P&E Wing Monthly Update July/August 2016
Producers And Engineers Wing
June 11 – Seattle – GRAMMY Pro® Studio Summit
On a drizzly Saturday afternoon in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, The Recording Academy® Pacific Northwest Chapter presented a four-part program to Academy members and other audiophiles. The day featured lectures and interviews dedicated to the finer points of recording music: producing, engineering, remixing and mastering.
The “Demystifying Mastering” panel defined what is the last step in the creative process and the first step in distribution. Educator, mastering engineer and iZotope maven Jonathan Wyner bucked against the common tagline that mastering is a dark art. “One thing is, it takes time. That’s the mystery: practice,” he said. Wyner recommended all mastering engineers get a good listening room and spend plenty of time in it. This was a main point in producer/writer Harvey Mason, Jr.’s keynote as well: study music by listening to it. And keep doing that forever.
“Inside the Remixer’s Studio” with Dave Audé and Natasha Kmeto presented two artists who approached remixing from very different angles. For Kmeto, who makes underground electronic music, it’s all about responding to the “story” of the original song in her own way. That means twisting the track around her imagination. For Audé, the goal is creating remixes that extend the life of a radio single. In conversation with moderator and Pacific Northwest Chapter Trustee Tyler Stone, both remixers demonstrated their perspectives as very different artists.
P&E Wing Managing Director Maureen Droney gave a State of the Union for the Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing®, stressing the importance of collecting and recording studio metadata. In his keynote, Mason, Jr. described the music landscape as a competition, where, since everyone is trying to be heard, you have to sound better than the rest. To do that, you have to know music. He also noted that an important step in producing is knowing when to stop. “Stop when your heart tells you,” he advised. “That’s when the song is finished.”
June 24 – Nashville – “Hit Rewind” panel at Summer NAMM
It’s been said that "History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes," and there’s no better evidence of that than in the music industry. From the Four Seasons to classic R&B to ‘70s New York City rock to the recent resurgence of Motown in country, what’s old is once again new. In a discussion moderated by Jeff Balding, panelists Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, Jimmy Johnson, and Matt Ross-Spang went over the classic techniques and trends that seem to regularly find their way back into what’s new.
June 25 – San Francisco –GRAMMY Pro Art Of The Craft: Vocal Production
The San Francisco Chapter presented the GRAMMY Pro Art Of The Craft: Vocal Production at SAE/Ex'pression College in Emeryville, Calif. Conceived in partnership with the Chapter's Education and P&E Wing Committees, the event brought together industry leaders in the fields of vocal performance, health, and production.
After Chapter President Piper Payne's and Executive Director Michael Winger's welcome remarks, attendees split into two tracks, one for vocalists, the other for producers and engineers.
In the vocal session, presenter Brian Hinman, a vocalist and producer for the GRAMMY Award®-winning Chanticleer vocal ensemble, discussed vocal health and technique with Dr. Kryzsztof Izdebski and renowned vocal coach Jan Smith, while on the producer panel, GRAMMY-winning producer Larry Klein discussed the methods he uses to get top-tier vocal performances to tape along with his co-presenters, engineer John C. Adams and vocalist Amy Keys.
In a break between presentations, members and guests got hands-on experience with microphones and mic preamps in gear selection rooms set up for A/B comparisons. Meanwhile, attendees were able to get custom earplug impressions from ACS Custom, courtesy of MusiCares.
After the break, producer Kuk Harrell took the stage and vocalist Simone Torres headed to the vocal isolation booth as they demonstrated Kuk's animated style of getting blockbuster vocal performances out of his artists. Smith and Klein then joined Harrell in a panel to bring the day to a close.
Thanks to all the presenters, to SAE/Ex'pression College, to MusiCares and ACS Custom, and to our event sponsors Kind Bars and Bai.
July 21 – Nashville – In The Mix: Listening Session
The P&E Wing and Nashville Chapter hosted In The Mix: Listening Session at Ocean Way with legendary producer/engineers Lou Bradley, Brent Maher and Norbert Putnam. Producer and Nashville Chapter P&E Wing Chair Mark Bright, moderated the conversation. Each guest played two tracks, and then told the stories behind the legendary recordings. Engineer Lou Bradley played “Golden Ring” by Tammy Wynette and George Jones and “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich. Norbert Putnam played “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet and “The Sailor” by Mickey Newbury. Brent Maher took a different approach and played “Is The Doctor In Today” by the band Shell, who he recently recorded, and then “Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner, while discussing differences in recording techniques past and present.