Blog Archives

Howard Massey speaks with AudioFanzine!

Author of The Great British Recording Studios, Howard Massey, was interviewed by AudioFanzine. AudioFanzine is an online magazine that caters to musicians as well as sound engineers, home-studio recording enthusiasts, and more. Read an excerpt of the interview below and see it all at AudioFanzine!


00333513In the early 1960s, at the beginning of the British Invasion, the studio scene in England was thriving, but the British studios used different gear and got a very different sound than their U.S. counterparts. In recent times, most of the major British recording studios have closed, and for a time, it looked like much of their history was in danger of disappearing, too.

In 2010, music journalist Howard Massey was approached by Malcolm Atkin from the Association of Professional Recording Services, a British studio trade group that was headed at the time by Sir George Martin. Atkin asked Massey to write a book documenting the British studio scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s, in order to document that very important era of recording. (Martin ended up writing the book’s forward.)

Massey agreed, and spent the next five years researching the book. The result was The Great British Recording Studios (2015, Hal Leonard Books), a fascinating read for any fan of recording. It looks at the major British studios during those decades, including who recorded in them, what gear they used, who the engineers were, and more.

Audiofanzine had a chance to talk to Massey and delve into the world of British recording in the golden years.

The book goes into great detail about the studios, including their engineers and gear collections. How did you get all that information?

Well, it was an enormous research project. I kind of think of it now as the world’s longest term paper. I was given access to the APRS archives, all the major studios were members and as part of membership they had to submit their equipment listings. So I had access to that, and also, there was an APRS directory that was published every year in which most studios took ads and listed their equipment. So I was able to track the changes through the years. And then, tons of online sources, and there were annual Billboard listings in England of studios. So basically, it was a lot of putting pieces together. But the material was sourced from the studios themselves. It was not third-party, or estimates. It was all actual hard facts and figures I was able to find sources for.

Did you interview lots of people, as well?

I interviewed over 300 people.

Did you spend a lot of time over there doing this?

I made five trips to England over the course of the five years.

Because of the Beatles, we’ve heard a lot about EMI Studios (now Abbey Road Studios), but Olympic and Trident were the other two really big ones back then, right?

Yes, I would say. Along with Decca. Decca was probably a little more well known for classical recordings, but the Decca complex was actually bigger than the EMI complex. It was actually larger.

And Decca is where they invented the Decca Tree stereo-miking technique?

Exactly. That was one of the key technical innovations. Of course, EMI was responsible for the Blumlein pair, which is kind of the counterpart. But in terms of pop, EMI, Trident and Olympic were the big three. The Who did a lot of recording at IBC, that was another big studio. And there were a few of them, the prog-rock bands like Yes and ELP tended to work at Advision, another key facility. And then there was a very, very large film-scoring facility called Delane Lea CTS, where almost all the James Bond films were scored, the blockbuster James Bond films out of the ’60s were recorded there.


Read the entire interview here

 

Advertisements

Elliott Landy discusses ‘The Band Photographs’

Elliott Landy, author of The Band Photographs 1968-1969, spoke with the Poughkeepsie Journal about his book.  Elliott Landy goes into detail about why he decided to release the photos, how long it took to produce, and more! Below is an excerpt of his interview, read what else he had to say and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


00146104Beauty, harmony and composition. That is the essence of the work of acclaimed photographer Elliott Landy, known for his iconic images of the underground rock scene in New York City during 1967 and the anti-Vietnam War movement that sparked a schism in the establishment and counterculture movement of that time. And then there was a certain music and arts festival in 1969 called Woodstock that took place in the hills of Sullivan County, where Landy, who was an official photographer for the fest, documented a music scene that defined a generation. A Woodstock resident himself, Landy photographed Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and The Band, among others during those short two years. The latter is the subject of his latest endeavor, a gallery-quality book of some unpublished and classic photographs of The Band, whose members also called Woodstock home. The photographer recently took the time to talk to the Journal about his new book.

Tell us about the photographs in “The Band Photographs: 1968-1969” and why you decided to release them now?

It’s a collection of the really good photographs that I took back in those years. And by really good, I mean, in my opinion. In those years, there wasn’t so much electronic media as there is now, and in order to publish a picture it had to be accepted by a magazine or published in a book. If I had taken those pictures today, three quarters of them would have been out there on the Internet already. People are hungry for that. If the record album company didn’t use them, they had no use for them. And if there was a magazine article, they would use maybe 20 total for all possible media. Over half of them were never seen before, except by me, as I walked back and forth in my studio, looking at the boxes. I used to look at them every so often and think – these are really nice pictures. Not because they were of The Band; I felt they were good photographs which just happened to be of these guys.

What is the story you want these photographs to tell to readers?

Beauty — I wanted to share the feeling of who The Band was, and the harmony and composition of the images show that. The content is almost secondary, it’s part of the decision to show the picture or not. I’m interested in showing a beautifully composed image and that affects you inside. In today’s world, in my opinion, the idea of harmony in a photo is almost ignored.

How long did it take to produce the new book?

It took about two years for it to come out. I had mentioned it to publishers, and told them the way I wanted to do this book, but there was never any interest. I had 12,000 negatives and slides. I realized that with Kickstarter it would be possible to do it my way. My experience with book publishers is like a see-saw – up and down. I never had a bad experience, but it was never “my book.” I wanted to make an art gallery quality book – what you have in your hands is that. I raised $193,000 from Kickstarter — the highest funded photo book in Kickstarter history. It took that much and more to get this done the way I wanted it.

Were there any revelatory moments putting together the photographs? What stands out most?

The process of doing it and the success I had doing it. In theory, I knew what I wanted to do. One picture to a page – opposing pages – no text or page numbers. What I do is create visual harmony. I wanted people to be able to immerse themselves in the photographs. I didn’t know for certain that I had done it until I saw the printed book and then thought, this is fabulous.

Why did you decide to use a trifold sheet instead of a regular index and captions on the photos?

I decided not to put captions or page numbers on the same page as full-page photos because they would take people away from the power of a pure visual experience. The captions are in the back of the book. I also added a fold-out sheet (trifold sheet) to the Deluxe and Signature editions so that readers would not have to go back and forth to see the caption information while reading the book.


Read the full article HERE.

 

Q&A with Robert Blumenfeld

Robert Blumenfeld, author of Teach Yourself Accents: Europe, chats with The Playbill Collector about his new book on April 4th. Click here for the full interview!

What is your background in dialect coaching?

 I studied French as an undergraduate at Rutgers where I also studied German and Italian and got into accents and dialects there.  I continued my French studies in grad school at Columbia, and took courses in phonetics and teaching French, including the accent. When I got into professional acting, I also started coaching accents. And I have taught accents at professional studios, and done private and production coaching.  I use lots of accents in my various audiobook recordings.  Audio recording is the majority of where I spend my time now.

When was your first book released?

In 1998 I released “Accents: A Manual for Actors”.

What was the main reason for writing your newest book “Teach Yourself Accents: Europe“?

The book is for a new generation of actors.  I wanted to provide something that has an easy method to follow.

Who is your target audience?

Younger actors but the series is equally useful to seasoned professional actors and amateurs.

00109570Teach Yourself Accents: Europe, A Handbook for Young Actors and Speakersthe third volume in dialect coach Robert Blumenfeld’s new series on accents, covers the European accents most useful for the stage and screen: French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Yiddish. The most important features of each accent are detailed, enabling the actor to begin immediately to sound authentic, and Mr. Blumenfeld’s unique approach makes the accents easily comprehensible.

 

Q & A with John Kruth

credit: Paul Hoelen Mandarine Montgomery

 

John Kruth is the author of Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison (Backbeat Books). The following is part of a Q&A on MusicTomes.com. Please visit their site for the full interview.

 

 

 

You’ve previously written about the life and music of Townes Van Zandt and Roland Kirk, how did you come to choose Roy Orbison as your next subject?

I have pretty eclectic tastes and listen to all sorts of music from Don Cherry to George Jones to Ravi Shankar to Glenn Gould to Captain Beefheart…. but ultimately its passion for my subject when it all comes down to it. You better love your subject! Roy’s classic sides for Monument, to me, are some of the greatest records made in the last century from the way they were written, performed and recorded. Also the story of his life fascinated me, the way he overcame incredible tragedy and managed to continue creating in spite of the devastating cards that fate dealt him. Ultimately he was a sonic alchemist who turned pain into beauty.

Orbison’s widow, Barbara, has a notoriously tight-grip on all things Roy, and as you chronicle in the book, had a lot of control over Roy himself. Did this present any problems in your research or in contacting people who knew and worked with Orbison?

In my earlier 2 biographies I worked closely with both of the widows. I wish I could have spoken with Barbara but I was warned by a number of people that she would want to control the contents of the book. So I avoided any contact and just quietly forged on. There were a few people who declined interviews with me because the book is unauthorized. Sadly Barbara was ill and has since passed away. I was hoping that she might’ve liked my book and I could have interviewed her for the 2nd edition.

What did you run across in your research that surprised you?

Writing a biography is kind of like going out on a date with someone you really like but you don’t know all that well and the relationship is suddenly on the fast track and things are unfolding at an alarming rate. There are plenty of surprises, some set backs but you made the commitment. Perhaps it’s more like a shot-gun marriage – cause you gotta see it through at least until the baby arrives! Surprises? How great (and how lame) some of the MGM tracks were – check out the Hank Williams record that Roy made. I never heard it before, and most of the musicians don’t even recall recording it. Its wild, sounds like a Lee Hazelwood production.

Keep reading this interview on MusicTomes.com!

 

About the Book

Orbison’s singing has inspired everyone who has heard it, from Springsteen to k. d. lang, and laid the very foundation for goth. While fascinating from a pop culture standpoint, it is Orbison’s life’s journey that makes a great story that has yet to be told to its fullest. Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison doesn’t shy away from or trivialize the personal pain, alienation, and tragic events that shaped Orbison’s singular personality and music. Roy Orbison wasn’t merely a singer but a sonic alchemist who, in the end, transformed unfathomable human misery into transcendent melody and platinum records. Rhapsody in Black contains new interviews with over 20 people who worked closely with Orbison throughout his life.