Oct 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Blair Jackson
NEW YORK MIX KING HEADING WEST?
Few mixers have the kind of track record that Tony Maserati has built during the past two decades. He's worked with everyone from Puff Daddy to Destiny's Child (and Beyonce solo) to Alicia Keys to Jay-Z to the Black Eyed Peas to Mariah, Mary J, R. Kelly, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson — you don't have time to hear 'em all!
When former Mix L.A. editor Maureen Droney interviewed Maserati in the December 2001 issue (available at mixonline.com/mag/audio_tony_maserati/index.html), we covered a lot of his early history and some of his specific techniques. In the years since then, he has set up a studio in upstate New York, and he's greatly expanded the type of projects he works on — who would have imagined him working with his Mix cover compadre Jason Mraz, for example? — and modified his approach to mixing (somewhat) as new technologies dictate. This year, he also spearheaded Waves' Tony Maserati Signature Series of digital plug-ins (reviewed in the June 2009 issue) based on some of his favorite custom patches.
For this New York AES issue, we thought he'd be a perfect poster boy for New York City's still vital recording scene — only to learn that he's considering a shift in coasts. Not to worry, New Yorkers: You probably will still be seeing plenty of this favorite son.
I think a lot of people were surprised to hear you're considering a move to L.A. Why are you going?
I like to think of it as broadening my base or making my world smaller. There certainly has been a transition — not just by me — in the recording business out of New York. It's been happening for quite some time. Five years ago, I bought this place in the Berkshires and built a great studio in my barn. My goal was to do 30 percent of my work up here — even if it's just mix prep work. I'm in the country, I've got windows everywhere. It turns out I do something like 85 percent of my work here. There have also been quite a few studio closures in New York City; my home bases are all gone — Hit Factory, where I spent two years in Studio 3; Sony Studio D, where I worked on some great songs. On the Rich Girl project, I did a bunch of mixes at [Troy] Germano's place and it's great — an easy transition to and from my studio. But I think much of what makes the business interesting to me has been retained in L.A. — studio environments where I can chat with my colleagues face-to-face about mixing ideas or baseball scores.
I don't know that I'm going to be a full-time Los Angeles person because I think I'll always have my spot up here.
So you're going to keep that place.
Yeah, I'm going to keep the studio here. I may have to move a chunk of the equipment out to L.A.; it depends on where I hang my hat. I like what's happening out there — a lot of recording going on; guys I know well doing their thing in an environment where you can make deals with studios and camp out for long periods of time, essentially creating a home base. I want that again. And being in a major metropolitan area is definitely beneficial for business. Still, I think down deep I'll always be a New Yorker.
Do you have a place or situation waiting for you?
I've called the Record Plant “home” for pretty much the whole time I've been in L.A. I've spent as much as eight months at a time there.
I didn't realize you'd spent so much time there.
While I was in L.A. waiting to start the Black Eyed Peas record [Elephunk], Ron Fair [producer and CEO/president at Geffen/A&M] had me doing work with Christina Aguilera and a couple of other gigs. Between those and the Peas, I was there a long time. I had also worked at Conway and Enterprise.
With the new way that I work, the sound of the room and the environment are really the two most important things for me because, equipment-wise, I'm either going to bring my stuff or I'm going to rent the stuff I like to make a mix happen.
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