Considered by some musicians to be the “Disneyland for musicians,” Sweetwater is one of the largest musical equipment dealers in the United States. The company also has a word-class recording studio in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Mark Hornsby is the director of music production there.
Mixing starts when you put the first microphone in front of the first instrument” –Mark Hornsby
Depending on the project, Mark will serve as producer or mixer or both for the artists who come in to record at Sweetwater. Some of the artists that Mark has worked with include
- Adrian Belew – former frontman of King Crimson and a guitarist who has also played with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and Talking Heads. His solo album Flux was also released as an app that allowed for a new listening experience each time the app was launched.
- Alison Krauss – a key figure behind the contemporary resurgence of bluegrass-country music. She has won 27 Grammy Awards, which makes her the most awarded living recipient. Her soundtrack performances include O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain.
- Carl Verheyen – listed as one of the top guitar players in the world by Guitar Magazine. He is a member of Supertramp, has played with the Bee Gees and Cher, and has recorded music for films like The Usual Suspects and Ratatouille.
- Jonatha Brooke – created the theme song for Joss Whedon’s TV series Dollhouse. Her music has also been included on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Return to Neverland, and her sound has been compared to Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow, and Suzanne Vega.
(As a side tangent that might be of interest to long-time listeners, three of the four musicians have birthdays on the 23rd. Adrian’s birthday is on Dec. 23, Alison’s is on July 23, and Jonatha’s is on Jan. 23. What is happening?!)
In the episode we discuss Mark’s collaborations with each artist. We also talk about his experience and big take away from recording at the legendary Abby Road Studios in London. Mark is also a member of the Recording Academy, which means that he gets to vote on the Grammys, so we also discuss what he listens for when he evaluates music and what music trend he’s like to see go away.
My interview with Mark led me to reflect on the state of entertainment industry, which led to some thoughts about good and evil, which I share at the end of the episode. How exactly did a conversation about mixing lead me to metaphysics commentary? You’ll have to listen to find out!
If you connect with Mark’s preference for getting it right during the performance, then you might also appreciate this episode with Jeff Jasper. He’s a digital effects supervisor who has worked on films like The Dark Knight and Interstellar with Christopher Nolan, a filmmaker who prefers using practical effects whenever possible.
Show notes for Jeff’s episode are here.
Sponsor for this Episode
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- Mark’s site
- Mark on
- Sweetwater Studios
- Sweetwater inSync training resources
- Grand Designs: The Music of Carl Verheyen on YouTube
- Carl Verheyen – Essential Blues on YouTube
- Blayne Weaver is the voice of Peter Pan in Return to Neverland, in which Jonatha sings “I’ll Try.” Blayne’s podcast episode is here.
Music for the show provided by Rob Costlow
Arranged by artist, then album and song
- Adrian Belew – Flux, “Bunny Slippers”
- Alison Krause
- Carl Verheyen – The Grand Design, Essential Blues
- Ed Greene
- Jonatha Brooke (performed as The Story with Jennifer Kimball) – Midnight. Hallelujah. “Mean Looking Jesus,” “I’ll Try”
- King Crimson – The Construkction of Light
- Lady Gaga – Joanne, “Million Reasons”
- Marilyn Manson – “The Beautiful People”
- Rory Hoffman – played accordion, banjo, clarinet, cuatro, and harmonica on Jonahta’s Midnight. Hallelujah
Films & TV Shows Mentioned
- Return to Neverland
- Walk the Line
- War for the Planet of the Apes