Abbey Road, London—a name that resonates with music enthusiasts and aficionados worldwide. The iconic studio has been the backdrop for countless legendary recordings, and today, we have the privilege of sitting down with Chris Parker, Sarah Meyz & Marta Di Nozzi – vital members of the Abbey Road team. In this candid conversation, we delve into the often-misunderstood role of a recordists, assistants and internships within the intricate world of studio work.
Defining the Recordist Role
“So, you’re an assistant engineer about to become a recordist, but the recordist is not an engineer,” I inquire, a bit puzzled. Chris smiles, ready to clarify this common misconception.
“Most people would think of the two jobs outside of the producer would be persistent and engineer,” he explains. “But the role of the recordist is literally being in control of the recording device and all the ancillary tasks that come with it.”
At Abbey Road, where they frequently work on TV and film scoring projects, the recordist’s responsibilities extend to data management and even picture security. When orchestrating recordings involving up to 80 musicians, it becomes evident that this isn’t a task that can be solely handled by an engineer and an assistant.
“It’s a long day,” Chris admits. “It’s easier if the project generally goes smoother if it’s not, and you have so if it’s a string date, you need everything to be ready at 10 o’clock sharp.”
A Day in the Life of a Recordist
To gain a better understanding of Chris’s role, we dive into a typical day when recording an orchestra. Starting two hours before the session, preparations are crucial. Personal sessions need to be set up, microphones checked, and adjustments made to ensure a smooth recording process.
“If you’re dealing with an orchestra,” Chris elaborates, “you could have 80, 100, or even 120 microphones. Time pressure is real. You have to get everything you need in those time blocks.”
As we chat, it becomes evident that a recordist’s job goes beyond merely hitting the record button. They are the guardians of the recording’s integrity, overseeing everything from media management to data security.
From Indie Rock to Abbey Road
Chris’s journey into the world of recording was far from conventional. A guitarist in noisy indie bands, his fascination with recording began when he borrowed a cassette four-track recorder and realized it was more captivating than playing in a band. That spark set him on a path that eventually led to Abbey Road.
He studied popular music production, a course designed to make graduates employable across various music industry sectors. Chris didn’t play a classical instrument, but he learned to follow a score and handle the intricacies of classical recordings through on-the-job training.
The Evolution of Technology
In our conversation, we touch on the evolution of recording technology. Chris recalls using Yamaha 02R consoles during his studies. Although Abbey Road now boasts more advanced equipment, it’s interesting to note how technology has transformed the recording process.
Data Security and Protocols
The discussion also delves into the critical aspect of data security in the modern recording industry. Chris emphasizes the importance of multiple backups and adhering to strict file transfer protocols when shipping digital content worldwide, especially when working with major labels like UMG.
When asked about his future ambitions, Chris’s humility shines through. In the music industry, patience is indeed a virtue. He acknowledges that opportunities at the center of the Abbey Road console are rare but remains dedicated to honing his craft and contributing to the studio’s legacy.
Marta Di Nozzi’s Journey: From Rome to Abbey Road
Marta Di Nozzi hails from the historic city of Rome, Italy. He studied music and sound engineering in his hometown and nurtured a deep love for music. However, his path eventually led him to the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. After completing a year of intensive training at the Abbey Road Institute, Marta seized the opportunity to join Abbey Road Studios as a runner. He quickly rose through the ranks to become an assistant engineer, responsible for managing recording sessions.
A Day in the Life of an Assistant Engineer:
Transitioning from a runner to an assistant engineer at Abbey Road Studios was a significant step for Marta. As an assistant engineer, he is assigned to specific recording sessions, where he takes charge of session logistics, equipment setup, communication, and ensuring a smooth workflow. Marta’s role is crucial in maintaining a harmonious working environment, as he collaborates closely with recordists, producers, and engineers, adapting to their unique preferences and needs.
Flexibility and Adaptability:
One of the key takeaways from Marta’s journey is the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the studio environment. Depending on the engineer or producer, the workflow and expectations can vary greatly. Marta and his colleagues must tailor their support and services to accommodate these differences, ensuring that the artists and the music receive the best possible treatment.
Behind the Scenes: The Runner’s Role:
Before ascending to the role of an assistant engineer, Mata started as a runner at Abbey Road Studios. Runners play a pivotal role in maintaining the studio’s day-to-day operations. They assist with setting up equipment, troubleshooting technical issues, and ensuring that the studio spaces are organized and ready for action. They also serve as liaisons between external engineers and the studio, facilitating effective communication and collaboration.
Annie’s Journey: A Music and Sound Recording Student
Annie, on the other hand, joined Abbey Road Studios as part of her placement year while studying music and sound recording at the University of Surrey. Her journey began in Brazil, where she grew up, before taking her talents to the United States, where she attended the renowned Berklee College of Music. After completing her studies and gaining valuable experience through internships, Annie found herself at Abbey Road Studios, where she dreams of becoming an engineer or pursuing a career in film composition.
The Runner’s Experience:
Annie currently serves as a runner at Abbey Road Studios, where she assists with various tasks, including equipment setup, maintaining studio cleanliness, and supporting sessions. Runners like Annie are essential in ensuring that everything runs smoothly, allowing artists, engineers, and producers to focus on their creative work.
Annie’s multifaceted education and her role as a runner have sparked her interest in production, mixing, and film composition. Her love for music and her proficiency in instruments like the violin and piano have driven her to explore various creative avenues within the music industry. Annie’s exposure to diverse projects at Abbey Road Studios has broadened her horizons and ignited her passion for exploring new musical and technical territories.