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Lofiles is a music and mp3 blog contains a collection of songs I love. MP3s are for sampling purposes only. If you like the music as much as I do, please go out and buy the records! .If you have a complaint about the ownership of a track, please contact me directly and I will be happy to take it down ASAP.
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The Eli Janney interview

 

 

Eli Janney is a multi platinum producer/ mixer/ engineer born and raised in Washington DC, learning the art of recording under the masterful ears of Don Zientara (‘Minor threat’, ‘Fugazi’) and working with DC`s finest ( ‘Nation of Ulysses’, ‘Shudder to think’ and ‘Jawbox’ ). Eventually started working as an engineer with producer Ted Niceley. In 1991 has moved to NY to persue a musical career with ‘Girls against Boys’, working on six albums and going out on the road with the band. During that time he was getting into remixing , and remixed groups like ‘Garbage’, ‘Rage against the machine’, ‘Sneaker pimps’. In 2003 he had retired from touring to concentrate in studio life and since then worked with producers like Steve Lillywhite, and bands like ‘The soft pack’, ‘Holly F**k’, ‘Wilco’, ‘Delamarca’.
This is the first of a series of Lofiles interviews. Coming up next: ‘Apse’ and ‘Olafur Arnalds’. 

Q: Do you live in Brooklyn? Are you a family man?
A: Yes, I live in Brooklyn, it’s really the center of music for New York now. Not many people live in Manhattan unless they are still in school or are very rich! And I have two kids.
Q: It`s the weekend. Do you take weekends off while working on projects or do you work straight through?
A: It depends on the project, really. Since budgets have gotten smaller and bands are usually paying it for the recording themselves we usually take the weekend off unless there is an extreme time crunch. Making an album is a marathon, not a sprint.
Q: What are you working on these days?
A: Right now I’m mixing an album by Natalia Clavier, an Argentinian singer working with producer Alex Gimeno from ‘Ursula 100’. It’s a beautiful electronic album with Natalia’s gorgeous singing all over it.
Q: Did you get to see or hear new exciting bands during the CMJ, you know, the type of bands that inspire you, bands you would love to produce or work with?
A: I saw a few, it’s always crazy during that time.
Q: Why do you think Brooklyn became the Mecca of Indie music? When I used to live in NYC and later on in Brooklyn, most music to come out of New York was Hip Hop.
A: Well, basically it’s the only affordable place to live, so all the artists moved there, and then Williamsburg just became the focus of all this intense artistic energy, it’s pretty amazing.
Q: While growing up, when did you first become involved with music?
A: My brother played in bands, I went to the studio a few times while he was recording
Q: Who were some of the bands that influenced you in the past?
A: A lot of UK punk stuff from the early eighties and late seventies, like ‘The Fall’, ‘Killing Joke’, ‘999’, ‘Buzzcocks’, ‘Stiff Little Fingers’, and then all the great DC hardcore bands, ‘Minor Threat’, ‘Rites of Spring’, ‘The Faith’, ‘Fugazi’, ‘Soulside’, ‘Nation of Ulysses’.
Q: Do you play an instrument?
A: I play bass and keyboards
Q: I read in your bio that you had moved to NYC while working with ‘Girls against Boys’, and then, after a long period of time, you went out on the road. Doing what, live sound? If the answer is yes, how did you turn out to be such a remix / studio monster? And how did you start DJ-ing/ remixing?
A: I started working in the studio in 1986, at ‘Inner Ear Studios’ in Washington, DC. Then I played in ‘Girls Against Boys’ from the beginning (1989) through until about 2001. During that time I also worked in the studio and did remixes. I kept moving back and forth between playing live and working in the studio. I finally moved to working in the studio about 5 years ago.
Q: Of the projects/albums/gigs that you’ve been involved with so far – what was your favorite?
A: Impossible to answer, it’s like what is your favorite album! Some of my favorites have been ‘The Obits’, Stephen Fretwell, Nicole Atkins, ‘Jet’, and ‘The Soft Pack’.
Q: What was your most successful project commercially?
A: Hmmmm, hard to say, probably the ‘Girls Against Boys’ album on ‘Geffen’, even though that’s not my favorite album
Q: What would you say you are first and foremost: musician, engineer, producer, re-mixer, other?
A: By my heart I’m a musician first, by my trade I’m probably a mixer
Q: What are some of the best bands that you’ve heard lately?
A: I really like the ‘Obits’ alot, but I made the record so I’m biased! Also, ‘The Soft Pack’, ‘Exit International’, ‘Japandroids’, ‘School of Seven Bells’, ‘Fort Knox Five’.
Q: Do you like ‘The Dodos?’
A: I’m sorry, I haven’t heard them
Q: Do you prefer working on a live band project (guitars, drums) as opposed to more electronic-oriented project?
A: They are both great, as long as the band has a vision and is authentic. I like making raw, real music, it can be electronic or real instruments
Q: What is your involvement with the ‘Wilco’ film?
A: That was a great project. I got a call from my good friend Brendan Canty (drummer of ‘Fugazi’), asking if I wanted to go on the road recording ‘Wilco’. Of course! It was basically a job to go on the road and record six nights in five different venues, using two 48 track recorders-a big job. It was amazing fun, there were seven camera people, both directors Brendan and Christof Green shot cameras as well, and me doing all the audio by myself. We brought all our own mic preamps, and split off all the mics on stage plus setup our own room mics, it was crazy. I had to set it all up and break it all down every night by myself, totally nuts. But I loved it and it sounds great. Brendan did the stereo mix and I did the 5.1 surround mix off his stereo mix with him. That was great fun as well.
Q: Who are some of your favorite producers – the ones that have had the greatest influence on you?
A: I worked with Ted Niceley early on as his engineer, he was a great producer. I’ve also worked with Dave Sardy, Adam Schlesinger and Steve Lillywhite, all very different, I try to pay attention and learn something from every person I work with, whether I’m producing, engineering, or mixing.
Q: When you work with a band on an album, are you there from early preproduction stages, are you there on rehearsals? You know what – describe a typical album production schedule.
A: Typically we do as much pre production as possible, that’s where the producing is done, arranging songs, drums parts, bass, parts, etc. For an album it’s about five days, but maybe less if the songs are really tight. Then we track the basics, hopefully as live as possible, with all the instruments playing together. A band playing together is the best vibe, I’m a firm believer in that approach. Usually about two songs a day but maybe less, then overdubs if we need them, then singing, Probabely another week or more. Then mixing, which is usually a song a day, although I mostly mix in my home studio, I have an analog setup at home that I love to mix through.
Q: When I was producing and doing mainly Hip Hop, I was pressured by the label to sell; it was the main, if not the only objective. How is it with real independent music? I mean, I am sure everybody would be happy to be big as U2, but, what`s more important as far as you are concerned, as corny as the question may be, making an album that will sell, or making a kick-ass, cutting edge album that you`ll be proud of, that might not make it commercially?
A: People want to make a living making music, it’s a noble job to be an artist. But nobody pays for music much anymore. (I think most people feel since big corporations have ripped off artists then they can too?) So the idea of selling huge amounts of records has faded and freed independent music from most of the urge to be commercial, but not entirely. I think being true to your artistic vision still has value, and if you make a kick-ass record it will do well.
Q: What inspires you – what gets you out of bed in the morning?
A: Coffee
Q: At the end of the day at the office – what`s the most important thing for you, what do you hope to accomplish?
A: To create great music. Really, I’ve been doing it for so long that’s the only thing that matters, all the rest is smoke and mirrors.
Technical:
Q: You have said ‘Saltlands’ is your home based studio. Explain why (is it the location / atmosphere/ chemistry with the owners / rooms / vintage, combination of analogue and digital?)
A: Smaller studios live on vibe, and the vibe usually comes from the owners. ‘Saltlands’ is basically a co-op studio, four of us brought all our gear together to form a great studio, technically excellent, but down to earth and not at all corporate. It’s centered around a old Neotek Series 1 desk with a Neve 5112 sidecar that’s been heavily modified by the Purple Audio guys. Of course ‘Pro Tools’, but we’ve also got an Otari MTR90mkII, a Studer A80 1/2″ and 1/4″. Loads of mics from all our collection, a grand piano, Hammond theater organ, Rhodes and an awesome Wurli.
Q: What are your techniques when approaching remixes? Hardware? Software? Do you use ‘Ableton’, ‘Reason’, VST`s a lot? What are your favorites?
A: If I’m doing composing I usually use ‘Ableton Live’, if I’m mixing or recording I use ‘Pro Tools’, they both have their strengths, but right now ‘Live’ is more flexible for composing. As far as plugins, I’m am totally into the ‘UAD’ stuff, their plugins are absolutely the best! I just got the Trident A series EQ, really amazing modeling.
Q: Are you a PC or a Mac guy?
A: Mostly mac, although I hate the whole war like that, just make music!
Q: Do you own special mics, amps, vintage musical equipment, or outboards?
A: I’ve got lots, I love the ‘Vintech’ stuff, I’m been liking my ‘Sytek’ mic pres, and I love the ‘Buzz Audio’ stuff, I use their optical compressor (Buzz Audio SOC 1.1) on pretty much everything I do.
Q: I love what you have done with ‘Holy F**k’. How did you get out a polished, well produced, and great sounding record that at the same time has a kick-ass and raw feel to it?
A: They record all over the place with lots of different people, so their recorded tracks are all over the place sonically. I always want to retain the energy of the stuff they do, it so amazing, and just pump it up! We talk a lot on the phone and over email, discussing all the things they want to highlight. I dirty up the things that need to sound grittier, and EQ the low end, and compress the whole mix!
Q: I love the dry sound of ‘I blame you’. I love the simple funky drum sound and the whole balance and placements of instruments and parts in the mix. Anything to tell us about it
A: That album was done very live, the guitars recorded in the room with the drums, with Sohrab on one side and Rick on the other, so if you stood in front of the drums, it would sound like the real band. Just the bass amp in a closet. We kept the room pretty dry, but not crazy dry, and used alot of the close mics. It was all about the takes on that one, they are amazing together.
Q: Would you mind sharing some recording tips with us, special mic-ing techniques, funky outboard tricks, great-sounding and not so expensive recommended gear?
A: Hahaha, I think keep recording things and learning from trial and error is great. Don’t be afraid to redo a whole song, even if it a pain, do whatever it takes to make it great, except burn out the band, if you do that you’re fucked.
Q: Do you work mainly with ‘Pro tools’? Do you use analogue equipment at all; I mean 24 track machines and boards for the summing bus sound?
A: If the budget allows I track the drums and bass to tape, it makes a big difference for rock music. I mainly work in ‘Pro Tools’ for mixing but I use a Folcrom for summing with either Syteks with Burr-Browns or Vintechs X73i as the preamps.
Q: By the way Eli is an Israeli name, where did you get it from?
A: From my great grandfather! I think they got it from the old testament of the bible.

 

 

 

 

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