Steve Brown has worked for many years as an artist, composer, sound engineer and producer. He worked with Corinne Bailey Rae as engineer and co producer on the Mercury nominated ‘The Sea’ album, and more recently engineered and co-produced the EP ‘The Love EP’ with Corinne which was recorded during the worldwide tour to promote ‘The Sea’
The very morning I had arranged to visit Steve, the news had come through that Corinne had won the Grammy for the best R&B performance at the 54th GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles. The award was given for her performance of the Bob Marley song ‘Is this love’ which was the first single from ‘The Love EP’. I asked Steve if he had spoken to Corinne since the announcement. “I have yes, she’s elated. It was unexpected, that EP was a side project, some fun, I don’t think she really knew it would reach people in that way” The EP was recorded during ‘the Sea’ promotional tour as Steve explains;
“We had a bit of down time from the touring schedule for about a week which we spent at the studio in Leeds, then we had a few days in Amsterdam tracking in a facility called ‘Studio 150’ which is run by a lovely guy called Peta who’s been there since the ‘80s … the mic cupboard there is unbelievable; and a lot of work on the road in hotel rooms during the tour during July and August 2010. ‘Is this love’ was mixed by a mix specialist in Atlanta Georgia, a guy called Phil Tan who’s brilliant. He does a lot of hip hop stuff, real big soul mixes.”
I asked Steve if he found it weird having someone else mixing what he had recorded, “yes it is kind of weird because it is your baby, you’re so attached to it, you’ve been living with this piece of music for potentially a year or even longer and you’re putting it in someone’s hands who’s never heard it before, and they’re making final decisions, it is quite unnerving … you’re so attached to every stage … but at the same time I think it’s very important to realise that your work is done when you get to a point on a production where you’ve recorded it, you’ve presented your ideas, you’ve got it sounding how you know you want it to sound. At that point it’s very healthy to give it to someone else to mix.”
Steve goes on to describe his approach to recording, his love of analogue tape machines and analogue gear in general, and how this traditional approach can be blended with the convenience of digital audio systems.
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