WCA #136 with Kevin Becka

Working Class Audio Session #136 with Kevin Becka!!!

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Kevin Becka has worked as a recording engineer for over 25 years, working with the top names in music including Kenny G., Quincy Jones, Michael Bolton, George Benson, George Lynch, and more. An experienced educator, Kevin is currently the co-director and instructor at The Blackbird Academy in Nashville. He has also taught advanced recording at Belmont University, surround recording and lecturer at the Danish Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was director of education and instructor at the Conservatory of Recording Arts for over 10 years. Kevin is a journalist who has worked as editors of Pro Audio Review and Audio Media USA magazines. Since 2003, Kevin has been the technical editor of the industry-leading Mix Magazine where he writes features, product reviews and a monthly column.

About this Interview:

On my recent trip to Nashville I was given a tour of Blackbird Studios by former WCA guest Mark Rubel (WCA #034). On that tour I was introduced to Kevin Becka. I later talked with Kevin at length during the Winter NAMM show that week and knew he would make a great guest for WCA. In this interview I chat with Kevin about the RIN-M meta Data plugin, Blackbird and Education, Blackbird graduate David Platillero and his struggle after being hit by a car. We also discuss Kevin’s background, his habits and quotes that help him keep his career moving forward and inspire others.


Show notes and links:

RIN-M Meta Data Plugin. 

Blackbird Academy Graduate David Platillero
http://www.davidplatillero.com/blog/
Kevin on Groove3


WCA #135 with Jacquire King

Working Class Audio Session #135 with Jacquire King!!!

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Jacquire King is known for his work with  Kings of LeonTom WaitsJames BayModest MouseYou Me At SixBuddy GuyNorah JonesOf Monsters and Men, Josh RitterCold War KidsPunch BrothersCity and ColourMoon TaxiRobert EllisAmber Rubarth and Dawes. Our interview takes place at Jacquire’s private studio outside of Nashville, Tennessee where he graciously invited me over to have a chat and discuss our common connection to the Bay Area.  We  discuss his time there coming up as someone trying to make his mark in the studio scene and the changes that eventually convinced him to move to Nashville . We follow that up with his transition into Nashville and the  struggles that followed and of course the success that followed that. Jacquire is a thoughtful and low key person who shares his views on what inspires him and how he works to inspire others. I have to say this interview really inspired me and got me thinking about my own career and what I can do to move it forward. I hope you have the same experience. -Matt

Show notes:

Links to my fellow YouTubers, Bloggers and podcasters I stayed with on this trip in Nashville.

Pete Woj – https://www.mixbetternow.com/
Chris Selim – http://mixdown.online/en/
Chris Graham – https://www.chrisgrahammastering.com/
Dane Myers – https://custom-tracks.com/
Christian Siera – https://custom-tracks.com/
Joe Gilder – http://www.homestudiocorner.com/
Brian Hood – http://www.thesixfigurehomestudio.com/
Lij Shaw – http://rsrockstars.com

WCA #134 with Andrew Oswald

Working Class Audio Session #134 with Andrew Oswald!!!


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Andrew Oswald is a recording engineer who is based out of Oakland, CA who makes records almost everyday. He  co-owns and operates Secret Bathroom, a recording studio in West Oakland, where he also does a monthly live in studio podcast called Live From Secret Bathroom, that features new and upcoming bands. Andrew started recording bands in high school while growing up in San Diego where he also took a series of Pro Tools certification classes. Eventually he made his way to the Bay Area to go to recording school even though he already accumulated a few years of experience . While in recording school he continued to record bands and become affiliated with local recording vets Eli Crews (WCA #044) and Jonah Strauss (WCA #016)  who gave him keys and access to their studios . Andrew found early success with his recordings of the band Ash Borer which were both praised by Pitchfork .  After graduating Andrew  and his studio partner Max Senna opened Secret Bathroom and have been making records in that space for the last 6 years. YOu can read more on Andrew at: http://secretbathroom.com/ and http://www.andrewoswaldrecording.com/

SHOW NOTES:

The Tim Ferris Book I mentioned

Hip Hop Evolution: https://www.netflix.com/title/80141782

Cliff Truedell’s band Tiger Touch

 

 

WCA #133 with Alan Evans

Working Class Audio Session #133 with Alan Evans!!!

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Alan Evans is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, studio engineer, record producer, whose “retro” style incorporates elements of rock, blues, soul, R&B, funk,jazz,reggae and the psychedelic. In addition to singing lead and backing vocals, Evans often plays all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and percussion himself on his solo recordings. Alan Joins Matt for a discussion about his musical side, family, living in a small town and keeping things relaxed and musically focused in the studio.

Alan’s full bio follows as well as the show notes. 

Early life
Alan Evans was born on March 23rd 1974 in Buffalo, NY.  By the time he was 9 months old, Alan was banging on drums in the Evans home.  There were strong musical influences in Alan’s life from the very beginning. To say that the Evans family is musical is to say that the Kennedy family has a proclivity for politics. The record player spun in the Evans household the way the TV blared in many other homes. Alan’s father, Willie, and his older brother, Rod, played DJ and the assembly of vinyl they accrued was broad and vast. Miles Davis, Jimmy Smith, Ray Charles, Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Joe Cocker, Kool & the Gang, Jimmy Hendrix, the Headhunters – these were just some of the sounds emanating out of the Evans living room.

Alan’s musical journey is inextricably intertwined with his brother, Neal. A few years younger, Neal became a prodigious pianist, vibes player, and eventually gravitated towards the Hammond B-3 organ. At the age of 12, Alan started gigging out around Buffalo.

Career
1990 – 1996: Moon Boot Lover (The Groove)

During his sophomore year of high school, Alan formed The Groove with longtime friend Joshua Levitt and Peter Prince.  Neal Evans would join a year later on keyboards.  Levitt left the band after high school graduation but the Evans brothers and Prince continued gigging around Western New York.  In 1992, Alan Evans graduated from City Honors School and Prince from Buffalo State College.  The two decided to move to New York City looking for bigger and better opportunities.  Soon after arriving in New York City, Evans and Prince renamed the band Moon Boot Lover.  With their loud, funky and charismatic sound It didn’t take Moon Boot Lover long to become a household name in the early 90’s New York City music scene.  In 1993, the band moved north to Woodstock, NY and began touring the country non stop gaining fans along the way.  Neal Evans rejoined the band in 1994 and became a psychedelic organ trio in 1995 with the departure of bassist Jon Hawes.  Alan Evans recorded four albums with Moon Boot Lover before he and his brother left the band in 1996.

1994 – 1998: The Elements
While on touring breaks from Moon Boot Lover, Alan Evans along with his brother Neal and lifelong friend Edreys Wajed recorded and performed as the Elements.  A live soul, hip hop group.  The Elements recorded 4 albums, the last of which featured Moon Boot Lover alumni Joshua Levitt as well as Screaming Headless Torsos members David “Fuze” Fiuczynski and Dean Bowman.

1998: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Greyboy Allstars)
After taking a year and half break from touring, Evans was contacted by a friend about an opportunity to audition for Lenny Kravitz saxophonist Karl Denson’s band the Greyboy Allstars.  After a brief meeting at New York City’s Wetlands Preserve, Alan found himself on a flight to Austin, TX for a weekend of shows/auditions with Denson.  For the next several months, Evans toured the US with the Allstars as well as, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.  He recorded an EP with the band before leaving at the end of 1998, to reunite with his brother Neal, and ultimately form what is now known as, Soulive.

1999 – Present: Soulive
On March 2, 1999, Alan and Neal invited guitarist Eric Krasno to record some tracks with them in their home studio. That jam session became their first EP, Get Down! and the band shortly thereafter hit the road to begin touring. During their first Summer together they recorded their first LP, Turn It Out. The album featured various guest musicians, including John Scofield, Oteil Burbridge, and Sam Kininger. The independently produced album went on to sell 65,000 copies, enabling Soulive to gain recognition in the jazz/funk scene. This recognition resulted in a record deal with Blue Note Records, in 2002. Soulive’s first Blue Note album, Doin’ Something,  featured horn arrangements by Fred Wesley, the trombonist from James Brown’s band. Their second Blue Note record, Next, featured guest vocalists Dave Matthews and Amel Larrieux, and rappers Talib Kweli and Black Thought..

In 2003, Soulive released a self-titled live album, Soulive (Live), and a collection of remixes, Turn It Out Remixed, which featured guests Jurassic 5, DJ Spinna, DJ Krush, J-Live,Wordsworth, and the Beatnuts.

After two years with Blue Note, Soulive changed gears and decided to enter into a new contract with the jazz label Concord Records.

On September 13, 2005, Soulive released its first album with Concord Records, Break Out. On this release the band eschewed extended jams for beat-driven instrumentals and collaborations with Chaka Khan (featured on “Back Again”), Ivan Neville (featured on “Got Soul” and “Take It Easy”), Corey Glover (featured on “Freedom”), Robert Randolph(featured on the Jimi Hendrix cover “Crosstown Traffic” and also on “Interlude II”), and Reggie Watts (featured on “She’s Hooked” and “What Can You Do?”). Late in 2006 the group recorded No Place Like Soul with producer Stewart Lerman at his studio inGreenwich Village, The Shinebox.

As the record industry began to once again change, with it changed the band’s approach, and on April 4th, 2009 Soulive released Up Here, their first album on their own record label, Royal Family Records.   The album marked somewhat of a return to form for the group, as many of the songs are solely instrumentals. For this album, they were joined once again by Ryan Zoidis on Tenor Sax, Sam Kininger on Alto Sax – known also as “The Shady Horns”.

Since the forming of Royal Family Records, Soulive has continued to tour and release albums.  Their newest album produced by Pretty Lights will be released in 2018.

2012 – 2014: Alan Evans Trio

Alan Evans recorded three albums with the Alan Evans Trio (AE3) with Danny Mayer (guitar), Beau Sasser (keyboards).  They extensively toured the United States and made one trip to the UK.

2015 – Present: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

After becoming the newest member of legendary rock band The Rolling Stones, Karl Denson contacted Alan about rejoining his Tiny Universe.  Alan began playing with Denson at the end of March 2015 and started recording a new album in May of 2015.

1990 – Present: Iron Wax Studio

Alan is also a highly sought after (recording/mixing) engineer and record producer mostly working out of Iron Wax, an analog / digital hybrid studio in Millers Falls, MA. In addition to his own recording and touring, he has had the opportunity to travel and collaborate with bands and artists worldwide.  His laid back style and vintage approach, makes it easy for him to bring his production aesthetic to a project while maintaining the artist’s character and vision.

Workshops

2017 The Art Of Drum Recording – Evergroove Studio, Evergreen, CO
2015 The Art Of Recording Live In The Studio – Evergroove Studio, Evergreen, CO
2012 The Art Of Creative Recording sponsored by Berklee College Of Music at The Royal Family Affair – Stratton, Vermont
2012 The Art Of Creative Recording – Snowlive – Boulder, CO
2010 Hilly Chase series guest speaker at the Eaglebrook School

Show Notes:

Here’s a link to Evernote I mentioned in the monologue. https://evernote.com/

Here’s a link to Alan’s studio: http://www.ironwax.com/

WCA #132 with Ian Shepherd

Working Class Audio Session #132 with Ian Shepherd!!!

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Ian Shepherd is a  mastering engineer owner of Mastering Media Ltd,  host of The Mastering Show podcast as well as the founder of the website Production Advice.  Over the last twenty years he’s worked on literally thousands of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays for all of the major record labels, TV stations and independents, including several number one singles and award-winning albums. Ian has been  a fierce critic of the so-called “Loudness Wars” and in 2010 he organized the first Dynamic Range Day to raise awareness about the issue. He also developed two plugins with MeterPlusPerception, which received an AudioMedia Gear Of The Year award in 2014, and Dynameter, which helps you achieve optimal audio dynamics for your music, and competitive loudness for online streaming. Ian has worked with  Keane, Tricky, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Deep Purple, The Orb, Leslie Garret, Culture Club, Porcupine Tree, Andy Weatherall, The Las, Ozric Tentacles, Christine Tobin, New Order and King Crimson amongst many others.

Ian chats with Matt about the Loudness Wars, dynamics in music, family, clients, money matters and his plug in Dynameter.

Show Notes for Ian Shepherd:

 

 

 

WCA #131 with Ronan Chris Murphy

Working Class Audio Session #131 with Ronan Chris Murphy!!!

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Ronan Chris Murphy works around the globe in the wide extremes of music and in the last 20 years has amassed a discography spanning several hundred albums including work with international pop stars to some of the most respected virtuoso musicians in the world.

As a producer, engineer and/or mixer, Ronan Chris Murphy has worked with the likes of King Crimson (several albums), Steve Morse (Dixie Dreggs Deep Purple), Terry Bozzio (Zappa, Missing Persons), Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Pink Floyd)), Martin Sexton, Jamie Walters, Ulver, The California Guitar Trio, Chucho Valdes y Groupo Irakere, Pete Teo Joan LaBarbara (Philip Glass Ensemble, Steve Reich) Nels Cline (Wilco) as well as various projects featuring members of Tool, Ministry, Weezer Dishwalla, and Yes.

Before diving into production and mixing Ronan spent several years as a musician playing in bands in the scene that later became know as grunge, sharing the stage with bands such as Dinosaur Jr., All, The Flaming lips, Gwar and the Rollins Band. He has an odd footnote in rock history his first band was an early DC punk band called Freakbaby, which was also the first band of Dave Grohl following Ronan’s departure from the band.

Ronan speaks with Matt from his new studio in the mountains about his recording workshops, career, trolls, and recording Terry Bozzio.

To learn more about Ronan?s production and mixing work, as well as his studio visit Veneto West.

WCA #130 with Andy Reed

Working Class Audio Session #130 with Andy Reed!!!

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Andy Reed purchased his first guitar when he was 18 and by the time he was 21 he started a band with his brother called The Haskels. They signed a small record deal and ended up recording with Brendan Benson of The Raconteurs. This is where Andy initially got the recording bug.
Fast forward through touring, experimenting with 4 tracks and you’ll arrive at Andy acquiring his first Pro Tools rig at age 23. Andy would spend every second he had in his basement for the next 3 years figuring out how to get better sounds, write better songs, and hone the craft of recording by learning from his own mistakes on his own recordings. 3 years later Andy would emerge with recordings of his own music that attracted others to officially hire him to record. For the last 14 years Andy has been recording and producing artists from all over the country.
Andy joins Matt to talk about recording in Bay City Michigan, family life, his mentors and his musical connection to Donny Brown of the Verve Pipe.

WCA #129 with Brad Smalling

Working Class Audio Session #129 with Brad Smalling!!!

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Brad Smalling is an audio professional with a passion for music and for making great records – records that connect the artist and the listener emotionally. From the creative to the technical, Brad is passionate about all aspects of the record-making process. Brad’s creative ear and his ability to connect with the artist combine to present the artist’s music as they envision it and often in ways they never considered.

Brad’s desire to learn about audio appeared in his teens while learning to play guitar but he wouldn’t actively pursue engineering until 2000 when he built a recording studio in his basement in Boulder, CO. After gaining confidence through self study, he and his wife, Jenny, hired Wes Lachot to design what would become Evergroove Studio. Solar powered and located on 4.5 wooded acres just outside Denver, Evergroove Studio opened in 2006 and offers a retreat-like setting sought by artists that desire a different recording studio experience.

Brad continues to grow as an audio professional and small business owner by striving for excellence in every project, and pushing himself to be a better engineer, business owner, and person. In addition to studio work, Brad enjoys the challenges of live mixing and recording, as well as the detail of mastering. He works closely with artists and their home studios to help them capture better recordings, or by a combination of home recording and studio recording at Evergroove. This experience led to the launch of the Evergroove Academy of Recording (EAR) – a series of workshops for audio engineers, producers, and musicians focused on producing the highest-quality recordings possible.

When asked about his passion for audio Brad said:

“I love exploring different microphone techniques, the thrill of the first take, and the excitement on an artist’s face when they hear their music in a way that moves them. I enjoy working closely with artists to help bring out the emotion of the song. I like exploring arrangements through overdubs and I love combining all the tracks into a mix that draws the listener into the music. The final creative and technical process of mastering fascinates me and, finally, I love album release shows; that moment when an artist’s work is presented to the World.”

When not in the studio you can find Brad with his wife at a local music show, working with the massive interactive performance art group itchy-O, on a local hiking trail, road-tripping across the Western USA, or enjoying a locally crafted beer on a sunny deck.

Brad joins Matt to talk about his solar powered studio, his partnership with his wife and how hiring studio designer Wes Lachot was one of the best moves he ever made.

WCA #128 with Frank Pappalardo

Working Class Audio Session #128 with Frank Pappalardo!!!

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Frank Pappalardo started out a guitarist wanting the rock star dream. After hearing Van Halen’s “Eruption” at a party  he realized  being a killer recording engineer was a more realistic plan  than being a mediocre guitar player. From his early days at Chicago’s River North Recorders to his current 30 plus year gig at PBS’ Soundstage Frank has had an incredible career recording and mixing so many household names including Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, Fall Out Boy, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Sheryl Crow, Sonic Youth, Death Cab For Cutie and the list goes on  and on. Frank talks with Matt via Facetime from Saint Charles, Illinois ( West of Chicago) in the post house where he does most of his mixing work about family, work ethic and his overall approach to audio. Enjoy!

www.frankpappalardo.com

WCA #127 with Craig Schumacher

WCA #127 with Craig Schumacher

Working Class Audio Session #127 with Craig Schumacher!!!

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Craig Schumacher has been making noise unprofessionally since 1985. He’s managed to carve out a niche in the desert southwest by be part of an eclectic scene that bubbles out of Tucson and has been an integral part of the sound of  Calexico and Giant Sand, and has recorded artists like Neko Case, Amos Lee, KT Tunstall, Roger Clyne, Left Over Salmon, The Jayhawks, Steve Wynn, and John Doe at WaveLab. He is also a sought after mixer and has been to France, Sweden, LA, NYC, Austin, and New Orleans for mix jobs. He is also an adjunct professor at Scottsdale Community College for the past ten years.

Craig crashes at Matt’s house for a night while on his way to record the new Calexico record. Naturally an interview that was long overdue was in order.