WCA #290 with Joe Chiccarelli - Frank Zappa, Producing, Psychology, Budgets, Learning From Others, Sharing Knowledge, and The Tonelux Mic Collaboration
Working Class Audio
Joe Chiccarelli is a ten-time Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer/mixer whose credits include such artists as Tori Amos, Beck, U2, The Strokes, The Killers, Elton John, The Shins, The White Stripes, Morrissey, Alanis Morrisette, Jason Mraz, Juanes, Julieta Venegas, The Raconteurs, Cafe Tacuba, and My Morning Jacket. Other projects through his twenty-year career have included music supervision of films such as Suicide Kings and Men with Guns, the TV series Cracker and Robert Altman’s The Gun. Joe is the studio designer for the state-of-the-art Royaltone Recording Studios (now Sphere) in Burbank, CA, and has served as an A&R consultant for several major and independent labels.In this episode, we discuss: Matt & Joe's Connection Frank Zappa Roy Thomas Baker Joe's Approach to Producing Inexperienced Managers Psychology Handling Disagreements Fresh Perspectives Working in Multiple Genres Mix with the Masters Getting the Most Out Of a Budget Learning From Others Sharing Knowledge The Tonelux Mic Collaboration Planning the Year Links and Show Notes: Joe's website: https://www.joechiccarelli.com/ The Tonelux JC37: https://bit.ly/2VMuhGe WCA on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/working_class_audio Support WCA - Go Ad-Free! https://glow.fm/workingclassaudio/ Connect with Matt on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattboudreau/ Current sponsors & promos: https://bit.ly/2WmKbFw Working Class Audio Journal: https://amzn.to/2GN67TP Credits: Guest: Joe Chiccarelli Host: Matt Boudreau WCA Theme Music: Cliff Truesdell Announcer: Chuck Smith Editing: Anne-Marie Pleau & Matt Boudreau Additional Music: The License Lab
The Third Men Podcast is excited to present an all-new extended interview with legendary producer, engineer and guru of all things recorded sound Joe Chiccaelli! Amongst Joe's impressively long list of studio collaborations (Beck, The Strokes, Frank Zappa and a zillion more) are two of the biggest, most quintessential albums in the entire Third Man Records catalog - The White Stripes' final studio album Icky Thump and The Raconteurs' sophomore LP Consolers of the Lonely. As engineer, Joe worked closely with Jack White on the sound, feel and recording technique of what many consider to be The White Stripes finest album - including their highest-charting hit single as a band, title track Icky Thump. A year later Joe was back in the studio with Jack, Brendan, LJ and Patrick to craft yet another ambitious opus, this time by The Raconteurs - filled with key tracks like Carolina Drama, Top Yourself, Many Shades of Black and many, many more. As we'll find out in the interview, this isn't the only time Jack White and Joe Chiccarelli joined forces in (or on) a studio - so stay tuned for one of the most interesting and insightful conversations we've ever had the pleasure of conducting with someone who was there, helping craft the music we love so much. The Third Men would like to thank Joe for joining us and for being so generous with his time - hope you all enjoy listening to this interview as much as we enjoyed recording it! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Tucked away in a private corner of Sunset Sound studios, producer Joe Chiccarelli has his own slice of paradise in the hills of Hollywood. The studio is one of the last legendary music production studios left in Hollywood and was originally made to score the old Disney films in the late 1950’s. Since then it has seen musical legends galore pass through its halls. The list includes artists like the Rolling Stones, Queen, The Doobie Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and on. “That’s kind of the best thing in the world about making music for me is that every day, every project is different. Every project is a new challenge in the way that im going to approach it. It’s problem solving” Having lived through analog tape recording and now working in the digital world, Joe has adapted and navigated his way through over 40 years of changing recording technologies in the ever evolving entertainment industry and has been a musical chameleon producing songs in almost every genre imaginable. His constant drive for originality is a hallmark of his work ethic. He says he does it in order to not get bored or stale. He doesn’t want to be repeating himself artistically. Something which I agree with wholeheartedly. Joe believes in what I am from now on calling “letting the art breathe”. We see eye to eye on how art is cultivated and nurtured. It takes space to fail and experiment. It takes a safe place to fall without judgement. Joe is the type of personality that you could tell anything to. This is just one little piece of what makes anyone an effective producer. “I’ve always maintained that this job is really to help the artist and to get the best out of them. To make the record that you, as a fan want to see them make.” Talking about his process, Joe says that he spends a lot of time in preproduction in order to really understand the artist. He wants to see from their perspective what they want to achieve and how they want to do it. Two weeks is about the length of time he likes to integrate with the band and get a feel for the dynamics and music. He really wants to understand the artist before ever touching the art. In some cases like in working with Jack White, this is crucial. If Joe did not understand that Jack White was in Joe’s words a “protector” of those flaws which give true character to music or art in general. The imperfection of something is precisely the quality which gives that thing its character. This is something I come across a lot in the creative world. I believe it as well. If everything were the same, nothing would have any character. Joe knows this from experience both in recording music and from his experience designing the JC37 microphone with Tonelux. In my interview with him, Joe explains the qualities of the Sony C37a built in the late 1950’s and the unique properties it exhibited. He talks about the process of creating the Tonelux JC37 which is directly modeled after Sony’s C37a microphone and how in the process of trying to correct odd design issues, it lost its unique magic sound. Extract meaning out of that. Your flaws make you who you are. Joe understands that flaws and imperfections are part of life and should be celebrated. This is how he cultivates a safe space for his artists to experiment and expand beyond their normal limits. He allows himself to go there with you and understand the creative spark behind the idea. This is an art that is being lost amongst bedroom producers and YouTube artists. Letting art breathe is an art itself. This means allow mistakes as long as you keep hold of that spark of inspiration. Don’t be second guessing that spark. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/whataworldpodcast/support
Joe Chiccarelli is a producer and engineer whose career spans almost 4 decades. Refusing to be tied down in any one genre, Joe’s skill, versatility, and eclectic taste has put him in rooms with Frank Zappa, Tori Amos, Oingo Boingo, The Bangles, The Strokes, Morrissey, Dwight Yoakam, The Bee Gees, The White Stripes and many, many more.