Well, just about the whole team is back from the SXSW trip — and a good time was had by all. Here are a few more photos from Friday and Saturday.
It was a busy Thursday at SXSW for the Masterdisk crew!
Molly went to the Merge Makes Noise panel with Michael Azerrad, Mac McCaughan & Laura Ballance and heard some stories from their book Our Noise. Next she was off to the Indie Village where she met with Ian Davis from Interdependent Media and Mike Demonte from Prophase. Molly also talked to Andrew Berger of Polyphase (an Alternative/Indie/Rock band from the Republic of Panama) and the musician Arash from the Iranian band TarantisT.
Scott meanwhile was at the Grammy party and met with pop/soul/R&B singer Chloe Temtchine. He mastered her album Up and Coming, which was produced by Dave Margolis.
Come evening Molly hit a few shows with MD engineer Jeff Reeves. At 9 p.m. at the Copa, they saw the 1001 Nights Orchestra, Austin’s longest running Middle Eastern music group. Then off to The Parish to see singer/songwriter Meiko. Her first album is on MySpace Records/DGC. They finished off the evening with the French/Chilean singer Anita Tijoux at Flamingo Cantina. Her latest album, 1977, will be her first released in the US, this April on Nacional Records.
Erin saw a number of bands as well, including the Cassette Kids, XX (at Mohawks), and what was probably the big show of the night, Stone Temple Pilots at the Austin Music Hall.
Madi Diaz is a new Indie/Folk/Pop artist from Nashville. Scott Hull handed over her new album’s final CD master to producer John Alagia (of John Mayer and Dave Mathews fame) at the Grammy party at the Four Seasons today. Here’s a picture from Madi’s Thursday evening SXSW show at the Soho Lounge, and check out her (very neat) website here: http://www.madidiaz.com/
Yesterday the Masterdisk crew had a blast at SXSW. Many shows were seen and praise was heaped upon Spoon, Broken Bells, Paleo, Sharon Jones and the Dap-tones. I’ll be posting some coverage of yesterday’s Mastering Tutorial soon, but in the meantime enjoy these exotic sightings:
Scott’s Mastering Tutorial (with Bob Ludwig and others) starts in an hour! We’re looking forward to that and I’ll report back when I have some info from the crew. In the meantime, it’s been a leisurely SXSW morning…
Crucial elements of a successful Masterdisk SXSW trip:
If you plan to be at South by Southwest in Austin tomorrow (Wednesday the 17th), boy do we have a panel for you!
Wednesday, March 17 at 02:00 PM
Room 16B in the Austin Convention Center
World famous mastering engineer Bob Ludwig is hosting. The three other engineers contributing are our own chief engineer Scott Hull, Adam Ayan (Gateway Mastering) and John Merchant (RedDoor). The four of them are going to “offer suggestions to improve your recording using your own tools.”
Want to know why mastering matters?
The difference between in-the-box mastering and discrete-analog mastering?
Why pro mastering is expensive?
Or how about this one, Scott’s topic: Why does mastering matter for MP3 digital delivery?
It’s gonna be great. For more info, and to sign up, visit the Mastering Tutorial‘s page on the South by Southwest website. Also, I’ll be blogging and tweeting updates from the Masterdisk crew over the next few days, so follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook, or just drop by the blog here. — jB
On a recent Friday evening gathering at Masterdisk, Tony Dawsey and I were having some pizza and talking about his first hit record, La Bamba, the soundtrack to the 1987 Ritchie Valens biopic. Tony told me a great story about that record and I made a mental note to follow up with him and get it down to share here once we got the blog launched. So I did, and here we are! But before I tell you about La Bamba let’s rewind a little.
It was 1980 when Tony started working at Masterdisk — in the mail room. He was a student at FIT, studying photography, and Masterdisk was just a job to help him through school. But it turned out Tony wasn’t in the mail room for long. First it became his job to make 15 ips analog tape copies of master tapes for use in cassette manufacturing. Then he started learning how to master records, and eventually he got to handle some of the “COD” customers — that is, folks who would come in off the street looking to get their record mastered. They weren’t asking for any engineers in particular, so the more senior engineers would let Tony take the gig.
Eventually he would sub for some of the engineers when they weren’t available, which is how the La Bamba job came about. Producer Mitchell Froom wanted Bob Ludwig, who was Vice President and Chief Engineer at Masterdisk at the time, to master Crowded House’s single “Don’t Dream it’s Over” but Bob couldn’t do it, and Tony got the job. And Mitchell liked how Tony’s work sounded. Later on, when Froom was producing La Bamba, he asked for Tony.
Around the time of the soundtrack’s release, Tony had some other important things going on: he was getting married. Before the wedding the first single off the album, “La Bamba”, was getting big in New York, but hadn’t necessarily spread. But when Tony and his wife got to Hawaii on their honeymoon, they found that “La Bamba” had made it pretty far indeed. “We got to Hawaii and it was blasting out of cars…. you’d just hear it everywhere,” Tony said. I asked him how it felt to have just made his first big record — and to find out about it on his honeymoon. Tony said, “It was amazing, it was really something. I felt very blessed.”
Back in New York, Tony said that things weren’t immediately that different for him, despite the fact that the record was huge, “except that when people found out I did the record they would say, ‘oh, that was you?’ — and it would be a feather in my cap.” La Bamba was the number-one album on the Billboard Top 200 for two weeks in September 1987.
Despite its success, La Bamba wasn’t the record that made Tony’s career take off. “I think it really started later with a few other records,” he said, “one of which was the Kris Kross album.” While the backwards-dressing teen rap stars aren’t exactly household names anymore, their 1992 album Totally Krossed Out (Ruffhouse/Columbia Records) went 4 times multi-platinum and made the number-one spot on the Billboard Top 200 twice. But that’s the beginning of a different story…
(Consequently, the Crowded House single was a hit too. It was released in February 1986 and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.)
(Billboard chart positions and sales figures from Wikipedia.)
Since the early 1970’s many of the world’s most famous music artists have entrusted their music to Masterdisk. We’ve mastered records for Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana, Prince, U2 and thousands more. Today we work with major label artists like Jay-Z, Spoon and Dave Mathews, independent music of all genres, and international sensations from Greenland to South Africa every day. And now we’re going to tell you all about it.
Welcome to The Masterdisk Record.
We have six mastering rooms in our NYC headquarters. That means there are a lot of very interesting people coming through our doors on a daily basis. Many of them have unique music, ideas, and visions for the music business. We are a community, always concerned, listening and discussing the future of the recording industry. Contrary to how many people currently view things, this is actually a very interesting time to be a recording artist. I find it ironic that while traditional opportunities are getting scarce, new and very exciting opportunities are on the horizon.
I hope this blog will give you some insight into what we do and what we think about the way the music business is going. And I hope we can shed a little light on what’s coming up next.
We’ll be adding features regularly so bookmark us and come back often!