Interview with recording engineer Phill Brown

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings (vinyl , 8-track, etc.)' started by k4rstar, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer sits down and talks with veteran recording engineer Phill Brown in a three-part interview spanning the course of an hour. I highly recommend watching or listening if you have even a remote interest in how music was recorded in the 70s and 80s and what sort of production work was involved.

    Brown has worked with artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, David Bowie and Talk Talk in a career spanning several decades. In 2011 he published an autobiography titled Are We Still Rolling? which documents his experiences in the British music industry. He is now retired but still does occasional side projects that interest him.

    The subjects of the interview cover the various house sounds associated with different recording equipment, the influences of drugs in the studio and recording process, personal experiences with record companies as well as specific artists, advances made in studio technology and much more. The interview is shot podcast style so you can leave it on in the background. I may add timestamps for those who are impatient and/or busy later.


    • 1:10 - How Brown came to work with Talk Talk on Spirit of Eden and Laughingstock, how Spirit of Eden was recorded and put together
    • 6:15 - Regarding the colorations of various mixing desks and the question of "transparency" in production equipment
    • 10:08 - On Olympic Studios and it's legacies
    • 10:48 - On RAK Studios and the cost of studio sessions
    • 14:25 - On the "indulgent" 80s and the trade-off of convenience for sound quality, ProTools, the conspiracy of bad vinyl pressings to upsell CDs and digital
    • 17:00 - On recording to tape and digital "transparency", tape saturation/compression, lack of choice in the digital domain
    • 19:17 - On retiring and what Brown does now
    • 20:52 - On hearing loss and listening skill
    • 21:53 - On Mark Hollis of Talk Talk and the cult status surrounding his band, issues with record companies

    • 0:00 - On what Mark Hollis does now, the production value of Laughingstock
    • 1:42 - On why some artists care about production value and others don't
    • 4:07 - On the sale of Olympic Studios and the disposal of master tapes, how little people cared about tape machines in the early 2000s/late 90s, the resurgance of tape/vinyl
    • 10:20 - On who Brown wished he got to work with but never got a chance to
    • 11:30 - On manual mixing and an anecdote with Richard Perry, what makes a good producer
    • 13:56 - On U2, wanting to work with Willie Nelson, auto-tune
    • 17:00 - On "rough and ready" mixes, the importance of capturing space, the influence of Richard Perry
    • 21:40 - On being a tape operator
    • 23:09 - On being constrained to the studio before the age of mobile recording
    • 23:58 - On retrospectively making music history, proving yourself as an engineer, the glamour of recording with Hendrix and Marley
    • 25:55 - On recording Live at the Lyceum
    • 27:40 - On recording All Along The Watchtower, how Brown remembers all these details for his book

    • 0:30 - On working with Sly Stone on Family Affair
    • 2:00 - On the use of cocaine and other substances as creative fuel during the 70s
    • 4:45 - On an executive-run music industry and unreleased records at Arista in the 80s
    • 5:35 - On recording in America with Robert Palmer and commercial failures, what makes a good record company owner
    • 11:10 - On making history, not being allowed to play Talk Talk in the house, his families reaction to hearing Spirit of Eden, being selfish
    • 13:30 - On doing what you have to do, getting into the industry at the age of 14 and the innocence of it all
    • 16:40 - On Talk Talk again and their cult status, progression as a band
    • 19:30 - On Bob Dylan's latest work, political status, how to deal with a Trump presidency
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
    Lyander, crazychile, Garns and 13 others like this.
  2. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    Great post, k4rstar! I watched the whole thing, fascinated. I love this kind of stuff.

    Edit: I was going to order the book. When I saw the cover I realized that I already own it. I guess I got distracted and then forgot about it before reading it. o_O
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  3. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    God damn watching the first video made me curse my phone, but it's in the recording...

    Edit: Just watched the whole thing, very interesting how they did things back in the day. Gonna have to check out that Maxi jazz album too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  4. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    k4rstar likes this.
  5. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    Thanks for your efforts, k4rstar. Much appreciated.
     

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