even The Band having lunch at a local Saugerties diner.

The book was initially financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised the money needed to print and review about 8000 photographs from the original negatives.

As Landy pointed out to me when we spoke on the phone this week– and he was remarkably down to earth for a man who has walked among giants — The Band in 2015 just aren’t commercially viable for a publisher to invest all that start up money.

That said, once the heavy lifting was done, Backbeat Books stepped up the plate for the copies being offered at retail and online stores like Amazon, while deluxe editions are available at Landy’s website. The casual fan can get a copy of The Band Photographs 1968-1969 at any good bookstore for the list price of $45 (which is a deal), but for those who want something a bit more fancy there are other options:

LANDY: “The copies that I offer on my website are signed and they also have something that is called a tri-fold sheet in it, which is the index, the thumbnails and the captions of all the images are on the fold-out sheet, so that when you’re sitting and you’re looking at these pictures, because there are no captions in the book, I put all the captions in the back of the book, but if you wanna sit down in an armchair, you can fold out this tri-fold sheet and read about each picture, rather than having to go back and forth, to the index in the back of the book, which is actually a very important part of the experience to do that.”

Then we made 325 deluxe copy editions, again the same essential book, but in that is an original print of The Band with the dog named Hammond, who was Bob Dylan’s dog, and it’s the same setup as the Music from Big Pink photographs but the dog got in the picture. I made an 8×10 fine art pigmenting print that will last two hundred years without fading, and I signed each one, it’s printed in my studio. I signed and numbered each one so that’s included, along with really nice slipcase and also the tri-fold sheet. That’s now $500. We have a hundred of those left, by the way. I made 325 and I’m down to probably less than a hundred now.”

Click here to read the full interview!

 

Michael Beinhorn on Chandler Limited Part 2

Michael Beinhorn, has been a record producer for 30 years and he is the author of Unlocking Creativity: A Producer’s Guide to Making Music and Art, in which he reveals how to deal with the interpersonal issues record producers face when they work with artists one on one or in small groups.  He also is the subject of a three-part interview at chandlerlimited.com. You can read to Part 1 herePart 2 is below.  Enjoy!


00122314

This is part two of our ‘Featured Artist’ conversation with the celebrated music producer Michael Beinhorn, covering production concepts. Part III of our Michael Beinhorn series will break down the Courtney Love Wedding Day EP sessions.

If you’re interested in Michael Beinhorn beyond this article series, you can visit his website, or dive into his recently released book- ‘Unlocking Creativity: A Producer’s Guide to Making Music and Art.’

CL: It seems like you show up to a production, happily waiting to be surprised by what will develop, rather than force-feeding a ‘Producer’s perspective’ onto the project, i.e. there’s not a specific cookie-cutter template when working with you. However, you do have a production methodology, correct?

MB: Yes, there is always a methodology. First and foremost, I like to insinuate myself in a recording project, not only as someone with a lot of experience, but as a collaborator. I feel more at ease with this than the timeworn stereotype of producer-as-supreme-deity on a recording session. On one hand, I see the recording process as a series of creative tasks (as I’ve laid out here- “Reframing the Recording Paradigm“) that, when performed in an appropriate sequence, will yield the very best iteration of an artist’s work. At the same time, I visualize what the project feels (or “looks”) like conceptually. That may sound kind of abstract, but I always get an image in my mind’s eye of a project. I also like to treat the recording process as creative experience and the result of everyone working on the project, collaborating with one another to make something special and unique. These facets are mainly determined by the individuals involved and the music they are making. The varying degrees of those parameters, combined with a different cast of characters on every recording insures that each will be different from one another.

CL: Are you profiling the artist on multiple levels from the get go in order establish their custom production program tailored for them?

MB: From one perspective, you can say that. From another perspective, I’m learning about them so I can help them maximize their abilities in the best interests of the recording project.

CL: Would you say your process, though abstract, is hands-on when it comes to contributing artistically to the production?

MB: Yes, very hands-on. It’s more fun that way.

CL: When contributing to the production on an artistic level there’s a balance you have to find where you’re enhancing and not overshadowing the artist correct?

MB: Yes, that requires sensitivity and paying attention to the immediate landscape. If you’re sensitive to your own work dynamic and simultaneously, what the mission of the project you’re producing is, you can tell right away when you’ve crossed the line and are letting your ego run rampant. It’s imperative to always maintain priorities and let them be a deciding factor in every decision that gets made. A lot of really good ideas get tossed out, but the ones that stay must always be the most appropriate to what the project requires.

You can read the rest of Part to at ChandlerLimited.com!

John Kruth speaks with OnMilwaukee

John Kruth, author of the book This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On, was interviewed by digital magazine On Milwaukee.  He spoke of his book and the album that inspired it. Read below to learn more!


00121941

While the world glorifies “Sgt. Pepper,” many die-hard Beatles fans credit 1965’s “Rubber Soul” for kicking off the Beatles’ experimental phase. Musician and author John Kruth explores why in his new book.

As we edge closer to the 50th anniversary of this transitional and important Beatles record, we caught up with Kruth – who is recording and gigging hard with his band TriBeCaStan (which just released a new CD, “Goddess Polka Dottess”) – to ask him about his new book and the record that inspired it.

OnMilwaukee: You’ve written a number of musical bios but they’ve focused on artists that I suspect you came to as an adult. But you write that the Beatles were your 4th grade passion. Was it different, in terms of inspiration and passion, to write about such a formative and early influence?

John Kruth: Rahsaan Roland Kirk was an influence on me to play flute as a 13-, 14-year-old teen. My sister’s cool boyfriend had those records, along with Herbie Mann, too.

But no one blew me away like the Beatles, having seen them on Ed Sullivan and growing up with them. Dylan and the Stones, too, of course, and I also loved Motown and Stax. Writing this book was different in some ways, in that it evoked nostalgia either for what was or how I might have liked life to have been!

OnMilwaukee:“Rubber Soul” is one of my two favorite Beatles records, in part because I’m a big fan of transitional records more than the “landmarks.” What drew you to it as a writer and a musician?

Kruth: Well you nailed it. It was the transition album! I also adore “Revolver” and a lot of people asked how did I decide to write about “Rubber Soul.” First of all this December 2015, will be the album’s 50th year anniversary – a frightening thought to many of us – so it’s a “timely” topic.

But “Rubber Soul” is so rich – the first time George uses the sitar – on “Norwegian Wood,” Paul employs jazz chords on “Michelle,” John evokes Weill and Brecht on “Girl,” Ringo sings country on “What Goes On” on the Brit pressing. Paul’s “I’ve Just Seen a Face” seemed to spell out I was everything I was searching for in a love relationship, overtly as romantic as it was. It’s such a great tune. I still play the song on guitar at home or for friends at parties from time to time.

Read the rest of the interview at OnMilwaukee.com!

Alan Parsons discusses his Abbey Road lecture series at MusicRadar!

In advance of his lecture series at Abbey Road Studio, Alan Parsons author of, Alan Parsons’ Art & Science of Sound Recording, sat down with Tim Cant of MusicRadar.  Alan talked about his book (and the DVD set of the same name) and why he avoids using compression.


00333735Let’s get straight down to brass tacks. Tell us about your favourite desks!

“I think I’ve had the best luck with Neve, but having said that my biggest claim to fame, Pink Floyd’s //Dark Side of the Moon// was actually done on an EMI desk. I recently did an album with Stephen Wilson of Porcupine Tree, I did an album with him called The Raven That Refused to Sing and that was on a vintage Neve [RCA Custom 8028] Console at a studio here in California called EastWest, the same people that do the orchestral samples.”

Was there anything you particularly liked about that desk?

“Well, the opportunity is there to use external mic pre’s, that seems to be the way of the world right now, but I was perfectly happy to use the onboard pres most of the time. I’m a great believer in simplicity. It just complicates matters when you choose one mic pre for the kick drum, another one for the snare, a different one for the overheads…

“I just like to keep things simple. Having said that, my favourite mic pre which is also a limiter/compressor is the Universal Audio 6176… I’m looking at it right now. I’m also a big fan of the original dbx 160.”

Have you used the Universal Audio plugins?

“I use them all the time, I love their plugins, particularly their EMT plates! I use them on everything, any time I need reverb that would be my go-to.”

What about their range of compressors?

“I prefer to use external compressors and limiters. I tend to avoid compression and limiting, I never compress mixes, and I only ever usually limit two things: vocals and bass.”

Records are mastered very loud these days, so if you’re not compressing at the mixing stage the mastering engineer…

“I resist even letting the mastering engineer limit or compress. I mean, maybe just a dB of brickwall limiting for the peaks but otherwise no, I’d much rather leave it alone. If the consumer says it isn’t loud enough, turn it up! Do you think records sound as good as they used to?”

No.

“Absolutely. The level war is the worst thing to happen to audio in years. Interestingly though there has always been a level war, even on vinyl.”


Read the rest of the interview over at MusicRadar!