The S&V Interview

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Mike Mettler  |  Oct 09, 2019  |  0 comments
British keyboard maestro Rick Wakeman called us from across the Pond to discuss the current (and future) status of that cherished Yes/ARW collective, why he continues to endorse surround sound and vinyl listening, why he needed to get Brian May’s approval to cover “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and when’s the right and wrong time to wear his signature cape onstage during a performance.
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 05, 2016  |  0 comments
Rickey Medlocke's latest pet project has been to shepherd the next-generation incarnation of his beloved Blackfoot, who have committed their hard-charging sound to the grooves of a new album, Southern Native (Loud & Proud Records), that beautifully meshes traditional tones with modern sensibilities. I got on the horn with Medlocke to discuss the genesis of Southern Native, keeping true to his analog-centric inclinations, and what it was like working with his grandfather Shorty Medlocke back in the early days. It’s a highway song that keeps going on and on...
Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 09, 2017  |  0 comments

15 Minutes with Dirac Founder Mathias Johansson

Mathias Johansson, CEO and co-founder of Sweden’s Dirac Research, has devoted his professional life to developing technologies that improve sound quality—whether that sound is music heard over headphones or car speakers, or an intricate Dolby Atmos soundtrack played over a high-end home theater system. “Our passion is to invent new sound technologies that offer a better sound experience regardless of the sound system,” he says. “We want to be a quality seal for good sound, and we want to achieve this through scientific methods.” If the accolades the Dirac Live room-correction system has garnered among enthusiasts is any measure, Johansson is not only on the right path to elevating sound quality but making tangible progress.
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 19, 2016  |  0 comments
Rik Emmett is an artist who’s always reveled in the creative benefits of teamwork and collaboration. The former guitarist/vocalist of Canadian power trio Triumph has forged quite the formidable and far-reaching solo career since he left the band in 1988, but he’s quite adamant about the all-for-one, band-centric, and exhilaratingly electrifying flavor of RES 9 (Provogue Records), the forthcoming album from his new four-man collective that’s been appropriately dubbed Rik Emmett & RESolution9. I called Emmett, 63, to discuss the sonic impetus behind RES 9’s audio identity, how life experience informs his songwriting, and the ongoing impact of Triumph’s Allied Forces, which was released 35 years ago this past September. “I got a burning heart/I got a hungry soul,” Emmett sings on “Human Race.” RES 9 more than RESolves the pangs of those cravings.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 12, 2018  |  1 comments
Photo: Elliot Landy (1968)

Released 50 years ago this past July 1, The Band's Music From Big Pink immediately set the world of popular music on its collective ear, and it's now being celebrated in a super-deluxe box set that includes a 24/96 5.1 mix of the album on Blu-ray. We get on the line with Band mastermind Robbie Robertson to discuss the secret to the overall intimacy of the Big Pink recording itself, the key elements that make the 5.1 versions of “The Weight” and “Chest Fever” instant benchmark reference tracks, and what Band album he’d be interested in having remixed in 5.1 next.

Mike Mettler  |  Jun 04, 2021  |  0 comments
Whenever we talk about artists who changed the course of rock history who aren't The Beatles, one group with perhaps the most unassuming yet wholly appropriate name tops the bill: The Band. Their homespun July 1968 debut Music From Big Pink literally turned the rock world on its collective ear to such a degree that contemporaries like Eric Clapton instantly renounced their virtuosic "look at me" playing styles and adjusted their thinking toward creating more organic and more authentic music truer to their essential selves.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 26, 2015  |  0 comments
It’s hard to believe, but the eternally youthful blues maestro Robert Cray is celebrating five decades of plying his craft with the imminent release of 4 Nights of 40 Years Live. So, uh, Robert, do you mind if we call you an “elder statesman” at this point in your career? “Well, we’re doing what we do, and I’m having fun doing it. To me, that’s the most important thing,” says Cray. “It’s funny; whenever it’s mentioned that we’re ‘getting up there,’ I always revert back to my heroes — John Lee [Hooker], and B.B. [King] — and I just think about those guys as being ‘the guys.’ I never consider myself as being on the same ship.” Sorry to disagree with the man, but Cray is most definitely onboard with being on par with the masters of the blues art form. I called Cray, 62, at his hotel during a tour stop in the Pacific Northwest to discuss the sonics of 4 Nights, the ongoing merits of vinyl, and why live woodshedding is vital for bands who want to improve. “Oh yeah, there’s been a lot of change over the years,” Cray observes about his storied career. I guess he showed us.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 27, 2017  |  5 comments
Ronnie Montrose. Photos courtesy Bill Towner.

“His guitar speaks for itself.” It’s a phrase that could be applied to many a dominant and influential guitar player of the rock era, but it’s no accident it was also stickered on the front of albums bearing the name of Bay Area guitar legend Ronnie Montrose. Montrose initially made his mark laying down indelible riffs for the likes of Van Morrison (“Wild Night”) and The Edgar Winter Group (“Free Ride,” “Frankenstein”), but when he joined forces with a then-unknown Sammy Hagar to form Montrose in 1973, he shepherded a band immediately described as America’s answer to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, all rolled into one. (“Rock the Nation,” indeed.)

Mike Mettler  |  Mar 21, 2018  |  4 comments
No one had ever seen or heard anything like it before. When Roxy Music released their self-titled debut in June 1972 — ironically enough, on the exact same day their spiritual brother-in-creative-arms David Bowie released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars — the art-school-tempered British sextet instantly ushered in an immediate sea change for both the style and sonic character of an already sagging rock scene...
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 16, 2020  |  3 comments
"See? I told ya!"

It was April 2010, and I was sitting across from Tom Petty in the living room of his home in Malibu, California, where we had just spent a few hours talking about his journey west from Gainesville, Florida in the mid-1970s to the recording of June 2010's Mojo for a Sound & Vision cover feature that would appear later that summer.

Mike Mettler  |  Aug 06, 2014  |  0 comments
Sagacity, definition: Exhibiting acute perception, foresight, wisdom, and sound judgment. Tenacity, definition: Holding together tough and firm, with a tendency to stick or adhere. Two words could not better describe Saga, the longstanding Canadian progressive collective that continues to up its game with every release. To wit: Sagacity (earMusic/Eagle Rock), which crackles with confident energy, from the heavy propulsion of “Go With the Flow” to the anthemic uplift of “I’ll Be.” As an added bonus, Sagacity includes a second disc, Saga Hits, where the band muscles through nine of its best-known songs during a set recorded at the SWR1 Rockarena in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany on June 22, 2013 that includes the perennial powerhouses “On the Loose,” “Humble Stance,” and “Wind Him Up.” Lead vocalist Michael Sadler (with arms folded in the above band photo) and I recently got together to discuss modern-day recording logistics, the fine art of mixing, and some surround-sound wishes. As you’ll soon see, when it comes to having Sadler talk about harnessing great sound, once you wind him up, he can’t stop.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 02, 2017  |  1 comments
The very idea of an Isley Brothers–Santana mashup appears to be quite the sonic dream team on paper, and I’m more than pleased to report the proof is abundantly clear in the grooves of Power of Peace’s baker’s dozen of tasty tunes. I sat down exclusively at the fabled Electric Lady Studios in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City with both families — i.e., the Santanas (Carlos and Cindy) and the Isleys (Ernie and Ronald) — to discuss the best way to listen to Power of Peace, the DNA behind the album’s sonic template, and what each family plans on doing next.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 12, 2018  |  0 comments
Scott Kirkland of The Crystal Method got on the line with us to discuss getting back to his core electronic music values on The Trip Home after parting ways with his longtime collaborative partner Ken Jordan, his thoughts about remixing new and catalog material in Dolby Atmos, and refocusing his goals following brain surgery.
 |  Feb 22, 2017  |  0 comments
“Give the drummer some” is a phrase you hear a lot in this business of ours, and it often refers to shining the spotlight on a band’s timekeeper during a specific drum break or extended solo section. In the case of Free and Bad Company founding drummer Simon Kirke, however, it’s time to give the man different kind of spotlight as steps out on his third solo album, All Because of You (BMG/The End). Kirke and I sat down in an open-air lounge to discuss the making of You, how music can connect you with your kids, streaming, and loving Ringo. The sun and moon are definitely shinin’ on this skinsman.
Jamie Sorcher  |  Nov 25, 2008  |  1 comments

Constructing a theater from scratch in a custom-built home can be a challenge, but remodeling a room in an established home can sometimes be even more demanding.

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