The S&V Interview

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Mike Mettler  |  Jul 05, 2017  |  0 comments
Sonny Landreth is the consummate slide player’s slide player. His smoky, swampy, down-home, Nawlins-certified slide playing carries such a unique blend of influences and originality that the phrase “slydeco” was coined just to describe it. I got on the horn with Landreth to discuss his SQ aspirations for the double LP Recorded Live in Lafayette, respecting and building on music history, and how learning to play wind instruments influenced his guitar style.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 18, 2013  |  0 comments
“That’s the cartridge you want — the one that’ll get you kicked out of the house!” And that’s Derek Trucks, empathizing over the price of high-end audiophile gear, both in terms of how it affects your wallet and your personal life. “I’ve had that conversation too,” he adds with a chuckle. The good-natured Trucks — seen at the center of the above photo, with his arms folded — drenched his sweet-toned slide-guitar stamp all over one of 2013’s best albums, the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Made Up Mind (Masterworks; you can read my 4 1/2-star review of it in the Discs & Downloads section.) Here, Trucks, 34, and I commune over his favorite gear and LPs, how good Mind sounds on vinyl, and its thematic album-closing parallel. (Hint: “Darling, won’t you ease my worried mind” is a line from said album's title track.)

Bob Ankosko  |  Jul 11, 2014  |  0 comments
When someone says “invisible sound,” the first thing that comes to my mind is an in-wall/ceiling speaker hidden behind an inconspicuous grille. ClearView Audio has a different take on “invisible” with its stylish Clio Bluetooth speaker, which uses acrylic glass to create sound. No domes, no cones, except for a tiny 2-inch “woofer” hidden in the base that supports what you might call its sonic windshield. We asked CEO Stefen Bokamper to tell us about this unusual speaker.
Dan Yakir  |  Feb 22, 2003  |  0 comments
When he agreed to direct a sequel to his megahit Men In Black, Barry Sonnenfeld was determined not to repeat himself. "We had to bring back Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, because so much of what made that first movie work was the relationship between them," he explains. "They're like Abbott and Costello. You can't have one without the other . . . there's a karmic thing between these two. The audience likes to see them bicker. The first movie takes place over three days and MIIB over two, so they only know each other for five days—but it looks like they've been together for 30 years!"
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 02, 2015  |  0 comments
Al Kooper has been a mastermind behind the board of many a storied session over his half-century career, but his prowess as a multichannel mixmaster has been largely unheard — until now. Audiophile circles have long been well aware that Kooper had turned in “interesting” 5.1 mixes to Sony for a pair of albums he personally had stakes in — Blood, Sweat & Tears’ trippy big-band-influenced debut, Child Is Father to the Man (originally released in February 1968) and Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Steve Stills’ still influential jam amalgamation, Super Session (July 1968). Both mixes gathered multichannel dust on the corporate shelves until almost a full decade later, when Audio Fidelity released them from captivity by way of a pair of Hybrid Mulitchannel SACDs. Here, Kooper, 71, and I discuss his surround mixing philosophy for both of those classic releases, why he’s not a fan of mono or streaming, and his alternate, Bloomfield-centric mix of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” (on which Kooper played the infamous improvised organ riffs). There are no longer any 5.1 secrets to conceal.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 11, 2018  |  0 comments
Steve Cropper is the king of the song intro and one of the chief architects of the legendary Stax Records sound. To get the scoop on his recorded history, I called the once and forever Booker T. & The MG’s guitarist/producer to discuss the process of going from mono to stereo in the studio, the true origin of Sam Moore’s indelible “Play it, Steve!” exclamation on “Soul Man,” and the compositional sizzle behind the Booker T. instrumental masterpiece, “Green Onions.”
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 16, 2017  |  0 comments
Call singer/songwriter Steve Earle a curator/progenitor of the music movement known as outlaw country, and the man also known as the “hardcore troubadour” bristles at the thought. “You know, I’ve always been kind of uncomfortable with that term,” Earle admits. “I’ve been called that for a long time, and it’s a lot to do with where I came from [San Antonio, Texas]. What I actually think outlaw music is all about is artistic freedom. That’s what it’s really about.”
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 17, 2020  |  3 comments
"I'm a Soundist."

Forward-thinking guitar legend Steve Howe, the maestro of many iconic, nimble guitar riffs that have literally defined a generation or two of aurally challenging songs by the likes of Yes and Asia, is describing his raison d'être. "I'm a sound recorder, in a way," he continues. "I'm like Chet Atkins and Les Paul, who were both sound scientists. They were recording engineers and producers as much as I am, or as much as I hope to be."

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  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  6 comments
"I like to upset people, because it means I'm doing the right thing."

And that, my friends, is Steven Wilson for you in a nutshell. The once and future king of surround sound has taken yet another giant creative leap forward with his new solo album, The Future Bites (Arts & Crafts), which, after a pandemically induced half-year deferral, is finally being released on January 29, 2021.

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