Hollywood's Very Own Boulevard Recording

Posted by The Audio Hunt

From his chair behind the stunning 1977 API Console, Clay takes some time to share his stories on Kurt Cobain's influencers, vintage gear and childhood dreams

Hollywood's Very Own Boulevard Recording

Despite not growing up to be an aircraft pilot, Clay has managed to build himself a reputation as the lead engineer behind Boulevard Recording Studios based in Los Angele’s Hollywood Boulevard, a facility with loads of character and tonnes of great gear.

An absolute tracking specialist, Clay has recently finished a project with the band who has influentially shaped the sound of Nirvana. We catch up with him to find out what else he has been up to recently.

Can you share with us what you're working on at the moment?

Just mixed a solo record for Tyson Meade. He had a band called Defenestration and a later band called The Chainsaw Kittens in the late 80’s early 90’s. Billy Corgan wrote him a fan letter before he did Siamese Dream about the Kittens record and Kurt Cobain cited his first band Defenestration as a huge influence. I mixed it with David Immergluck of Counting Crows and Camper Van Beethoven fame. It’s called “Robbing the Nuclear Family.” Have a listen when it comes out, one of the most interesting records I’ve ever been involved in. It’s like David Byrne met John Lennon, David Bowie and Brian Eno on the starship Enterprise and decided to go record a record on a few other planets. 

What's your favourite stage in the music production process (mixing, recording, touring...)? 

I couldn’t say to be honest. I really love tracking because it’s a fresh canvas and you get to shape things. But that’s also the aspect in mixing to me I believe. Even if I record it, i treat it that way. I also love producing. I am a musician so when I produce, I end up playing quite a few of the instruments. So coming up with parts is a lot of fun too.

Favourite piece of gear you used recently

Our EMT 140 Plate Reverb. I use it on most everything.

Let's talk influencers. Any other producers, songwriters or artists that you're inspired by? 

Songwriters and artists, that’s a huge list. All of the usual suspects but as of just in the last week I’ve been listing to some Mott the Hoople, Roy Wood and UFO Lp’s I bought. And recent more modern records, A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead, Salad Days by Mac DeMarco. Producers? George Martin, Nigel Godrich, Steve Lillywhite, Jimmy Miller, Richard Perry, Bob Ezrin, Brian Eno, Eric Valentine, Dave Friddman, Dave Sardy. 

How did you?first start producing music?

I’ve been a musician most of my life so I figured out a way to get it all down where I could listen to it. I was re recording Beatles songs from top to bottom when I was 13 years old in my parents basement. It’s been a learning process since the beginning. There’s never a right or wrong answer is probably the best lesson I’ve learned.

Name your bucket-list piece of production equipment?  

An EMI REDD 47 Desk like the ones they used at Abbey Road in the 60’s. Those records speak for themselves. No frills, they just sound great. I attribute a lot of that to those consoles, and The Beatles obviously.

Is there a piece of gear you no longer have access to that you miss when it comes to making music?? 

Yes I miss my 58 reissue Les Paul! I traded it for a Rickenbacker bass which was a great trade but I wish I still had the Gibson. 

Finish this sentence: If I wasn't producing music, I'd be...

Probably something with planes. I always wanted to be an airline pilot when I was a kid. I even took off and landed a plane a few times when I was 14-15 years old.



Interview Tracking Mixing Mastering