Further to my rant about clueless DJs replacing proper producers, here are a couple of funny little animations about the horrors of being a mastering engineer to today’s “talent”: Mastering: The Movie Part One and Part Two.
And, from an interview this month’s Sound on Sound magazine, here’s Bruce Swedien, studio engineer for Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall and Thriller albums, on Quincy Jones, producer of the same:
“…Quincy and I first worked together with Michael Jackson on the movie The Wiz. We were living together at a hotel in Manhattan, and we would go to Studio A at A&R Studios. We had a big session at noon on Monday to record some of the music with a big 70- or 80-piece orchestra, and we had to leave for the studio at 10am. The night before, Quincy and I had guests at our hotel for dinner, and Quincy still hadn’t even started on the orchestration for the opening titles. I was getting a little nervous, but he said not to worry about it. At about four that morning, I woke up and noticed under my door that all the lights in the apartment were blazing. There’s Quincy at the dining-room table with a billion sheets of manuscript paper, and he was writing orchestrations. I said ‘Quincy, we’ve got to leave soon!’, but he just said ‘Don’t worry about it’ so I went back to bed.
“At about nine o’clock I got up again, and Quincy said to me ‘I’m all set’. There wasn’t even a piano or a guitar in the apartment; just Quincy and his manuscript paper! Off we go to the studio, and Quincy hands over his score to the copyists. He didn’t even want to conduct — he’d hired a conductor because he wanted to be in the control room with me. The conductor gave the down beat, the orchestra played the entire overture, and there was not a single note out of place. It still gives me the chills to think about it!”
[Thanks to Tom Nuttall for the video links.]