THE S&V INTERVIEW

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Bob Ankosko  |  Apr 19, 2017  |  6 comments
15 Minutes with HDMI Forum Chairman Chris Pasqualino

When HDMI hit the scene in 2003 it was welcomed as a godsend, enabling enthusiasts to replace a rat’s nest of audio and video cables with a single connection. The specification has evolved steadily over the years to keep pace with the ever-changing AV landscape and encountered a few bumps along the way. In January, the HDMI Forum announced Version 2.1, a forward-looking upgrade of the current HDMI 2.0b spec. We recently caught up with HDMI Forum Chairman Chris Pasqualino to learn about the implications of HDMI 2.1 now and in the future.

Mike Mettler  |  Apr 05, 2017  |  0 comments
With Genesis essentially in the rearview mirror save for reissues and other archival material, Mike Rutherford, the consummate songwriter/guitarist/bassist, has focused his energies on ensuring Mike + The Mechanics remains a going concern. To that end, Rutherford and his Mechanics have collectively tinkered under the hood to engineer the quite-fine-indeed-sounding Let Me Fly (The End/BMG), out on April 7. Rutherford, 66, called in to discuss his approach to Fly, how he thinks you should listen to it, and why he no longer sings his own material.
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 22, 2017  |  0 comments
Chilly Gonzales (seated) and Jarvis Cocker. Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon.

Let us now give praise to the power of the almighty song cycle that comprises Room 29, a decidedly thrilling 16-track treatise jointly concocted by vocalist/lyricist Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp fame) and composer/pianist Chilly Gonzales (Feist, Peaches, Daft Punk) in and around a baby grand piano located in the same-numbered room on the second floor of the famed Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Gonzales called in from his room across the Pond to discuss the sonics of Room 29, his and Cocker’s “reverse” song-cycle writing process, and how (yes) Gilligan’s Island fits into the middle of it all.

Mike Mettler  |  Mar 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Paula Cole has always been an artist with a singular vision, and she’s still on point to this day. In celebration of the recent 20th anniversary of This Fire, Cole re-recorded the majority of the album live on May 1, 2016 at The City Winery in New York, along with revised/new studio versions of “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait” for release as This Bright Red Feeling on her own label, 675. Cole and I got on the line to discuss her original production goals for the sound of This Fire and its re-recording, working with Peter Gabriel, and her thoughts on streaming.
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.
 |  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.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 10, 2017  |  2 comments
Neal Morse is a busy man. The former Spock’s Beard vocalist/keyboardist found much great success after embarking on a long and fruitful solo career 15 years ago. Morse also runs his own label, Radiant Records, and he somehow finds the time to front two other sonically adventurous progressive-leaning bands, Transatlantic and Flying Colors. Before venturing across the Pond for an upcoming European tour in March and April, Morse called me from his home studio in Nashville to discuss how the journey of how The Neal Morse Band's new double-disc release The Similitude of a Dream came together, where you can find the album’s special “yacht rock” moment, and why he just can’t get behind the concept of streaming.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 30, 2017  |  1 comments
15 Minutes with WiSA President Tony Ostrom

Tony Ostrom, president of the Wireless Speaker & Audio Association talks about the past, present, and future of high-resolution wireless audio technology.

Mike Mettler  |  Jan 25, 2017  |  1 comments
Uriah Heep burst onto the music scene at the dawn of the 1970s, and their heavy-but-melodic sensibilities instantly catapulted them into the hard-hitting Brit-rock fraternity collectively known as The Big Four, placing them right alongside Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. A full-bore Uriah Heep reissue series is now underway, having commenced late last year with the two-CD set Your Turn to Remember: The Definitive Anthology 1970–1990 (BMG/Sanctuary) and followed by the band’s first two albums — namely, 1970's ...Very ’Eavy ...Very ’Umble and 1971’s Salisbury — with scores of bonus tracks to boot. I got on the horn across the Pond with co-founding Heep guitarist Mick Box to discuss the ins and outs of putting together the Anthology, how the band recorded an actual tea kettle onto the classic 1972 track “The Wizard,” his thoughts on streaming, and the band’s future plans.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 11, 2017  |  0 comments
Glenn Hughes is known as “The Voice of Rock” for good reason. The bassist/vocalist’s long and storied C.V. reads like a playlist that’s been culled from the best British-bred AOR from the ’70s right up to the present day, including the likes of Trapeze, Deep Purple, and Black Country Communion. I called Hughes to discuss the latest twist on his writing process for his new solo album Resonate, how also being the album’s producer enabled him to stretch creatively, and how spinning vinyl and streaming music are very different listening experiences.
Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 29, 2016  |  0 comments

15 Minutes with Cleerline President Robert D’Addario

Fiber optics has been around in audio gear for years. Verizon’s Fiber Optic Service, better known as FiOS, has 7 million Internet subscribers in nine states with plenty of expansion potential. Google, too, has been rolling out its Google fiber service in recent years, though on a much smaller scale with limited service in seven states. Meanwhile, copper is still far and away king of signal transmission both inside and outside of the home. But for how long? To get a sense of what role fiber will play in the future, we sat down with Robert D’ Addario, president of Montana-based Cleerline Technology Group, an innovator in optical cable.

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 21, 2016  |  0 comments
Rainbow was looking for a hit, as bandleader/guitarist Richie Blackmore wanted to hear his songs on the radio. After scores of vocal auditions in 1979, they finally hit upon Graham Bonnet, who sang lead on Rainbow's breakout track, “Since You Been Gone.” Bonnet got on the horn to discuss his new solo album The Book, where he likes to hear his vocals in a mix, how he transformed “Since You Been Gone” from a pop song into a rock hit, and coming to grips with living in the streaming universe.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 07, 2016  |  0 comments
Besides having one of the coolest band names ever, Van der Graaf Generator has been making deeply adventurous music since the late ’60s in a style that, frankly, is hard to pigeonhole. Sure, it’s easy to call what they do “progressive,” but I’m inclined to agree with VdGG guitarist/vocalist Peter Hammill, who describes VdGG music as being “barely controlled chaos.” It’s also a good way to define VdGG’s recently released 13th studio album, Do Not Disturb (Esoteric Antenna). I connected with Hammill to discuss the sonic template for DnD, what it’s like to be admired by a punk legend, and VdGG’s possible future (or not).
Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 01, 2016  |  0 comments
A few years ago Sonos published an infographic that traces the History of Hi-Fi from Edison’s phonograph through Apple’s introduction of the iPod in 2001, stopping just short of documenting its own arrival in 2002. Long before anyone even heard of streaming, the company set out to reinvent stereo with an Internet-connected wireless speaker and introduced one of the first iPhone apps—a controller for its first system—just a few months after the App Store opened in 2008. By the end of the decade Sonos had captured the imagination of a public that seemed to be waiting for its fresh, cloud-based take on classic hi-fi. Today Sonos is a billion dollar company offering a variety of products, including the Top Pick-winning Play:5 wireless music system. We recently sat down with Patrick Spence, who took over the reigns as president in July, to talk about Sonos, past, present, and future.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  1 comments
Elvis Presley would have loved to have taken advantage of today’s meticulous recording standards. Fact is, The King was very much a stickler in the studio. Elvis also had an affinity for orchestral arrangements, something his estate was able to realize last year with If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RCA/Legacy), which has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide to date. A worthy sequel, The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has just been released. I reached out across The Pond to get album producers Don Reedman and Nick Patrick’s takes on the sonic differences between the two albums, how a certain mantra guided their respective hands and ears, and what aspects of modern recording Elvis would have embraced.

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