Fun Days In A Long Gone Studio

Fun Days In A Long Gone Studio

posted in: News | 0

As a musician I worked in various studios across London. One of them was a dodgy but characterful place called Backstreet Studios on Holloway Road.

Here’s my Top 3 magic moments there:

1. A rock band called ‘Empire’ rehearsed every Saturday afternoon in the hope that they would find the next Freddie Mercury. After three years of auditions they gave up trying. For a laugh their geeky keyboard player pranced around like a Spinal Tap version of Freddie. They became The Darkness.

2. A shy but pleasant musician called Chris booked his band into studio 4. ‘My band is called Cold Play’ he said. After writing it down he jumped in ‘but it’s all one word’. I wrote it down ‘Coldplay’ and thought to myself what a ridiculous name. Two weeks later he rang up to inform us that he’d got a deal. Well done I said. ‘Yeah thanks’ he replied, ‘my dad’s best friend is the head of accounts at Universal’.

3. One Sunday afternoon a band walked past Studio 1 and stopped. They listened at the door for a minute then turned around asking ‘Who in their right minds would do a cover of a Boomtown Rats song and do it that badly?’ I didn’t have the heart to tell them. It was Sir Bob himself.

Fun days in a long gone studio. Backstreet was demolished and replaced by Costa coffee. It’s opposite the Emirates Stadium.

 

This post originally featured on Pete Maher’s facebook page. An ex backstreet customer shared one of his magic moment experiences. This in itself highlights the crazy world of Backstreet Studios:

Elvis Pelvis: Ahh man we had such an awesome time there. Most memorable moment was ‘house engineer’ Chris getting angry with Brett Watterson about something the PA was doing and started to punch himself in the face.

 

Bands that used Backstreet Studios include:

Suede, Manic Street Preachers, Bob Geldof, Saint Etienne, Pulp, Joe Strummer, Ian Hunter, The Buzzcocks, Boy George, Hawkwind, The Damned, Glenn Matlock, Boney M, The Real Thing, Clare Grogan, Keane, Razorlight, Coldplay, The Darkness, The Selector, Madness, Tony Rolfe.

Where Would Taylor Swift Be If She Was The Daughter Of A TATA Steel Worker?

posted in: News | 0

For those of you who missed it, I recently posted this on facebook and it generated a lot of interest (and likes). I would just like to say that I have nothing against Taylor Swift or the music she performs. However, the lack of investment for new artists and small labels in the industry concerns me. A turnover of $62 million in one year for ‘The Corporate Bank Of Taylor Swift’ whilst new talent and small labels struggle to survive is beyond me. So here’s how it panned out ..

Where would Taylor Swift be if she was the daughter of a TATA steel worker? Instead she’s the highest earning artist of 2015 earning a ridiculous $62 million. Amazing what happens when daddy is a ‘hardcore’ financial advisor for the BANK OF AMERICA (the descendant of three generations of bank presidents). Meanwhile the real talent continue looking for a decent gig !!
  • Dean J Well said, and that statement could cost you money and friends in your position. Pete for president! 
  • Jay R The truth from the man there.
  • Axe M Damn right !!!
  • Pete Maher The people in that area of the industry are no friends of mine Dean. $62 million to the ‘Corporate Bank Of Taylor Swift’ and no development deals for new artists. It’s an insult to the future of ‘non manufactured’ music.
  • Brad M Well said that man!
  • David C Well .. She was never under the pressure to get a ‘real job’ and could dedicate every waking hour to her craft for starters…
  • Gaz T Yeah mate, that would definitely help with the old writer’s block…I prefer my artists a bit more earthy and working class anyway! You gotta put something back in.
  • Lloyd P Tell it how it is Pete. The whole thing is messed up. Ain’t what you know…
  • Brett S Well said Pete
  • Paul M Go Pete Go!!! Sickening Nepotism!!
  • Brad M Don’t we just know it!
  • Clements E She’s essentially American Royalty. I don’t have any personal issues with Taylor Swift, however you make a really fair and brave point about a broken industry. It seems that in the past musicians could become rich/famous because of their music. Now it seems more likely that rich/famous people have successful music careers.
  • Pete Maher It’s the lack of investment for new artists that bother me most Clements. Taylor Swift is just the face of the corporate world. She’s won more country awards than Dolly Parton. Doesn’t that seem wrong? 
  • Clements E I don’t think even Taylor would think it was right. I don’t fundamentally disagree with anything you’ve said, I don’t think anyone could. Just remember, music isn’t given value by the investment behind it. It’s valuable for 62 million other reasons that can’t be measured by money. You’re one of the good guys, and that’s gotta be hard sometimes. If the industry was a war you’d be on the front lines. We appreciate you, and the fantastic work you’ve done for us already. So thanks.
  • Pete Maher Money is food Clements and if you don’t eat you die. Without investment good music dies. If you’re happy making music for 62 million reasons without wanting to turn professional then yes that’s fine. However, if you put your life on the line and manage to put a great band together and write an amazing album without anyone showing interest then it becomes soul destroying and destructive
  • Pete Maher And BTW, it now turns out that Taylor Swift has created a ‘Taylor Swift Award‘ and guess who she nominated as the winner? Herself, Taylor Swift.. LOL
  • Peter T I just won the Pete Thompson award…best use of Pete Thompson in a song 2016…I reckon I’ll win it next year too!
  • Greg B I gratefully accept the Greg Boraman Award for being voted the Greatest Greg Boraman from this years list of nominees.. I’d like to thank my manager Greg Boraman, my closest friend Greg Boraman – love u hun’..and last but not least Greg Boraman – for believing in me when I didn’t.. Oh – I’m gonna cry…sorry..I promised myself I wouldn’t ….
  • Pete Maher Summed up by this mighty legend. Mr Dee Dee Ramone ..
  • Daniel P Totally agree!
  • John S I’m curious, from your perspective, wouldn’t you agree the music industry has always been kinda screwed up?
  • Pete Maher Yes and no John, the industry today is different from the industry of the last century. Creative A&R guys have been replaced by accountants, development deals have all but dried up, investment is low. There’s tons of talented artists struggling to pay their rent. They put everything on the line just for a chance at success. Most give up before being heard. The corporate grip on the industry is not good. As for Taylor Swift, I have nothing against her personally. She’s just the face of the corporate world and represents everything I dislike about the industry. I mean, to create your own award and give it to yourself is beyond a joke! As for giving money to sick children that’s good but hey she made $62 million in one year! She HAS to pay tax and as we all know charity is a good way to lose it (especially when Daddy’s a financial advisor). It’s also nice that she lets us all know she gives to charity, UNLIKE Prince who just did it quietly. BTW Taylor Swift is not the only one that gives to charity. McDonald’s are equally boastful LOL ..
  • Daniel P I’m always amazed when these stars say “I give to charity” when we all know that’s tax deductible… wink emoticon
  • Mario R totally agree with your opinion
  • John S But don’t you think there were always lots of great artists who never got a shot? Or did everyone talented get their break in the 60’s? I’d agree it has gotten much worse but it was only great back then if you were one of the lucky few who got a break.
  • Pete Maher Talent doesn’t always get through John, that’s a fact. However when you look back at say the 1970’s it was a well oiled industry run by creative people. It was still tough but investment was good. Look at the music it created. Keith Richard’s recently said that if he / the Stones were young musicians today they’d never make it. Bono said the same thing. It took U2 years – and a healthy long term development deal – to make Joshua Tree. I work in the industry John so I want to see today’s artists given that same level of support. If Miss swift wants to share her $62 million and set up an investment fund for new artists and small labels then I would be impressed but it won’t happen (unless of course there was a huge financial gain involved). 
  • Atmani B In retrospect I understand Kanye West’s move at the VMA awards in 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvaakT52RjQ
  • Pete Maher Yes Kanye’s frustration was raw and honest
  • John S I think it’s fair to say the Stones and U2 probably wouldn’t make it today. Also Taylor and Gaga and Kanye might not have made it in the 60’s. I don’t think any of us truly knows how much of that is down to the artist vs. the industry vs. luck of the draw! Just to be clear I am definitely not defending the corporate interests that control the music business and, in fact, the world! I just don’t see it being tremendously different now than it was back then for the vast majority of artists. A tiny group of talented artists get to be stars and an enormous group of equally talented artists do not.
  • Ray F The artists or bands that usually make it in this business have label money paying for production, video’s, promotion and marketing, radio plugging and touring. The ones who may be skint but extremely talented have to work their butt off busking or playing small unpaid gigs, doing their own promotion and marketing and struggling to pay their bills.
  • Pete Maher I totally agree Ray. This is why investment is so important, not just for now but for the future of ‘non manufactured’ music. I was just a kid in the late 70’s and 80’s but I remember music being vibrant, experimental and funded. In one week you could go see BOB MARLEY followed by CHIC then DAVID BOWIE, then ROXY MUSIC, THE CLASH, THE SPECIALS, HUMAN LEAGUE, MOTORHEAD etc etc. At the same time independent labels were releasing the likes of JOY DIVISION, U2, DEVO, THE SMITHS. John Peel was playing unsigned demos and A&R guys were listening. The charts were full of well written classics. Mods, rockers, punks, skins, rockabilly, two tone, rastafarian’s. This is what happens when money is put back into the industry. It grows and it spreads and it becomes exciting again. Compare that era with now and think about the ‘Corporate Bank Of Taylor Swift’ AKA Taylor Swift earning $62 million in one year whilst new talent is tossed aside and ignored. 

‘I honestly believe that the best music in the world today is either independent or still unsigned. There’s a huge amount of talent out there being overlooked by major labels and that needs to change. It’s time for the industry to dig a lot deeper!’  Pete Maher at the S.A.E. London (Music Producers Forum).

Online Mastering

posted in: Online Mastering | 0

No more watching the clock and paying by the hour and no more making decisions on the spot only to revise them at a later date (for an extra fee). With online mastering the rate is fixed and revisions are included. This is the final stage in production and your last chance to get it ‘sonically’ right before the release. Please read Pete’s Maher’s notes below regarding this service.

 

 

Pete Maher Online Mastering Notes:

I set my first studio up in Camden Town in London in 2002. Back then all mastering sessions were attended and paid for by the hour. Clients would make important decisions on the spot but often call back a couple of days later to make revisions. It could be the length of a gap between two songs or possibly changing the running order of the CD. This would incur extra fees and the session could become quite tense and expensive (no one likes taking a taxi and watching the fare increase whilst stuck in traffic, right?). In 2004 I became the first mastering engineer in London to offer an online service. This allowed me to reach out to artists and labels around the world and within 12 months my work was 75% online. These days it’s almost completely online and is the best option by far. All my work with U2 is online and all my regular work with major labels is online. It’s the one area in production that benefits from everyone taking time to listen to their tracks before signing them off. It’s better for me too as I get to work ‘in the zone’ without distraction. I can then check and review each master before sending them to the client and I can make revisions based on constructive feedback if need be (I usually nail it first time though!).

*A Pete Maher master is warm, dynamic and fully optimized for release. Listen to Pete’s work on this site and check out his amazing rates for unsigned artists and independent labels.

The image below is taken from the U2 supergroup album. This was Pete Maher’s breakthrough project and another online session. The album was a global smash !!

 

Online mastering by Pete Maher

 

© Pete Maher Online Mastering Services 2016