The S&V Interview

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Mike Mettler  |  Dec 09, 2015  |  0 comments
The songwriter’s songwriter is one who adheres to an unwavering standard of excellence. His work is honed, sculpted, shaped, and then reshaped until it feels right to share with the world. These are just a few of the guiding principles Steve Forbert followed while composing the 11 original songs that appear on his new album, Compromised (Rock Ridge). “The art of making a recording a finished product is extremely sophisticated,” he observes. Forbert, 60, and I got on the phone recently to discuss the art of songwriting, how you know when a song sounds as good as it can sound, and how to keep challenging yourself creatively.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 26, 2014  |  0 comments
“I personally like to be surrounded and ambushed by music. I want it to surprise me, and I want it to come from surprising places,” says Steve Hackett, echoing the sentiments of scores of audiophiles the world over. The progressive-minded guitarist has been enjoying accolades for the depth, compositional excellence, and overall live sound quality evident on his Genesis Revisited II 2013/2014 tour — so much so that a number of additional legs, dubbed Genesis Extended, have been added to his touring palette through next spring, at which time he’ll focus his energies on a new solo album release. Of that forthcoming new music, he says, “I like to think about it as a rock album with a difference. It’s very much like having scenes from a film for the ear rather than the eye.” Hackett, 64, and I got on the line a few days before he headed back out on the road for the next leg of the Genesis Extended tour to discuss how to create “inhabitable” music, his personal favorite Genesis surround mixes, and his view of the ongoing viability of the album format. Hadn’t you heard? He’s a supersonic scientist.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 30, 2019  |  0 comments
We got on the line with iconoclast guitarist Steve Hackett to discuss the rudiments of the soundscapes that comprise his stunning new album At the Edge of Light, the importance of physical packaging in the digital age, and, of course, his plans for future solo-catalog-derived surround sound reissues.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 23, 2014  |  0 comments
“Our music has stood the test of time,” observes Toto guitarist/vocalist Steve Lukather. “We’ve had this long ride, and now it’s starting all over again.” Luke, as he’s known to his friends, has an excellent point. Toto, whose members past and present honed their impressive chops as studio musicians, have long been the favorites of audiophiles the world over, best evidenced by the ongoing impact of Toto IV (1982) and tracks like the ebb-and-flow magical rush of “Rosanna” and the percussive continental vibes that fuel “Africa.” (And Toto IV is all the more aurally satisfying thanks to its fully encompassing 5.1 mix, done by Elliot Scheiner on SACD in 2002.)

The band’s international impact has never been greater, as evidenced by the success of Live in Poland (Eagle Vision). Poland, which was shot at the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland while the band was on the road overseas for its 35th Anniversary Tour in 2013, bulleted right to the top of the DVD charts this past Spring (though it is, of course, best experienced on Blu-ray). Poland showcases how Toto is as formidable a collective onstage as it is in the studio. Toto will be hitting the road to co-headline a U.S. tour with Michael McDonald starting August 2. Here, Lukather, 56, and I talk about Poland's success, his ongoing passion for sound quality, and the reasons for the band’s perpetual cultural impact. From where I sit, Toto won’t be passing the reins anytime soon.

Mike Mettler  |  May 28, 2013  |  0 comments

Steve Wynn was right there at the forefront when the alternative music scene exploded in the '80s. As a member of The Dream Syndicate, Wynn helped usher in the movement known as The Paisley Underground.

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 07, 2018  |  1 comments
Photo by Hajo Mueller.

We called Steven Wilson, the once and future king of surround sound, to discuss the differences between mixing live quad for a performance venue and then mixing the same show for his Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall Blu-ray, the importance of creating dynamics and tension release, and how to keep an audience engaged for 3 uninterrupted hours.

Mike Mettler  |  Feb 26, 2014  |  4 comments
Over in Reference Tracks, Steven Wilson, the one true king of transformative surround-sound mixing (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, XTC), and I discuss the building blocks of how he transformed Yes’ groundbreaking 1972 LP, Close to the Edge, into a benchmark 192/24 5.1 mix. It’s as pure and true as you’ll ever hear it on Panegyric’s Definitive Edition Blu-ray/CD combo package. “It’s a bona-fide A-level masterpiece,” Wilson says of CTTE. (The Preacher, The Teacher hath spoken!) Further good news: The venerable surround master has also confirmed more 5.1 Yes album mixes are on the way. All I can say about them at this point is at least one of them was originally released before CTTE, and at least one was released after it.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Apr 05, 2012  |  1 comments
Steven Wilson is best known as the founder, lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter of the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, but he’s becoming the go-to man for remixing classic rock recordings into 5.1 surround for DVD and Blu-ray. His recent solo album, Grace for Drowning, proves he’s just as adept in creating new music that fully exploits the surround soundscape.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 10, 2016  |  0 comments
He’s a man who’s been everywhere and done it with everyone, and lived to tell the tales. He’s Dave Stewart, the production wizard best known for his indelible partnership with Annie Lennox in the uber-popular ’80s electronic duo Eurythmics. His new memoir, Sweet Dreams Are Made of This – A Life in Music (New American Library), was released on February 9, and it chronicles his wonderful life, and especially the fine sonic fruit born of collaborations with artists including Tom Petty, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Joss Stone, and Stevie Nicks — the list could go on and on. One of the keys to Stewart’s success behind the board is how he’s able to tap into, as he puts it early in the book, “experience and experiment,” two important touchstones for him as a creative person. “I suppose it’s not being afraid to dive into the most wild and interesting situations, just to see what’s going to happen,” he admits. Stewart, 63, and I got on the horn to discuss how to capture great vocal performances, his benchmark albums for great sound, and his futuristic view of streaming. Who am I to disagree...
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 11, 2017  |  0 comments
Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews

I had the privilege of interviewing the late Tom Petty for Sound & Vision on three separate occasions. In these previously unpublished back-and-forths culled from my sitdown with Tom in Malibu in 2010, Tom tells me how The Heartbreakers truly got their start, how the band worked together to create new material, and shares his hopeful thoughts toward the band’s future.

Mike Mettler  |  Jan 14, 2015  |  3 comments
“Once we had dipped our toe in the water, it set us on a course to have a much bigger, much more robust, and not-so-introspective sound.” Roland Orzabal is describing the veritable aural sea change he and his Tears for Fears creative partner and bandmate Curt Smith underwent while recording Songs From the Big Chair, the 1985 followup to 1982’s The Hurting, their highly influential minimalist electronic-music confessional debut platform. In celebration of the album’s 30th anniversary, Mercury/Universal has released a six-disc Big Chair box set that includes scores of demos, alternate takes, live sessions, and a documentary DVD, but the no-contest audiophile grail is Disc 5, a Blu-ray containing the 96-kHz/24-bit surround-sound mix of the original album done by none other than the super-guru of 5.1 himself, Steven Wilson. “I love this mix,” says Smith. “You get a far greater spectrum of sound, and the low end is definitely improved.” I recently got on the horn across the Pond with Orzabal and Smith, both 53, to discuss the benefits of listening to Big Chair in high-res and what they’d like to do next in 96/24 and 5.1 (hint: the Seeds have been planted). Funny how time flies.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 07, 2018  |  5 comments
The Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent, got on the line with us to discuss the sonic impetus for his new album The Music Made Me Do It, the never-ending importance of capturing the right guitar tone, and the connection we all have with where and how music itself ultimately originated.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 10, 2019  |  0 comments
Mike Peters of The Alarm called us to discuss the band's deeply affecting new album Sigma, how the vinyl revival reconnects you with your music-seeking instincts, how a good producer acts as a creative compass, and how The Alarm’s approach to songwriting and song structure set them apart from the pack.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 20, 2016  |  0 comments
It’s an intriguing concept: Get a number of recordings artists who made their initial impact in the 1980s to record new music in the style of that decade for Fly: Songs Inspired by the Film Eddie the Eagle (UMC), an album to accompany a movie directed by Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service) and starring Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton about the titular, underdog British ski-jumper who gave his all at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Among those up for the challenge were Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys of OMD, a.k.a. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, who collaborated with project coordinator Gary Barlow on a vibrant throwback track, “Thrill Me.” McCluskey, 56, called from across The Pond to discuss the genesis of “Thrill Me,” why electronic music continues to thrive and how OMD get modern/retro synth sounds, and wrestling with the concept of streaming. It’s the ultimate discovery.
Kim Wilson Photography: Rob Hart and Revo Reese  |  Feb 12, 2009  |  8 comments

We all know that California has it own unique car culture. Here a person's automobile and their personality are often closely aligned. One homeowner loved their Bentley so much; they couldn't get enough of it and choose it as the theme for their dedicated Home Theater.

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