Meeting Topic: The Producers: from Melody to Master
Moderator Name: Peter Doell
Speaker Name: Jack Douglas, Recording Engineer & Producer; Shelly Yakus, AfterMaster Audio Labs; C. J. Vanston, Recording Engineer & Producer; Eric Boulanger, The Bakery
Other business or activities at the meeting: Demo Derby
Meeting Location: Studio City, CA, USA
AES-LA presented Gold and Platinum success with Jack Douglas, C. J. Vanston, Shelly Yakus, and Eric Boulanger, hosted by our own Peter Doell, a crew that has helped produce a large array of music and movie soundtracks. Observations about people, the processes of album and soundtrack production, and reflections on the panelists' vast experience filled the evening. Occasionally, Peter would show relevant album covers or play audio clips.
Eric has been busy lately with his new studio, Bakery Mastering, including clients such as Green Day, the Gypsy Kings, Rufus Wainwright, Eric Clapton, k. d. lang, and others. He demonstrated with a turntable and a stack of LPs that compelling music can be captured on vinyl with remarkable clarity. He and Josh Florian have developed a new lathe that is a hybrid DSP and analog, and played a comparison between a Direct Metal Master and the new method. The DMM sounded like distorted mono, while the other sounded stereo with more instruments.
Shelly Yakus is in the process of refurbishing Graham Nash's old studio at the Crossroads of the World in Hollywood. "Those old line designs have a vibe and a sound about them that you can't put into words," he said
C. J. Vanston has been Musical Director for Spinal Tap for 25 years, which has spawned work on movies with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean's records, Harry Shearer's records, and now a Derek Small (Shearer's Spinal Tap persona) album extravaganza to debut at the Sydney Opera House.
Jack Douglas was, and still is, a writer, musician, and arranger for TV, as well as a record producer. He recently scored a film for the Women's Director's Guild. "They're extremely talented, and they don't get enough films to direct," he reported. Jack also worked with John Lennon, who relied on Jack to provide advice. "I honor the artist's thoughts; he's the most important part of the creation. We try to do our best to just get it. ... Lennon drew a line really clearly between the talent and the producer; and looked to the producer to have an objective view of his work."
All the panelists agreed that trust is a key ingredient in the creative process. They also agreed on the importance of sharing knowledge and experience with the next generation.
A Demo Derby was held, allowing attendees to bring a track of theirs for evaluation by the panel. The winner was a vocal rendition of Take Five by Natalie Cadet.
Written By: Tom Levno