Interviews

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
Tom Fine  |  Aug 22, 2023  |  2 comments
The wall of Gold and Platinum Disc Awards, as displayed at the Gateway Mastering website.

In Part 1 of this interview, which announced that famed mastering engineer Bob Ludwig was retiring, Ludwig discussed his early days as a music-loving student, as a trumpet player, his graduation from Eastman College with a Master's degree in music performance, and how working with legendary engineer and producer Phil Ramone at A&R Studio awakened his interest in how records are made. In this second part, Ludwig talks about how he moved to Sterling Sound, then to Masterdisk, and finally how and why he set up his own studio, Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland, Maine.

Tom Fine  |  Aug 21, 2023  |  7 comments
Photo: Peter Luehr

If album sales, longevity of career, position on the leading edge of audio technology, reputation in the music business, and involvement in many of the most important albums in history are the measurements, Bob Ludwig is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of music mastering.

"I'm an old goat, anyway," he joked during our multiday, many-hours conversation, centered around his recent retirement announcement and his five-plus decades as a mastering engineer.

If Bob Ludwig is the Michael Jordan of music mastering—and the case can definitely be made—then this is big news. I'll repeat it for emphasis: Bob Ludwig is retiring. Ludwig stopped taking new work on June 30, 2023.

Ken Micallef  |  Aug 09, 2023  |  0 comments
Photo by Meredith Truax

23 year-old Samara Joy is the recipient of the 2023 Grammy Awards for best new artist and best jazz vocal album. Her 2022 sophomore outing, Linger Awhile (Verve), is a jubilant celebration of The American Songbook. Her warm, velvet-dark vocal tone, graceful swing sense, and intuitive interpretations provide a master class in classic jazz fundamentals.

Joy owns the past but also the present. On her TikTok channel, "Samarajoysings," she has accumulated 585,100 Followers and 4.3 million Likes. The channel documents performances of such standards as "A Foggy Day," "Guess Who I Saw Today," an a capella "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and a sublime "Round Midnight," delivered in multi-octave glory. Old and new, together. Read that last bit again, about TikTok. That Joy is popular with jazz fans will surprise no one who has heard her music. That she has won such a following on a platform dominated by 10–19-year-olds—mainly by singing 70-year-old songs—boggles the mind.

Robert Baird  |  Aug 02, 2023  |  4 comments
Photo by Reinout Bos

Audio engineers never get the credit they deserve. The same is true for music arrangers, who are also an unheralded but hugely fundamental part of any musical success. As a composer, conductor, and inventive arranger of popular music, the modest but multitalented Vince Mendoza says he's most focused on enhancing the song he is arranging and the story it is trying to tell.

"Young arrangers are very concerned with their own voice and spinning their own melodies and turning things upside down and backwards, and they forget what a song really is about," he told me in a recent Zoom conversation from his home in Los Angeles. "You could be writing about heartbreak, and there are a million and one ways to tell that story, but the listener still has to feel it."

Tony Scherman  |  Jun 06, 2023  |  0 comments
In 2009, Robbie Fulks decided to make a change. For almost 20 years, the singer/songwriter had led a series of hard-hitting country-rock bands across America and beyond, his blistering guitar chops and madcap levity (the latter frequently testing, if not violating, standards of taste) winning him a modest-sized but ardent fan base.

"I was fatigued from what I'd been doing," Fulks told me recently via Zoom, sitting in his kitchen in Atwater Village, a Los Angeles neighborhood between Glendale and Burbank. "Me on acoustic guitar, with electric guitar, bass guitar and drums, that was my sound for something like 13 years. I was so tired of it, I was actually thinking of doing something other than music."

Julie Mullins  |  May 22, 2023  |  2 comments
Even if Darren Myers's name isn't familiar, you still may have heard—or at least heard about—hi-fi components he designed, including the PS Audio Stellar phono preamp, which garnered Stereophile's Analog Product of the Year Award in 2020.

After working on projects for Classé and Bowers & Wilkins, Myers was hired by PS Audio, where he ended his tenure as senior analog design engineer. Myers recently joined Parasound (footnote 1) following the company's acquisition by David Sheriff.

Mike Mettler  |  May 10, 2023  |  2 comments
Few people make albums about isolation and loneliness sound as appealing as John Doe does. That's what Doe has achieved with his latest solo release, Fables in a Foreign Land (LP, Fat Possum FP 18001). Set as a song cycle in the 1890s, the album's 13 songs reflect Doe's penchant for dust-and-diesel storytelling, within an acoustic-trio format. It's "telling stories and playing music around the modern campfire," Doe said in an interview.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 04, 2023  |  5 comments
On a warm day in September 2022, alongside 40 or so press colleagues, I was treated to an advance demonstration of the Dolby Atmos mix of The Beatles' Revolver, at Republic Studios on Broadway In New York City's midtown. Producer/mixer Giles Martin—son of original Beatles producer Sir George Martin—was our host. Giles Martin's demeanor was self-deprecating, and he seemed to know all there is to know about the Beatles and their productions. As Martin played songs from Revolver in surround sound, the assembled group seemed amazed by what they heard.
Tony Scherman  |  Mar 08, 2023  |  6 comments
As Vilray Bolles marched down Manhattan's Second Avenue on a rainy afternoon late in 2014, participating in a demonstration against police brutality, he slipped on the wet pavement, fell hard on his right hand, and broke his pinky. For a guitarist, a broken finger can be a major, if not catastrophic, setback. But the gods were smiling on Bolles. He was, in fact, a lapsed guitarist, having all but abandoned hopes of a musical career, and the universe was giving him a nudge, not just back into music but into a collaboration with Rachael Price, one of contemporary pop's great vocalists, who, when she isn't singing cabaret jazz with Bolles, fronts the headlining rock band Lake Street Dive.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 08, 2023  |  2 comments
Dave Alvin is a fighter. In the 1980s, when Dave and his older brother, Phil Alvin, shared studio and stage as co-founders of Los Angeles punkabilly band The Blasters, they frequently fought each other. They also fought musically, tussling over every note as the four-man band wrangled many great tunes. In that respect, their working relationship may have been similar to the sibling push-pull output of Ray and Dave Davies in the Kinks and Liam and Noel Gallagher in Oasis. Consider "American Music," "Marie Marie," and "Border Radio," all from the band's 1981 sophomore album The Blasters, as examples of how internal conflict can lead to successful collaboration.
Ken Micallef  |  Jan 11, 2023  |  5 comments
Bassist Ron Carter, world-renowned musician and most-recorded jazz bassist of all time, said in an interview for Stereophile's Musicians as Audiophiles that he sees himself not just as a bassist but also as a scientist, forever striving to understand and perfect the sound of his recordings. Chile-born saxophonist Melissa Aldana, a stunningly expressive jazz musician, shows similar dedication to her art, studiously investigating the century-long history of the genre.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 15, 2022  |  1 comments
Jeff Tweedy is an artist who transcends time. Wait—let me clarify that. Tweedy, the multi-hyphenate singer, songwriter, guitarist, and co-producer for the midwestern-bred alt-rocking Americana band Wilco, has spent the bulk of his career creating music that crosses the divides between past, present, and future.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 09, 2022  |  1 comments
Steve Earle was born in 1967. Well, that's not exactly true. Earle was in fact born on January 17, 1955, in Fort Monroe, Virginia, but the singer, songwriter, and master interpreter's musical awakening came in 1967, when he was 12 years old, growing up in his acknowledged hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Jul 06, 2022  |  3 comments
2022 is turning out to be a good year for Lyle Lovett, not least because he is, to use a cowboy metaphor, back in the saddle.

"I've been out of work for two years," he says archly. Normally, Lovett performs more than 100 concerts a year, regardless of whether he's released new work. But the pandemic pinned him down at home in Houston, with his wife and their now–four-year-old twins, in the house his grandfather built in 1911. Domesticity suits Lovett. "There was plenty to do every minute of every day. Absolutely no boredom!" He sounds like he means it; unselfconscious mentions of paternal tenderness bubbled up in our conversation from time to time.

Tony Scherman  |  Jun 07, 2022  |  7 comments
When an icon drops her first album in six years, you sit up and take notice. Bonnie Raitt made her earliest record a half-century and more ago, in August 1971. She was 21 and could easily have been carded; the face on the cover of Bonnie Raitt—that first album—has yet to shed all its baby fat.

Pages

X