The only contemporary machine we never tried was a Stephens.". Vital to Queen's palette of sound was producer Roy Thomas Baker who, while at Decca and Trident Studios, had gained vast experience in rock, opera, and classical music. A Night at the Opera was co-produced by Roy Thomas Baker and the individual band members who invented some of the distinctive techniques required to achieve the desired sounds and effects. "We used to have a few different types of mics set up, from which we would choose or blend signals for any one given sound, and it's a technique that I still use today. You had to store data on two tracks, so you'd end up with no more than 22 tracks of music on your tape, to provide room for the data. Following his successes with Queen and other artists Baker signed a multi album production deal with CBS Music (Columbia Records, Sony Music, Epic Records, etc.). Candid interviews with expert tips will enlighten you with the knowledge that has led the featured producers, engineers and composers to huge industry successes and millions of record sales. Encouraged by music producer Gus Dudgeon he soon moved to Trident Studios, where he worked with music producer greats Gus Dudgeon,Tony Visconti, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Frank Zappa as well as recording artist The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Who, Gasolin', Nazareth, Santana, Mothers of Invention, Be Bop Deluxe, Free and T.Rex. They were doing a song called 'Keep Yourself Alive', which immediately sounded like a hit to me. Brian generally used AC30s but John Deacon had also thrown together something like a Tandy Radio Shack speaker with a 3 Watt amplifier, and we tried that with a treble booster. Today, Roy Thomas Baker spends most of his time in the U.S. He happened to be in London and heard it on the radio. We just used the one machine, because there was no syncing available to us. Unfortunately, Telefunken's attitude was: 'We invented the tape machine, we can do what we want!' We would do this to each background vocal part across the song and ended up with fourth generation dupes on just one of the parts. He managed to get a copy of the tape and started to play it in the States, which forced the hand of Queen's USA label, Elektra. Roy Thomas Baker - official site. "That was the point at which the VCAs were turned off," Baker explains, "but I did also push it there. It certainly all stands up today when I hear it all again.". He was offered the post as The Senior Vice-President of "Artist and Repertoire" (A and R) for Elektra Records as executive and/or producer with recording artists The World, Lindsey Buckingham, Mötley Crüe, Joe Lynn Turner, Josie Cotton and Dokken as well as continuing with Queen and The Cars. He recalls: "Gary Lyons and Mike Stone taught me everything I knew about engineering. Langan laughs: "It was the first automated system in the world, but it was ridiculous because it never worked properly! We were experimenting with ideas, both musically for themselves and technically for me. If you listen to the record closely you'll notice it. While keeping Los Angeles his home base, he has built a beautiful studio complex of his own, complete with tennis court and olympic swim spa. John's bass was DI'd. Ken Lewis - Audio Engineer 50 Cent. After co-founding Neptune (Trident's record company), Baker met a band that would eventually be known as Queen. ", Baker adds: "It was an old VCA system, which was responsible for the distortion at the end of the opera section. He began a working relationship that lasted for five albums (Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races) and a number of awards – including Grammy Awards and The Guinness World Records for the best single, "Bohemian Rhapsody". Phil Spector - Producer History and Techniques. "The way I rationalised it was that there had previously been Richard Harris' 'MacArthur Park' and Barry Ryan's 'Eloise' (1968) which were very long, and that justified to me that it was probably the right time to release a long song and get away with it. Once that had happened, the distortion factor on those vocals was very, very high. But in passing phrases it seems to work OK. , Baker lives in Los Angeles, Europe and at the RTB Studio Du Lac, his recording retreat, in Arizona. We had to get tapes and run them around the room by hand, just to get phasing. Telefunken had this great idea to make their edge tracks (1 and 24) wider than the inside tracks, because they claimed there would be a higher risk of dropouts on the edges, but this made their machine totally incompatible with others. We never thought of Brian's guitar as a raunchy instrument, like most guitarists do; it was an orchestral instrument. He said, 'I love this song. Langan first became involved with Queen when Roy Thomas Baker brought two songs from the Sheer Heart Attack album to SARM for remixing. The thing that made it difficult was that even the end had lots of vocals on it (the 'Ooh yeah, ooh yeah' part), so we had to record the basic backing track of drums, bass, guitar and piano, then do the background vocals without having the lead vocal on first. Compared with many of today's engineers, they had a different, better level of technical skill.". ], The trend-setting video, made to promote the single, was directed by Bruce Gowers and cost just £4000, but information regarding the total cost of the audio recording seems to have disappeared. Phasing too, and everything had to be done by hand, because there were no effects boxes that could do it automatically. But there wasn't a single thing we could do about it. Tony Visconti, Danny Elfman, Eddy Offord, Trevor Rabin and Roy Thomas Baker are just a few of the contributors who share their special studio practices, tips, and anecdotes. He would be absent on 1976's 'A Day at the Races' and 1977's 'News of the World,' but he would return for 'Jazz,' which would end up being the final album he produced for Queen. To be 'seen but not heard' was the task in those days, but I became really good friends with all of them. There isn't anybody these days like those two guys. It was a great stepping stone.". The albums were certified platinum and The Cars were Grammy nominated. ", But, as ever, much experimentation was undertaken before Brian May's guitar sound was perfected. Roy Thomas Baker. There are times I can clearly recall where I have made a conscious move to change my direction, and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was the pinnacle of my over-indulgence as a producer. Renowned multi platnum and award winning music producer. I just thought that here was a band doing something new and fresh. They retained Roy Thomas Baker (best known for his work with Queen) as producer, but drummer Aynsley Dunbar was replaced with Steve Smith, formerly with Ronnie Montrose’s band. Baker recalls his first hearing of the song: "We were going out to dinner one night and I met Freddie at his apartment in Kensington. It's so good, they'll have to invent a new chart position. "If something had to be longer, we would just add extra tape. Jay Z - Beyoncé Engineer DJ Swivel. So I would always make a room available for them to go to and argue in private. "Moving In Stereo" does just that and is a knock-out track when heard with the solidity and stereo focus of CD. I had quite a bit of an orchestral background through working on classical music at Decca, and that helped with structuring the phrasing of the guitar parts. Roy Thomas Baker is an English record producer, songwriter, arranger, and Recording Academy governor, who has produced pop and rock songs since the 1970s. Something inside me told me that this was a red letter day, and it really was. After working on the album A Night At The Opera, Baker took a break from the Queen camp and concentrated his activities on American bands, only to be coaxed back by Roger Taylor for one more Queen album (Jazz) in 1978. Many people couldn't hear the difference between a multitracked guitar and a synthesizer. So we all went out for an Indian and Ev asked for a copy. The album borrowed its title from a popular 1935 Marx Brothers movie of the same name. Heaven & Earth, Yes’ new album, was produced by Roy Thomas Baker. When Baker and Queen retreated to SARM (East) Studios for the mixing sessions, they were treated to a Trident B console. ", Due to the complex nature of the recording, it is not surprising that the occasional vocal faux-pas was noted by Baker's keen ears. Phil Tan - Audio Engineer Rhianna. Released on October 31, 1975, it was a production beyond comparison, residing at the top of the UK chart for nine weeks and honoured in 1977 by the BPI as 'The Best Single Of The Last 25 Years'. "Brian was already on to something different, in terms of trying to orchestrate his guitars in a different way to how most people would approach it. It was the oddest thing I'd ever heard! But it didn't matter who had written the song; it still had to sound like a Queen record. Brian was in a portable isolation booth and Freddie was at the piano, close to the window. This went on over a three or four day period, while we decided on the length of the section. Former Guns N’ Roses bassist Tommy Stinson discussed frontman Axl Rose firing Queen’s producer Roy Thomas Baker from the Chinese Democracy. During the same weekend that Ev was playing the song, there was a guy called Paul Drew, who ran the RKO stations in the States. He played a bit further through the song and then stopped suddenly, saying, 'This is where the opera section comes in.' So by accident we started a trend without even knowing it, in the same way that with an electric guitar, if you turn it up to 10, you'll hear distortion. In 2005 he produced One Way Ticket to Hell and Back by The Darkness, The Smashing Pumpkins' 2007 album, Zeitgeist, The Storm's 2008 album When the Storm Meets the Ground, The Smashing Pumpkins' American Gothic and One Karma's 2011 albumLife Got in the Way. "It was a more difficult situation than working with a band with only one songwriter, because they were all so good. We never really started the opera section at that point. "There were a few harmonies that were a little dissident, such as two notes next to each other which weren't quite spot on in passing phrases. Although 'Killer Queen', a year earlier, showed the band was a cut above the rest of the rock pack in terms of inventiveness, nothing could possibly prepare the listener for 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. You could tell Queen were so good just by listening to the musical content at that stage, and sitting down and chatting to Freddie Mercury. The pairing of Roy Thomas Baker and the Darkness is a one-way ticket to heaven. Every time Freddie came up with another 'Galileo', I would add another piece of tape to the reel, which was beginning to look like a zebra crossing whizzing by! ", Now famous for his work with The Art Of Noise and Trevor Horn, and productions for Spandau Ballet and Mick Jagger, Gary Langan was a fresh-faced, 18-year-old assistant engineer at SARM when he came to work alongside Baker, Stone and Lyons on the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' mix. "I listen to it now and it's a great piece of art, although I didn't realise at the time we had made a classic. Grammy Winning Producer-Engineer Bruce Swedien. Baker began his career at Decca Records in England at the age of 14. Little did the producer realise that every ounce of his acquired expertise would be called upon in moulding this epic. But that became the band's sound.". This was before we wore out the master and began making 24-track to 24-track tape transfers. He didn't sing all the way through the backing track takes, just the first couple of words of each line as a reference for the band. Does 'Bohemian Rhapsody' represent the pinnacle of Baker's achievements? Even if you're restricted to one room, a number of producers suggest trying out different positions of the amp in the room. Roy Thomas Baker had a hand in producing Queen's first four albums: 1973's 'Queen'; 1974's 'Queen II' and 'Sheer Heart Attack; and 1975's 'A Night at the Opera.' If there was anything we heard at the time which we thought we wouldn't get away with, we would just wipe it and re-record it. But the opera section ended up nothing like the original concept, because we kept changing it and adding things to it.". Then, in early 1969, Baker joined the newly-opened Trident Studios as a staff engineer -- a move which was to help make his name. A lot of it was backward cymbals, backward gongs, and backward tom fills. Roy Thomas Baker (born on 10 November 1946, in Hampstead, London, England) is an English record and music producer, songwriter, arranger and Recording Academy governor, who has produced pop and rock records since the 1970s. Musical artists similar to or like Roy Thomas Baker. BAKER Roy Thomas Baker, age 75 of Fairfield, passed away peacefully Friday, June 19, 2009 surrounded by his daughters.Previously of the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, Roy was a graduate of Fairfiel Once, at Trident Studios, Billy Cobham was working next door and we hid our tapes in that control room, labelling them 'Cilly Bobham'. We tried putting microphones down metal and concrete tubes to get more of a honky sound, and it all seemed to work. Queen's early albums were all notable for the inclusion of the phrase 'Nobody played synthesizer' in the sleeve notes. Veteran music journalist Rick Clark conducted hundreds of revealing interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry to create this extraordinary title. There was always a slight sound loss when you plugged them into the amp, so we had to compensate for that. I had worked with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company at Decca where I learned a lot about vocals and the way vocals are stressed, so I was probably one of the few people in the whole world who knew exactly what he was talking about. That wasn't the regular way of doing things, because the lead vocal would normally dictate the phrasing of the background vocals. The making of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was basically one continuous track bounce! We thought we'd better get some outside advice and around the corner to Scorpion Studios was Capital Radio, where Kenny Everett worked. Whitepages people search is the most trusted directory. He is married to entertainment executive and actress Tere Livrano Baker (The Godfather Trilogy, General Hospital ). ", It was in 1972, while on an inspection tour of the De Lane Lea studio complex in Wembley, North London, that Roy Thomas Baker first met Queen, who were then still using the band name Smile. I think most of their arguments were about who had the B-side -- that royalty thing. We both just burst out laughing. My job was really to learn and look after the band. Musically, there were the ballads, the heavy bits, and complex arrangements -- it all stemmed from there. How were the Queen band members positioned in relation to each other for the backing track? View the profiles of people named Thomas Roy Baker. Instead of it being Number One, it'll be Number Half!' So everything you hear was planned, albeit disjointedly planned, the way it should be.". After co-founding Neptune (Trident's record company), Baker met the rock band Queen. "After working at SARM on a few projects, it seemed that Queen didn't want to mix anywhere else for some time. "It must have been very expensive," Baker comments, "but it wasn't something that worried me, because it didn't seem to be my department. Langan's first task at the sessions was to put together a composite multitrack master from the three distinct sections of the song. All of this combined into one reasonably priced package makes for a truly definitive guide for any producers and engineers of audio productions who want the advice, opinions, tricks and techniques used by the leading experts in the field. "That console was the second B-series model that Trident delivered from Malcolm Toft. I was standing at the back of the control room and you just knew that you were listening for the first time to a big page in history. With a band whose four individuals were no shrinking violets when it came to writing songs and taking the creative lead, one of Roy Thomas Baker's major tasks was to singularly encourage the band to work as a concise unit while keeping the distinctive Queen sound. Encouraged by his session musician father, Gary Langan joined SARM straight from school. There was a huge backlash at our end from EMI's promotion department, who told us we were undermining them by giving Capital Radio a copy. That's when I ran into the guys and heard their demos. While the first three Queen albums had been recorded on 16-track equipment, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' benefitted from 24-track technology, although not without a few problems. Another trick that Roy Thomas Baker used when recording Queen, Starcastle, the Cars, Journey, etc., was to hit the tape with as hot a signal as possible in order to get that loud but compressed sound. He did that with vocals as well, which helps make them sound bigger. “And it was because of Roy Thomas Baker, who produced the album — he produced Queen and the Cars and everybody like that. The beginning section was pretty spot on and the end section was fairly similar, although we obviously embellished it with guitars and lots of overdubs. We told them how long the track was and before they had even heard it, the comment was, 'Oh, I don't know. "There was no stipulation that we wouldn't have any synths, but the statement 'No synths' was printed on the album sleeves because of peoples' lack of intellect in the ears department. "We formed a 3-part harmony by recording one harmony at a time and bouncing. We never worried about budgets at that time, but it was cheaper to record then. We had a reel-to-reel copy but we told him he could only have it if he promised not to play it. It was a great board with such a unique sound, although I couldn't say why. So we did three tracks of the first part and bounced it to one track, three of the second, and three of the third. One of the ways was to get involved with The Cars, because I could use all my production techniques as a way of under-producing. "The first half or ballad section was done with piano, drums and bass -- the normal routine. Anything that Queen ever did was encompassed in that second album. We were still mixing one of the songs for the album during the press playback at the Roundhouse, so the press heard one track as a rough mix. He is currently the governor of The people at Trident weren't too happy about starting a production company, as they felt they would be competing against their clients for studio time, but they realised there was a lot of talent out there which needed an outlet. But we wouldn't have had enough tracks left for the rich backing vocals if we hadn't gone down this route. "The only band with whom I'd worked was Queen; I didn't know about how other bands recorded. At the time it was the most expensive single ever made and guitarist Brian May was to later refer to the track's parent album, A Night At The Opera, as "our Sgt Pepper". Bohemian Rhapsody was produced by Roy Thomas Baker and engineered by Mike Stone, Gary Lyons and Geoff Workman (Cunningham, 1995). When it got to that stage, the meters were so pinned that the VCAs in the board would not take any more volume. "We weren't into multiple snare miking back then, so there was just a single mic on the snare. He locked himself in the tape closet at SARM and said he wouldn't come out until they agreed to put it on!" I always told them that it was too embarrassing for them to have an argument in front of everyone in the studio. I noticed that when it was resold, it was described as the board used to mix 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and I think they got more money than they originally paid for it. So I ended up working on all of their 'Marx Brothers' albums -- A Night At The Opera, A Day At The Races, andNews Of The World. Join Facebook to connect with Thomas Roy Baker and others you may know. Baker had already produced Queen's first three albums (Queen, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack) by the time Mercury casually previewed a new song called 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Roy Thomas Baker. Metamorphosing from wistful ballad to an operatic pastiche with a fiery rock climax, all within six short minutes, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was greeted like manna from heaven in the dull musical wasteland between glam-rock and punk. So he played the first part and said, 'This is the chord sequence', followed by the interim part, and although he didn't have all the lyrics together yet, I could tell it was going to be a ballady number. But they said that we had no option, because they told us that nobody would want to play it. Profile: Producer, active 1970's to the present. We would then double bounce to one section, so that particular phrase would have a 3-part harmony just on one track. Trident was one of the first UK studios to have 8-track facilities, a sufficient reason for The Beatles to temporarily leave their Abbey Road 'home' for the recording of 'Hey Jude'. "Ken was working with Bowie and Robin was engineering for Elton John and other more mainstream acts with Gus Dudgeon. "Roger Taylor sat behind his drum kit at the live end of the studio and John Deacon was against the wall, with his Marshall bass stack on the right-hand side as you looked out of the control room window. With one broad sweep, it sealed Queen's future in the Premier Division of rock performers and studio experimentalists. We'd attempt some rough mixes ourselves for other songs, just to see if edits would work, but rough mixes had a habit of getting into the record company's hands prematurely. It was planned that the highly pronounced snare beat at the beginning of the heavy rock section would be a distinct edit point, its crashing velocity a by-product of the manual mixing. I don't think we'll be able to get any radio play with a song that long.' "It was the first time that an opera section had been incorporated into a pop record, let alone a Number One. We left those there, because they weren't classed as mistakes. Then the end rock section was recorded as a separate song, in the way that we would normally record a loud rock number of that period. By Monday, there were hordes of fans going to the record stores to buy 'Bohemian Rhapsody', only to be told it wasn't out yet. We just left a 30-second strip of tape on the reel for later use, not knowing that we would even overrun it. "On Queen II and some of the big Queen themes, especially 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the generation copies caused so much distortion on Roger's drum tracks that it became a trademark sound in itself -- which people have since tried to copy with outboard equipment. Baker began his career at Decca Records in England at the age of 14. Roy Thomas Baker is similar to these musical artists: Sam Hollander, Robert Kraft (composer), Kristian Bush and more. But things often have a habit of evolving differently once you're inside the studio, and it did get longer and bigger. Tony Visconti, Danny Elfman, Eddy Offord, Trevor Rabin and Roy Thomas Baker are just a few of the contributors who share their special studio practices, tips, and anecdotes. If we needed more tracks, we would track bounce to free some more room on the tape. Freddie said to me, 'If there are any ideas that you've had that you can't use with boring, human type bands, we'll try them out on this.' Topic. With Richard E. Grant, Roy Thomas Baker, Jer Bulsara, Kashmira Cooke. I didn't know of the band then and I was more concerned with going over to see what this big, new studio was like. Then we did the vocal overdubs at Scorpion Studios, where they had a Telefunken machine. An AKG D12 was used on the bass drum. Even today, people are still trying to recreate that in-your-face distortion with machinery! Arial Chobat - Nicki Minaj's Engineer. Encouraged by music producer Gus Dudgeon he soon moved to Trident Studios, where he worked with Dudgeon, Tony Visconti, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Frank Zappa as well as recording artists like The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Who, Gasolin', Nazareth, Santana, The Mothers of Invention, Be Bop Deluxe, Free and T.Rex. Roy Thomas Baker. Roy Thomas Baker (Born in Hampstead, London, UK) is an English record and music producer, songwriter, arranger and Recording Academy governor, who has produced pop and rock records since the 1970s.. We used an MCI machine at SARM which we called 'Munchy, Crunchy and Intermittent', because it was always falling apart! In classical music they are allowable, whereas in rock music they normally are not. We also used an Electro-Voice 666 and sometimes a Neumann U67 condenser on John's cabinet to pick up a bit of air. Roy Thomas Baker engineers space and depth into The Cars' sound without compromising their punchy delivery too much. The song was released on the 31st October 1975. He says: "Nobody really knew how it was going to sound as a whole 6-minute song until it was spliced together. A few years before Roy Thomas Baker gained fame as the producer for some of the greatest albums by Queen and the Cars, he was one of several … We said, 'But you haven't heard it yet.' At this time under his new CBS deal RTB produced Journey, Starcastle, Reggie Knighton (The Grass Roots), Ian Hunter and Ronnie Wood(The Rolling Stones). 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