We first spoke with Mike Piersante, perhaps best known for engineering and mixing the Grammy-winning album Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Mike had delivered a mix at 1:30 am the night prior to the NAMM show and woken up to revise it that morning. Then, he headed to the show to speak on a panel. Mike is an engineering professional in every sense of the word, with the work ethic and odd hours to boot!
We talked a bit about listening to Keith Moon’s “chaotic” drum tracks on the 1971 album Who’s Next, which sound incredible in the mix. Mike pointed out that, with modern recording technology, we have an inclination to want to make things sound “perfect.” However, it’s the microphone bleed and imperfections that make a performance like Moon’s excellent when mixed. We also briefly spoke about Mike’s ongoing work with analogue tape.
Next, we met with mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen, who runs his own mastering studio in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, Gavin also won a Grammy alongside Mike Piersante for his work on Raising Sand in 2007, though that’s far from his only impressive credit! With a mastering career spanning nearly three decades, Gavin has done tremendous work with countless major artists.
In this segment, we talked about the wonderful people who make up the industry which we’ve dedicated our lives to, and who make the NAMM show such a special place to be.
We then had the opportunity to chat with a dear friend, Steve Jackson of Pulse Techniques. Steve has a doctorate in electrical engineering, and is the man who faithfully recreated Eugene Shenk’s original Pultec EQP. His skill is unmatched, a sentiment to which anyone who’s used his Pultecs can attest!
Steve showed us the new “Jack Douglas Edition” MEQ-500, which I’m very excited to try in the coming weeks!
We had the pleasure of meeting with Fix Audio Designs owner and renowned equipment designer/builder, Paul Wolff. Paul has been designing professional audio equipment for nearly forty years, owning API and Tonelux before starting Fix Audio Designs in 2016.
Just last year, Paul was inducted into the NAMM TECnology Hall of Fame for creating the API Lunchbox 500-series in 1985. Here, he showed us some of the equipment he’s worked on for 2018!
Of course, that isn’t everybody! Frank Filipetti, a six-time Grammy winner regarded as one of the first engineers to embrace digital technology, kindly lent us his time to talk. Having been active in the industry since 1971, some of his early credits include Carly Simon, Billy Joel, and Meat Loaf. In 1984, he had his first number one album with Foreigner’s Agent Provocateur. Not too shabby!
He’s also been heavily active in film and theatre, providing the soundtracks for movies such as Across the Universe and Pixar’s Cars, and producing albums for Wicked and The Book of Mormon.
Finally, Wayne Kramer of MC5 joined us for a chat. Wayne’s contributions to music outside of MC5 include film and television scoring. He’s written for two Will Ferrell smash-hit comedies, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, as well as for the Danny McBride and Will Ferrell HBO comedy series, Eastbound & Down. An undeniable talent and great guy!
We do hope you’ve enjoyed these conversations with industry legends as much as we did.
Have a marvelous time recording and mixing,