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NPR Interview with Dave Grohl, Neve 8028 console

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by DonnyThompson, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    A few years old, but a very cool interview all the same.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/03/08/173823162/dave-grohl-finds-musics-human-element-in-a-machine

    The subject of this very short interview is centered around the 1973 Neve 8028 console that he purchased from Sound City, when the famous studio finally shut the lights off for good in 2011.

    I think that Grohl should be commended - not only for saving a piece of music history - the list of albums that were recorded and mixed through that desk is incredible - but also that he still uses it. Personally, I'm glad that the console is still being used, as opposed to becoming an inanimate museum piece, protected and untouchable behind a glass barrier, or worse, bubble wrapped and stored in some dark, dank warehouse somewhere.

    Excerpt from the interview:

    "When I first got the desk we had to clean it out; there was like 40 years of cocaine and fried chicken inside..."

    LOL - who knows? Maybe that was the source of that magical sound. ;)

    Anyway, enjoy. ;)

    -d.
     
    thatjeffguy likes this.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The more I listen to Dave, the more I like the guy. He just seems like a nice boddy, passionate about music and sound, who doesn't fall into arrogance.
    He just sounds like the nicest guy in the industry ! ;)
     
  3. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    hear hear.....the music that was made on that board was like a soundtrack to the times...

    - and to think it could have been lost before Nevermind was recorded there too...its great that he is keeping the legacy alive as opposed to it being broken up or moth-balled
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Shortly after the movie came out, Grohl took some heat, from a statement he'd made at that year's Grammy's:

    “ To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do…
    It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”

    Somehow, digital audio geeks the world over took instant offense to this comment, taking it as a slam against those who worked on DAW's.
    Personally, I didn't take it that way. As a guy who learned and came up through the ranks in the analog age, and who now pretty much uses a DAW platform exclusively, I didn't see the insult.

    He never said digital was "bad". He didn't say that people who use DAW's are bad people. And, he wasn't "throwing rocks" at ITB'ers, either. He was simply saying that the music is what matters most, and that the "magic" comes from the performances - those true, artistic, musical performances - that come from the heart, and from the talent and skill of the person performing, and not through the editing or creation of "false" performances or "faux talent" that is created through pitch correction, editing and other forms of digital manipulation.

    He wasn't slamming digital audio, but was expounding on the benefits of the analog age, a time when musicians played together in the studio, forming a kind of magic that you simply can't get if you're just one guy recording into a computer.
    And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit to being one of those guys. I do a lot of recording, usually on my own material, where I play all the parts myself. So yes, it can be done. But, I'd also be the first to admit that I prefer working with other talented musicians, who I can tap for creativity and what they can bring to the table. Those talented cats who can perhaps hear things a bit differently than I do, or who can offer up a great part that I wouldn't have ever thought about on my own.
    This scenario is also where those cool little "imperfections" can happen.

    And quite often, those little imperfections are what makes a song. "Perfect" isn't always pleasing, and these days, the "human element' of music that Grohl was talking about, often seems to get lost in the quagmire of digital processing and correction.
    How many songs have we heard where we KNOW that the "artist" couldn't sing a note, not if they tried - yet through digital processing, they're made to sound like they can sing.
    That's not musical skill, it's not talent, and, it's not music, either ... at least not to me, anyway.

    My favorite example of "perfect imperfections" is of the Rolling Stone's Gimme Shelter. There's a section in the song where Merry Clayton is absolutely crushing her part, singing the line "Rape, Murder, it's just a shot away, it's just a shot away.."
    And on the third time she sings that phrase, her voice cracks in a gorgeous, exquisitely painful, passionate way on the word "Murder". That's a "perfect imperfection", a moment in time where her human element blazed through in a glorious light.
    If you listen, tucked way back, just after that note, barely audible, you can hear Mick Jagger's response to her cracking... he shouts "wooo!" because he heard it too, and obviously loved it. To this day, I still get goosebumps when I hear her voice break on that part. Capturing those moments is like catching lightning in a bottle. Clayton might not have even been able to do that if she tried to do it. It just happened, and was a "mistake" that hammers home the passion of her performance.

    Her voice breaks at 3:06. Start listening at 2:50 or so...





    So... the question is ... would that beautiful, passionate 'crack" remain in a mix today? Or would it be edited out and replaced with a copy/paste of an earlier "perfect" version of the word, by some anally-retentive engineer who loves to edit stuff like that out, all in an effort to achieve "the perfect" performance??

    The other thing I miss about the analog age was the finite amount of tracks available. There wasn't the endless amounts of tracks available like there is now. Having limitations isn't always a bad thing. In the case of recording, it forces you to make decisions about what stays, what goes, and, it forces you to perform at your best.

    There was a section of the movie, where Trent Reznor was interviewed; and this is a guy who has certainly taken full advantage of modern technology - and he says:
    "Has music gotten any better now, with the technology now available to anyone? Not really. There's actually even more garbage out there now than there ever was, because the capability to record has become so cheap and accessible to everybody; so now anyone with a computer, mic and soundcard can record and release a "song", and most of the time, it's just terrible stuff, and that's because it's being recorded by people who not only have no musical talent, they also have no skill for engineering, either. These people have no business writing, playing or recording music to begin with..."

    FWIW

    -d.
     
    bouldersound likes this.
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Yep. For the record, it's Merry Clayton.
     
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Thanks for the correction, Boulder.

    Fixed. :)
     

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