NAME: J. Chris Griffin (mixing & mastering engineer)
LOCATION: New York City
Namba Gear: Kava Laptop Studio Bag
BRIEF BIO: My first big mix was for Madonna. That opened up doors for a minute. Recent projects include jazz guitarist John McLaughlin (see my picture inside the Industrial Zen album), John Legend, Janet Jackson, and others. Last summer I co-produced the new theme for MTV’s “MADE” with Jay Lyons and have composed spots for television with NBC’s “Dateline” and CBS’s “NCIS” being two recent credits. My sound-design work is all over Propellerheads products, McDSP products, M-Audio keyboards and sample discs, and I also do clinics for churches teaching them how to improve worship through proper sound, singing and playing. That’s where it all comes together for me. Oh – I almost forgot, I play saxophone…
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST PROJECT, RECORDING, OR PERFORMANCE: This morning I was on a session with Jim Keller, the guitarist for Tommy Tutone in the 1980’s. He sang and wrote the song “Jenny, Jenny 867-5309.” One hit wonder, but he’s gone on to become the personal manager for composer Phillip Glass, Ravi Shankar, Tom Waits and others. He and I have become friends over the last few years and we were recording horns and BGV’s (background vocals) for one of his projects today. I roll in with my nifty horn arrangement and expensive NYC horn section to begin. We barely get through the first take when the producer decides to gut the arrangement and use about 4 notes (unison) in each turnaround. It turned out great, but my cool arrangement ended up being whittled down to one lick played over and over. That’s how it goes…
Last month as Sony/ATV finished their merger with Famous Music Publishing, they realized the new roster of writers and producers were not fully acquainted with one another. The Sony people didn’t know the former Famous Music people and visa-versa. To remedy this, they booked out The Cutting Room Studios where I have my private production suite. For three days they wrote, produced and mixed new tracks for Beyonce’, Anastasia, Tomi, and other newer artists. I had known some of these guys before, but to meet and interact with the entire roster of the new Sony/ATV division on my home turf was very cool. I have definitely changed my business model after seeing and meeting these great people. The after-hours lobby parties were insane!!! What made it cool was everyone had their laptop going – making beats and singing ideas into the computer through Garage Band throughout the party. Wonderful stuff.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR NAMBA GEAR BAG? Two reasons: I like it because it’s not made out of black material. Every dumb computer bag in the world is black and I am happy to be wearing something brown and blue (interior) for a change.
Secondly, it has enough pockets for everything – two hard drives, my USB Transit interface, the laptop, power supplies, my notebooks and calendars, pens, USB hubs, wireless mouse, phone, earbuds, iPod, iLok, firewire PCMCIA card and notes for my next meeting. This is New York City people; we don’t have cars. We have to carry it.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE REMOTE RECORDING LOCATION: I have two assistants that really enjoy working at the studio – as long as I stay out of their hair. To keep them happy and keep myself from micromanaging their excellent work, I have to leave my own room several times a day. I like my Namba Gear bag because it helps me get out of the studio easily. I have everything close by no matter where I decide to work.
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