The fundraiser to refurbish and preserve an iconic piece of Seattle rock music history, a hand-built 1973 Vintage Neve 8048 mixing board, ends tomorrow, April 19, 2014. London Bridge Studio set up the fundraiser hoping to raise the $75,000 needed to help ensure that this legendary console serves the next generation of artists. With one day remaining to get the public support needed for this purpose, the Seattle Rock Music Examiner interviewed the owners of the studio today, April 18, 2014, to find out why this Neve is so important, and how it made a difference with some of the greatest rock music that has been recorded in Seattle.
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There are many levels of prizes available as a thank you for your help: private studio tours, T-shirts, signed Fleet Foxes LPs, and a signed 3 Doors Down drum-head. A $250 donation will get your name engraved on the refurbished Neve. All donations will go to the studio even if the full goal is not realized.
Many rock stars have recorded on this Neve at London Bridge,including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Fleet Foxes, Blind Melon, and more. Examiner asked the owners of the studio---Jonathon Plum, Geoff Ott and Eric Lilavois--to share with readers some of their favorite memories of recording on the Neve, from the rock musicians they’ve worked with, to the groud-breaking music they recorded.
Jonathon Plum, recalling his work with Blind Melon, said, “I was the assistant engineer at London Bridge during the making of Blind Melon's debut album (titled Blind Melon, released September 22, 1992). This record is a fine example of an authentic London Bridge record tracked and mixed through the Neve 8048. There was very little (in the way of) tricks or effects used during the making of this record. Simply a great band playing live in a great room with a vintage board. The end result is a warm organic sounding record with some classic 90's tracks.”
Geoff Ott, remembering the sessions with Alice in Chains, said, “One of my favorite sessions was working with Alice in Chains. They were always so creative and when they were on, you had to act fast to capture the music that they were creating. The Neve was such a huge part of capturing them in a natural and creative environment, the workflow on the Neve is a very simple and effective way to capture music.
Eric Lilavois described the warmth of the Neve sound: “From the first time I worked on the Neve as a Producer / Engineer at London Bridge, I had a hard time imagining working any other way. The console is so incredibly warm sounding, and a true companion to the live room there. One of my favorite things to do is play a lot of the early 90's records that came out of the studio back over the monitors in the control room and then A/B them to the stuff we’re working on now. It's so fascinating to hear how even though the music or genres have so drastically changed, all the characteristics, the spirit--its right there. That board truly has its own unique ‘sound.’”
Examiner asked, “What will happen if you don’t raise enough money to repair and renovate the Neve the way it needs to be? How will the ‘sound’ in the studio change?”
Eric responded, “Essentially if we are unable to complete this restoration, the board will continue to decline and we will have to replace it, but it's not just about preserving its history, it's also very much so making it available for generations of up and coming musicians, engineers, producers, artists. People have said ‘why doesn’t one of the bands just buy it?’ and the truth is because that completely defeats what we are trying to achieve. We don't want to have this console taken away from the local music community; we don't want it locked up in some private studio, or museum. We want it to remain accessible, and affordable to local musicians.
“Among other things, Geoff, Jonathan, and I are all involved with the recording academy, and a number of other situations and organizations where we envision being able to help educate and engage the next generation in a spirit that celebrates the past and embraces the future. We're not saying let’s keep this thing around to remake Pearl Jam Ten, were saying let's harness that energy and carry it forward, let's maintain a place and its heartbeat, that has been proven to shape some of the most successful and influential music to come out of the region.
“It's also important to note that the direction and focus of the studio has changed over the years, and also with new ownership. The room, the gear, the experienced producers/ engineers, all these things still combine to make us a world class facility, but one that is more focused on the community, on artist development, and maintaining an environment for something really special to happen that has and could influence our culture.”
Watch this video with the owners explaining how you can get your name engraved on the refurbished Neve! With just $21, 515 raised, London Bridge Studios needs your help today, to give the Neve a new future to record more iconic music.