Dave Morrison, Founder of IsoAcoustics hosts Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Eddie Kramer. Eddie to talks about how he has changed his ways to work remotely and shares stories of Jimi Hendrix.
Eddie recently moved to a new home in Prince Edward County and talks about setting up his new home studio where he now connects with his clients remotely. Eddie uses Listento from Audiomovers which allows him to connect with his clients around the world for live recording and mixing with no latency.
Eddie talks about the new documentary of Jimi Hendrix in Maui called Music Money Madness and shares stories of Jimi Hendrix. Eddie and Dave recount an event held at technicolor where Eddie played the newly released Hendrix album in 5.1 Eddie gives us an update on his book that he is working on titled From the Other Side of the Glass.
Dave Morrison (DM): Hi, Eddie! Thanks for joining me today! It`s always a pleasure to see you! How`ve you been?
Eddie Kramer (EK) (Eddie): I`m here! I`m still breathing!
(DM): (laughing) Oh, that`s good!
(EK): !`m…I`m living in Prince Edward County, and it`s a beautiful thing. And my wife and I are very happy here. I`ve my little studio. You can see some of the stuff behind me, and…
(EK): Yeah, it`s…it`s…it`s working. I mean it`s…the way of the world, you know. I did a 180 degree pivots… Uh, probably… Well, let`s see…COVID came in…I remember very clear. I was at Namm Show, and then I came back to Toronto, then went back to LA.
(EK): And my last gig there was in February. I was doing some more Hendrix staff
(EK): I don’t think you may have heard of that guy but anyway…
(EK): And then COVID came… This whole bloody thing hit my whole world…our world…music world was shut down and…I had to figure out pretty quickly as to … I mean I knew about people doing staff online but it never really entered my world so much
(EK): And I did a lot of research, and I called up a few friends. And I heard about this thing called Audiomovers which is two guys who used to work for Waves… Of all places of course, Waves. We see a couple of smart pieces and there
(EK): and they came up with this program! And I checked it out and I said, “Wow, this is a game-changer!” because there`s almost zero right latency
(EK): And I gradually started to build up my own studio thing – couple of speakers, and headphones, and a laptop. The good news was that I have a very different …right now I`m in partnership with Jason Boardwas. He has a studio down in Toronto. Actually, he has three studios in the same building. And…um…very bright young man! And he hooked up so that his partials system and mine all became sort of locked up…and then I started to reach out to people who were sending me emails “hey, could you mix this for us?” And then…all of a sudden…it just exploded! And the coolest thing we did…we started…we did this session with the band called the Black Moods. It`s a great rock band, great guitar player by the way, fantastic Josh Kennedy! The whole band is fabulous.
They were based in Tempe, Arizona. They had a warehouse where they kind of live part of the time. And they had a truck and a trailer, and a whole thing with all their gear… they actually… their front of the house guy was into pro-tools. They set up their whole thing that they recorded most out of the home. I mean they were jumping up the show. Let them have ten years these guys. You know, there is no ordinary way at success, right?
(EK): And I said, “Look, we want to record, and we are going down to our manager`s house down in…Missouri someplace. Right, I said, you`re gonna go there…let`s bring all this staff, and we`ll set the band up there. And we did three days of live recording. Me in Toronto, my engineer down in his studio, and them down there. Everything was synced up, low latency!
(EK): So, that mike, move that, let`s see your mike…blah, blah, blah And we were just working it. And we cut the tracks, we overdubbed, and then… they went away to do whatever they did on the road… … I mixed in the box
(EK): … with my partner Jason. We sent it to them. They listened, they got back to us, “Hey, you know, can you do…blah, blah,blah….” And sometimes they were actually watching the mix go down in real time.
(EK): That is my world in a nutshell!
(DM): So, you are not just mixing, you can actually do the tracking, sessions and everything like you are just on the other side of the glass!
(EK): Yeah! It`s fabulous!
(DM): Startling! That is fantastic! The…I saw just very recently that documentary came out…Money, Music and Madness?
(EK): Oh, Music, Money, Madness!
(DM): Sorry, sorry!
(EK): Well, yeah! You can say it any way you want!
(DM): The three Ms! (laughing) And also the Life From Maui…came out which I just heard recently. And the really fascinating thing about that is…what is it … six weeks before Jimi`s passing. You know, we can hear his guitar voice at the time …. you know, walk… moving away a little bit from … you know, the Foxy Lady period into the things he was going to. And of course, he was trying to get back to the new studio that you and John were building for him. So, it`s kind of really interesting snapshot.
(EK): Yeah, you probably mean John Stark
(DM): John Stark!
(EK): Yeah, yeah, yeah
(EK): Yeah, it`s a very fascinating story because what we`ve been working on just recently is a documentary as you all know about how this all came about. But if you look three weeks before Jimi went to Hawaii to do this big show, say, in Honolulu. It was a massive! 13, 16 thousand people. I mean in those days Jimi was making about a hundred thousand plus per show! And that was an enormous amount of money in 1970, right? A hundred thousand there was probably worth what? 250-300 000 bucks a day standard? Whatever!
(EK): And it was a great show apparently. And I was back Electric Ladyland. We were doing mixing and whatever. So, that 3 week period just before we went out to Hawaii we were in the studio together. We cut tracks, we overdubbed, we mixed, we did a whole bunch of work. I mean it was a part of the Cry of Love.
(EK): Yeah, we were working on. Then he gets to Hawaii… there`s the show, and then his manager says to him, “Hey, Jimi, listen! We are going out to Maui. You want to come with us and hang out, you know, we`ve got a little concert we want you to do? And he conjured me in to go on everything!
(EK): Okay, fun, they thought the band, the experience, well, this is part of our vacation because this was their vacation time! All right! They sell the Billy good, so they arrived at the end and he says “Yeah, ok, fine, I`ll do it”, you know…he didn`t want to cause any grief … but in the end he enjoyed playing because you can…when you watch the video, he`s having a good time! He`s communicating the audience, he`s laughing, winking like you know. And he`s playing the Banner in fantastic shape! And…two shows were recorded. How the hell they recorded, Lord knows! Because there`s 65…that`s about 70 km winds blowing. When you look at the shots of the microphones … there is about bush mass microphone
(DM): Yeah (laughing)
(EK): Some of the sounds suffered a little bit. Jimi`s guitar sounded okay, bass was okay, his vocal was a little muffled. I mean you have everything was inside this piece of foam – all underwear, and socks, God knows what they were wearing!
(EK): But the cool thing is we … they did record two shows. Now these knuckleheads who were doing the movie …. All right, you are there to film Jimi Hendrix. You would have thought somebody would have said we need plenty of film … They ran out of film after seventeen minutes!
(DM): Oh, my!
(EK): That`s it!
(EK): But the guys with the tape machine … they were cool! So, what I ended up doing for this Maui release was a mix of two shows. And they actually sounded pretty darn good! I mean, a band, a playing, right!
(DM): Yeah. No it really, it really sounds good! You had to come back later to do something with Mitch Mitchell, I think, with the drums, so
(EK): The one thing I really did suffer unfortunately were the drums. If I think out of all the performances … maybe … 30- 40 percent of them were okay. Sound was with a lot of me tweaking music … every tool in the box.
(EK): every out of the box analog and digital trying to make this stuff work.
(EK): We got that to sound good but when…when… Mitch and I listened to the tapes when they came back. And we sat down and said, “Man”… And he looked at me and he says “Yeah…” I think I need to go in and overdub. So..
(EK): But this was two months after Jimi died. I mean we could… There was just no way emotionally we were ready to…
(EK): Go to the clock now… Okay, when you walk into the extra play … if you’ve been there … you walk down the hallway which joins the two studios and on the left side there’s a … I think must be 20 of these built-in closets. And the first two nobody touched. I had the key. And the management studio had the key. And that was Jimi`s tape blocker.
(EK): And it took every ounce of mental…
(EK): So okay, we got to open it up, take the tapes out, put them on and listen… Okay, fine!
(EK): And so when we did, we … we just felt we got to do this and we booked time. Mitch sat there with a video … a Moviola
(EK): This 16 millimeter film showing. He would watch it … watch his performance, listen to it…a couple of times
(EK): And I would roll tape. One tape, maybe two, at the most. And he played all the way through a song
(DM): Wow, yeah
(EK): With the exact films, I mean… Wow!
(DM): Yeah… No, it’s transparent in the… in the… on the album. That’s fabulous! What … what’s your space like there? What do you … this is the space that you work in right now where … where you’re sitting today.
(EK): It’s like 10 by 10 room kind of
(EK): I’ve got two uh Dyno audio speakers. I want to get um I’m waiting to get my ATC 25 which is really what i would like to use. But now, you know, I was working with Capital Studios just the last few days, and my engineer out there uh… Chandler … he has … oh yeah, we’re studio C … studio C, studio B. I know they will have ATC 25s which is my normal way of working
(EK): What he was hearing there and what I was hearing here, there was not that much difference. I mean I was very lucky, you know, it translated pretty well. Look it’s not a pro studio but as long as who’s ever on the other end and listen and say with that okay, that’s cool
(EK): I’m in!
(EK): All I have is a laptop. Now once I hook up with Jason we’ve got racks of outboard gear which I use to integrate into this where we need it. I also have a tape machine there. You know, that’s probably there’s a … there’s a big investment now we’re sitting there that we can add a moment’s plugging right into the mix
(DM): Yeah… yeah and you’re working even … even now out of this …uh… out of this setup. This is your… this is it, this is your connection to the world.
(EK): Yeah, I mean, obviously I’m going to keep modifying, you know. I’m going to put, you know, bass traps in and all that but I mean literally we’ve … we moved here a month ago. The studio just got set up about a week and a half … two weeks ago. And here we are! We’re rocking.
(DM): Yeah… any projects you can talk about?
(EK): Um, well…There’s always work to be done with the Hendrix family. Always, there’s always something we’re working on and we’re currently doing that.
(EK): It never seems to stop. I mean we stopped for a while because of this COVID thing
(EK): And now I’ve got the family excited about working in this manner and I think they’re ready for it.
(DM): Fantastic, and so that connection you told me about just moments ago… is the way that you connect outside and… and can continue to work
(EK): Yeah, it’s necessary because I’m not going on a bloody plane
(EK): xxxxx Yeah but the good news is that …uh… we can work, you know… This is …this is where it’s at. The world has changed. Whether or not we will go back to the way it was, I don`t know.
(DM): Who knows? Listen, I guess it was about two years ago we did that thing at …uh… Technicolor. That really nice surround space and… uh, you know, the…the Electric Ladyline was just out, and you… you …uh… introduced that to that small group of people that …uh… we heard that, you know, for people like me that knew every note, we knew …we knew every swell in every pan. You just recreated that in that…in that 5-1 format. It was absolutely fabulous! But what really added to that was all those pictures that you showed, and the stories that you told as well. Now you got a… you got a book you’ve been…
(EK): Yeah, I know
(DM): Where is that?
(EK): You know, the move and everything has been tough. Trying to get back into that but I am…
I’m nibbling away at it…
(EK): Uh… we hope to…I mean if I can finish the book early… by early spring. But we want to start working on the movie…uh… get the book published, start working on the documentary… From the Other Side of the Glass, that’s what it’s called.
(EK): And uh…yeah I mean it’s …it’s… it’s a strange new world …uh… and I… and this crazy thing is I get as many calls as I had before… I’m still getting them and maybe…and different ones from different parts of the world because people are at home. They go “Hey, I’ve got this song can you mix it for me?”
And I am “Well, you got the budget… um… and the song sounds okay I’ll give it a little
(EK): So yeah… and… and I have to say “Thank you!” for the… as they say in Japan – “Arrigato!”
(DM): Oh, wonderful! Now that`s great! Now your commute is so much shorter to your work,
and so your day is
(EK): Just sort of stumble out of bed, roll over… Hera I am, you know. Listen I got to go because I got another person coming in on the line, so
(DM): Thank you so much for your time, Eddie! I always enjoy talking to you and uh…
(EK): Let’s do this again! We’ll talk about some other stuff. Let’s make a time after we celebrate so we can do some more stuff maybe after Christmas…