Monday, August 29, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: Michael Carpenter

Introduction from Chia:
I first met Michael Carpenter a couple of years ago when we were both in Amanda Easton's jazz quintet. We've since also worked together on a launch for our other dear mutual friend, country songstress Jo Caseley. I also had some assistance from MC on an.... er.... "unforgettable" George Harrison tribute night that was held at the Vanguard in 2009.
Aside from that handful of meetings, we've actually become mates mainly via interaction on the interwebs, talking about the music that amazes us and the bands and artists of the past and present that inspire us. I am but a Gen X/Y cusper and have MUCH to learn from someone like MC.

I have heard a lot of his work, and the man just intrigues me. A powerhouse of freakish talent and an encyclopaedia of carefully-stored knowledge on the history and production of popular music, all stuffed away in his little shiny head, and manifesting itself in the most prolific and consistent work I've ever heard, week after week, year after year. His work as a producer at Love Hz studios (Sydney) is amazing, and his talent as an artist in his own right is just staggering.

Speaking on the topic this week of mentoring and inspiration, I have begged him to share with us his recent experience. MC, thanks for being my mate, and thanks for sharing your experience with us.

~ Chia


Anyone that knows me, knows that The Beatles have influenced much of my life, and who I am. From a very young age, they became my constant companion. I've learned a lot of stuff through other music i adore. But they're my number one. They have shaped so much of my life. Who I am in many ways. I'm a musician because of them. I make records because of them. I've studied them. I've read everything about them on just about every level. I've followed the solo careers, and Wings are another huge band for me. They have been like a constant friend, inspiration and safe place in my life.

Tonight, thanks to my great friend and mastering guru Rick O'Neil, i got to go out to an informal Chinese meal with a group of about a dozen people, to welcome Geoff Emerick to town for the Integrate trade show happening this week, where he is the main attraction. Geoff was The Beatles' engineer from 1966 on. His first album with them was Revolver... one of the greatest albums ever made, and my favourite album of all time. He recorded Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, bits of the White Album, Abbey Road.. then Band On The Run, London Town, some America albums, No Dice by Badfinger... the list goes on. He's one of the most important engineers in the history of popular music.

I got to sit 2 seats away from him, and we spent a lot of time just talking, during and after dinner. He was wonderful... Generous. Gracious. Open to questions i'm sure he's heard a thousand times before. Open to questions about some of his more obscure achievement. We spoke about modern recording and mixing. We spoke about being decisive (a big part of who I am as a producer... something i learned from reading countless stories about the way he worked). We talked about gear, specific recording techniques, myths, Paul (yeah.. he mean McCartney), work he's proud of and work he's less proud of, stories, snare bottom mics, consoles, compressors, microphones, recording on boats, recording in Africa... you get the idea. It was an amazing conversation.

I don't think i realised how big this was for me until after i got in the car after everyone had left. I was talking to my good friend Chris Murphy, and i was quite overwhelmed by how important THIS MOMENT was. I feel so pleased to be in the position to have this moment. I got to talk to a man whose actions and achievements helped set the course of my life. How often does that happen?

I'm not really sure i have a point here. I'm still numb and happy and buzzing. I'm not bragging... he's probably had the conversation a zillion times, and won't remember me tomorrow. But i doubt i'll ever forget how affirming and happy it made me feel about who I am and what I do.

That's pretty powerful stuff...



  1. Nice one, Michael. As someone who's had the pleasure and privilege of working with you not once or twice, but three times, I know how highly you regard Mr Emerick and his incredible achievements in sound.
    I'm also a Revolver man - my favourite album of the Fabs by a long shot - and even now as I contrast the stereo and mono mixes of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' (surely one of the most ultra-modern pieces of music ever recorded?), I'm struck by just how much of modern recording technology and techniques still seek to emulate the sounds that he captured.
    I'm no gear-head as you well know, but I'm passionate about the sounds I love to hear, and YOU, mister Carpenter, have made three albums with me that I think will stand the test of time, particularly the last one.
    You are, as Chia says, a prolific, talented and generous individual from whom I have learned much. Well done, ol' mate.

  2. (MC has seen it and worked out who you are... lol)