– Panel featured Boulanger, Peter Doell, Jack Douglas, Shelly Yakus and CJ Vanston –
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Section of the Audio Engineering Society recently held its monthly meeting on November 29, and attendees were treated to a hands-on, all-star panel, “The Producers: From Melodies to Masters.” The panel featured noted mastering engineer and studio violinist Eric Boulanger (Green Day, Hozier, Selena Gomez, Colbie Caillat, OneRepublic), founder and proprietor of mastering facility The Bakery, along with Peter Doell (mastering engineer: Miles Davis, Toto, The Replacements, Dwight Yoakam), Jack Douglas (engineer and producer: The James Gang, Alice Cooper, John Lennon, Aerosmith), Shelly Yakus (co-founder and chief engineer, AfterMaster Audio Labs; engineer/mixer: Stevie Nicks, Van Morrison, Tom Petty, U2), and CJ Vanston (producer/composer/arranger/mixer/engineer: Joe Cocker, Toto, Spinal Tap, Prince, the films of Christopher Guest). The event was held at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center.
The panel’s program traced the progress of producing a record all the way from the writing of a song, its pre-production, basic recording and “sweetening,” through the mixing and the mastering. Rather than focusing on the role of the “Guy Wearing the Producer’s Hat,” the discussion paid special attention to the skill sets necessary for each link in the chain, and how technology has dramatically blurred these elements and how a growing number of people are mastering the art of recording to produce their own material. Lucky attendees had their own work played on a specially prepared sound system for the audience to hear and for the panel to critique. Among the discussion’s highlights was Boulanger’s treatise on vinyl pressing, culminating with the playing of an actual pressing he had recently done for k.d. lang.
These five individuals were not strangers, and in fact their projects have often overlapped. Vanston noted, “So many good friends out there [participating in this panel]. We have such a strong audio community here in L.A. One of the points I made is that I’m not as passionate about sample and bit rates or the latest mod on a 50-year-old microphone as I am about retaining the brain trust of legends like these guys and passing the baton to the next generation. Eric is a younger engineer, and I spoke with some younger attendees, and I left with a hopeful feeling from their dedication and sheer love of what they do.”
Boulanger added, “It was a thrill to give my perspective alongside these other pros. We had a great conversation, and I think all of the panelists, along with the attendees, left the session having learned something new that we’ll all bring back to our work. Thanks to Pete and the AES Los Angeles section for having me be involved.”
About Eric Boulanger