Like so many of us growing up, I obsessed with music. My first musical loves were all Production Masterpieces. Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera’, Supertramp’s ‘Breakfast in America’, ELO’s ‘Out Of The Blue’ and Steely Dan’s ‘Aja’.
Our interview today is with Lenise Bent.
Mentored by luminaries and being not only one of the first female engineers in Los Angeles, she is one of the best engineers ever!
In the interview, Lenise tells us about coming up as one of the first female recording engineers and getting her feet wet with recording in Leon Russell‘s home studio.
After finishing engineering school, Lenise got a job at Village Studios, where she worked with some if the greatest bands of the 70s and 80s: We talk the making of Supertramp’s two-time Grammy awarded album ” Breakfast in America”, drum recording techniques and taking 12 DAYS! for finding the perfect drum sound.
We move on to talk about the production and recording process of Blondie’s “Autoamerican” album and the hit single “The Tide Is High”, which was the most successful song in England in 1980.
Lenise tells us how she was diagnosed with belly cancer during the recording phase of Blondie’s album, but managing to stick through it because she wanted the credits so badly. Fortunately she was eventually able to beat her cancer!
At the end of this interview, we discuss the music production process back in the day, recording and automating using tape.
In the 1980s, there was no such thing as a recording engineer and a “mixer”. The recording engineer was working to achieve their vision for the record from the beginning, sculpting sounds and bringing it all together in the final mix.
This process is very similar to most home studio owners today and there is one big takeaway:
Have a vision for the song, commit to the sounds you are looking for and gradually work towards your goals with every step of the production process: from practicing your parts and delivering the best possible performance, to capturing the sounds you want to hear as close as you can get them and giving your tracks the final polish with your mix.
By working that way, you’ll have more fun, be more efficient and turn out better songs in the end!
We filmed this interview at DiaDan Studios in the Evergreen stage, which was built by Barbra Streisand and has a an amazing live room and console. We’ll and we’ll be back to do a tour of the studio very soon!
I hope you enjoy this interview.
Learn from the Pros – More Interviews & Studio Tours:
Please leave any questions you have for Lenise below. She promised to get back to us and answer them!
Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,
What!?!?!?! I live on Evergreen. I’m right down the street. I wanna see that place! I’ll bring Portos. Oh and yeah, Aspen has Barbara’s mic! Rodger Linn was at NAMM showing his latest LINNSTRUMENT.
C’est la vie, no more Morgans for us working class stiffs.
So when you were recording Rapture did Debbie explain at the time where those lyrics came from or did you just think “Wow, that’s new. Cool.” That was such a pivotal point in time for music.
We have a mutual friend, BTW, Bill Kaylor. He says hello.
Great stuff @l_scott_knight:disqus! Yes, Rapture was such a masterpiece! Truly amazing!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
You have to go check it out! I had the privilege of recording there last month with Lenise as my producer, it is Huuuuge and wonderful, a treat for sure!
Hi @clarabellino:disqus that’s fantastic to hear! Yes. Lenise is amazing! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
I certainly would love to. I was just recording with Warren a couple weeks ago. What a great and interesting experience. I learned so much. I was just looking at some videos last night I took on my phone during the sessions. I was really filled with a feeling gratitude to have been with someone so capable I could trust as well. I had doubts along the way but only about myself. And of course, I’m sure you left Lenise feeling like I do; wanting to do more, much more! I hope you will post a link so we can hear you music. Best of luck to you (even though we make our own, it doesn’t hurt.)
Thank you Scott, happy to hear you enjoyed working with Warren as well! I certainly can relate to wanting to do more, much more. I’d like to roll out of bed and into the studio everyday! Here’s to making more of that happen for both of us, all of us 🙂 I look forward to hearing yours as well, Best wishes too, Clara
I always love seeing NS10’s. Long story..
Thanks ever so much @audiomonsterrecords:disqus!! I love talking with Lenise, such a pleasure! I learned so much! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Lenise is a gem! We had so much fun and got amazing tracks at The Evergreen Stage with the musicians she assembled. She told me the studio she had secured was nice, and I trusted that if she felt at home there it was fine. 2 days prior to flying to L.A. I asked for a link and went OMG! When I walked into the studio for rehearsal the day before the session I went OM Triple God!!! What a special place. Lenise and I met in 2012 and 2013 at a music conference and we hit is off, I knew I wanted to work with her. It took til 2016 to find a way to do that. I am so grateful we stayed in touch, I trusted with her discography that she knew what she was doing, working with her in the studio went beyond confirming that. I so look forward to releasing our tracks to the world.
Hi @clarabellino:disqus, that’s wonderful! Lenise is amazing and I was blown away by the studio as well! Looking forward to going back there and doing a Studio Tour! Congratulations on your music and I look forward to hearing it! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Thank you Warren, looking forward to it all, and sharing it with you when we are ready to release it! Enjoy the Tour 🙂 Thank you! Clara
Thanks @clarabellino:disqus! I really appreciate your kind words! So glad to be able to share Lenise’s story! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
If you don’t have a C24 handy for that stereo kick idea, how about trying one of those Lewitt LCT 640 TS?
Excellent idea @Lem:disqus! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Man, thanks for interesting Interview. Lenise is such a
breath of fresh air. What an amazing and talented woman with no ego. Just extremely talented with a rich history of great recordings and insight. Great job as always Warren, very valuable.
Thanks @plap-disqus-9fd81843ad7f202f26c1a174c7357585:disqus! I agree, Lenise is talented and humble! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Thanks so much for this interview. When I was a kid I imagined what it was like recording those albums. So great to hear this talented woman’s stories.
Thanks @plap-disqus-2e65f2f2fdaf6c699b223c61b1b5ab89:disqus! Me too! It’s wonderful to hear behind the scenes stories! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Yeah, once again, I look at the time. 1:12, oh boy another long one.
And once again, its a gem. Packed full of fascinating facts and stories.
Thanks for sharing and teaching!
Bless you Lenise! Sorry you had to endure crazy Australians in your life, we mean well. Thanks Wazza