Bruce Swedien on Recording, Mixing Michael Jackson

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Bruce Swedien on Recording, Mixing Michael Jackson

Message par Captain Eo le Jeu 25 Mar 2010 - 23:12

Voici un article très intéressant que nous propose le site, contenant entre autre une longue interview du célèbre ingénieur du son Bruce Swedien, proche collaborateur de Michael Jackson. Swedien évoque son livre In The Studio With Michael Jackson, sorti le 17/08/2009.

Bruce Swedien on Recording, Mixing Michael Jackson

This week, Hal Leonard Books releases In the Studio with Michael Jackson, in which five-time Grammy Award winning engineer Bruce Swedien documents his work with Jackson and legendary producer/arranger Quincy Jones in shaping the sounds of the King of Pop’s solo albums, beginning with 1979’s Off the Wall, and including Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory and Invincible. Swedien was plucked from a job at Bill Putnam’s Universal Recording Studios in Chicago, where he met Jones in 1958, when he began working with Jones and Jackson on the 1978 soundtrack to the movie version of The Wiz.

The new book focuses on the creative and technical aspects of Jackson’s studio productions and offers more than 100 photos, including many of Jackson at work in the studio, as well as other artists and collaborators. It also has photos of the studios and equipment used for Jackson’s sessions, plus scores of Jackson’s handwritten notes and other never-before-seen ephemera.

The timing of the book’s publication is noteworthy in that it arrives one month after Jackson’s passing on June 25, 2009, during a time of renewed public interest in the entertainer’s life and career. However, Swedien and Hal Leonard Books emphasize that In the Studio with Michael Jackson has been in the works for several years; Mix magazine first mentioned this book in the November 2008 issue (“Q&A: Bruce Swedien,” available at

“I imagine there will be people that will say that I’m an opportunist and wrote the book for Michael’s untimely death, and I did not,” Swedien told Mix by phone from his home in Ocala, Fla. “I’ve been working on the book for several years, and it’s all about my work with Michael. The response has been incredible. I had no idea there were that many people interested in what we had done—but they are interested !”

“Though the book was in production for many years we did not anticipate its release coinciding with the events of the last few weeks,” states Aaron Lefkove of Hal Leonard Books. “As engineer, Swedien was, along with producer Quincy Jones, one of the creative partners and architects of Jackson’s sound. The book is part anecdotal memoir, part technical reference, and paints a vivid portrayal of Michael Jackson as an artist.”

I asked Swedien for his thoughts about In the Studio with Michael Jackson, and he graciously shared some memories of his work with Jones and Jackson.

Why did you decide to write this book ? How did it come about ?
Well, it seems like Quincy and Michael and myself changed the shape of popular music in history, and so I figured I would address the technical part of it and exclusively to my work with Michael, which I have done. And I’m a funny guy: I don’t believe in secrets. I’m going to tell everything in this book—how I did every sound in as much detail as I can.

There’s certainly a lot to be said about the working chemistry between you, Quincy and Michael.
Oh, it was the greatest, absolutely the greatest, and I have tried to say as much as I can about Quincy as well—that I respect him and love him. We’ve worked together since 1958, and Quincy is the greatest, and his musical depth is legendary. I mean, he studied composition and orchestration with [French composer/conductor/educator] Nadia Boulanger. I think you could say she mentored Quincy, because to hear him talk about her just gives you the chills. The depth of Quincy’s knowledge of music is second to none.

The real deal is when we were recording the overture for The Wiz in New York. It was a huge orchestra, 70 or 80 pieces, and we were recording it in Studio A1 at A&R Studios in New York. This must have been 1977 or something like that. Quincy and I were living together in an apartment in the Drake Hotel on Park Avenue. I had one bedroom and Quincy had the other, and then the suite shared a dining room and a kitchen. So we were set to record the overture for The Wiz—big orchestration and everything—and it was on a Sunday that this event took place. Monday was the day for the session with the big orchestra. They were going to start at 2 p.m., and it was the opening titles for the movie. So Sunday, Quincy hadn’t put a note on the paper. We talked about it and everything, and I was starting to get a little nervous. Of course, I had worked with him for so long that I didn’t get all that nervous, but I knew that he had something in mind, but nothing on paper yet. Sunday we had some friends over for dinner—I think Billy Eckstine was there, and a bunch of really important people. We were having a great time and still, Quincy hadn’t put a note on the paper. So the people had left and it was midnight or 1 in the morning, and I said, “Quincy, what are we going to do? We’ve got this huge orchestra coming, and you haven’t written anything for the opening titles yet.” And he says, “Don’t worry about it.”

So Quincy was up all night working on this thing, and at about 4 in the morning I woke up and noticed the light blasting in under my door, so I crack open my door and looked at Quincy, and there he is at the dining room table, [which is] covered with manuscript paper, and he’s working like a dog. There were no musical instruments in our apartment—no piano, no guitar—nothing but the instrument between Quincy’s ears. Quincy didn’t sleep at all that night; he was writing, he was up the whole night and got it. We get in a cab and go to the studio—big, beautiful studio. We get there, Quincy’s carrying sheets of music with him and we had an army of copyists ready to go. Quincy did not conduct the orchestra; he hired a conductor because he wanted to be in the control room with me listening to the mix. So we’re working away on this overture to The Wiz and Quincy had never heard it in actuality. The orchestra played it down, it was about five or six minutes long—not one note put of place! Now to me that’s unique. This piece of music went to tape moments after it went on paper. True story. It’s part of working with Quincy Jones.

Then your collaboration with Quincy and Michael began in earnest the following year with Off the Wall.
I think that was Michael’s coming-of-age musical statement because it is much more mature and musically very deep.

In 2007, Mix senior editor Blair Jackson interviewed Quincy (see “Mix Interview: Quincy Jones” from the October 2007 issue) and talked about the experimentation that took place on albums like Thriller.
I have a technique that I’ve been using for many years where I have a plywood drum platform that I use to get the drums up off the floor. The reason for wanting to get the drums up off the floor is to minimize what you call secondary pickup. If you don’t get the drums off the floor, the low sounds—from the kick drum and toms and so on—will couple to the floor and they’ll spread, and end up having a huge impact in the other microphones in the studio. So by building a heavy-duty drum platform eight-feet-square and about 8 inches off the floor—heavily braced and with the surface not painted or varnished in any way, so that it’s porous and there’s a little bit of sonic absorbency to that—really works.

And after I used that platform for the drums, I got to thinking about it, and I used that same platform to record Michael on, because he dances when he sings, and I didn’t want to lose those sounds and lose the impact of his dancing sounds. And I’m not a purist; I’m not the kind of a guy that, with an artist like Michael Jackson, wants to have his vocals pristine and pure. I think that would be rather boring because there’s a lot of “street” in what Michael does, and I figured it would be best to use this drum platform and reflect those dancing sounds back to the microphone, and it works out really well. Then I hooked up with my pal Arthur Knox of Acoustic Sciences, who introduced me to TubeTraps, which I use then to go on that platform around not only the drums, but later when Michael was singing, I’d put the TubeTraps around Michael on the drum platform.

I have never recorded Michael Jackson where he sang a lead vocal with the lyrics in front of him. He always stayed up the night before and had the lyrics committed to memory, which is kind of interesting, and I challenge the young pop stars today to duplicate that. I don’t think so. But Michael could.

Your book offers a valuable historical document and interesting stories to the music industry.
I don’t think people have realized how serious Michael was about the musical part of it, and he was indeed. “Serious” is a mild expression—he had a passion for the music. I’ve worked with major forces in the music industry and I think Michael was perhaps the top of the heap there, and I just figured I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about it in detail. How could you not? To be in such an important place as that was, at that point in music, I had to tell this story.

By Matt Gallagher.



"Et dans mes petits points sanglants d'où pendaient quatres ailes dorées, je haussais vers le ciel la gloire de mon père en face du soleil couchant." - Marcel Pagnol
Captain Eo

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Conférence de Bruce Swedien

Message par Eddith le Mer 9 Avr 2014 - 20:23

La chaine Youtube de la Full Sail University a mis en ligne il y a quelques jours la conférence donnée par Bruce Swedien le 20 février 2014.

Intitulé “Thriller and Beyond: Bruce Swedien’s Life in Music”, l’événement permettait aux étudiants de poser des questions au célèbre ingénieur du son.
Bruce Swedien est largement revenu sur sa collaboration avec Michael Jackson, non sans émotion d’ailleurs, comme on peut le voir sur la vidéo à partir de 13mn20.
Il a notamment avoué parfois encore parler de lui au présent alors qu’il ne devrait pas puisqu’il est parti. Il le qualifie de ” gars fabuleux” et ne pense pas qu’un jour nous reverront quelqu’un comme lui.

Swedien a livré des anecdotes concernant les enregistrements en studio : le professionnalisme de Vincent Price, le surnom “Smelly” donné à MJ par Quincy Jones et la manie de ce dernier d’utiliser des mots bizarres pour désigner les choses mais aussi son talent, un Eddie Van Halen jouant trop fort en studio au moment de l’enregistrement de son solo guitare sur “Beat it”,…
Il a aussi rappelé que lorsque Michael venait en studio il était toujours totalement préparé. Ainsi par exemple, Michael ne lisait pas les paroles, il chantait de mémoire. Ce détail n’en est pas un car lire les paroles mobilise une partie de l’attention du chanteur et nuit à l’interprétation. Michael aimait également chanter avec les lumières éteintes en studio pour être concentré et ressentir les choses.
Enfin, il a dit se considérer comme “béni” d’avoir rencontré Michael et d’avoir travaillé sur ses disques.

Parmi les gros challenges au cours de sa carrière, Swedien a rappelé celui fixé par Quincy Jones pour l’album “Thriller” : créer la musique qui redonne envie aux gens d’aller chez leurs disquaires et d’acheter des albums.

Swedien a également insisté sur la nécessité dans son métier d’avoir une approche humaine de la musique et de faire les choses en écoutant son coeur.

Concernant l’écoute de la musique, il a répété à plusieurs reprises que pour la savourer à sa juste valeur, il ne fallait pas l’écouter avec un volume trop fort, qu’il fallait bannir les écouteurs et si possible éteindre la lumière pour que l’un de nos sens, l’ouïe, ne soit pas parasitée par les autres.


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Happy Birthday Mister

Message par Eddith le Sam 19 Avr 2014 - 18:18

Bruce Swedien fête aujourd’hui ses 80 ans.  Donc un très bon anniversaire à cette figure incontournable de l’industrie musicale qui a contribué de manière indéniable au succès des albums Off The Wall, Thriller, Brad, Dangerous, HIStory et Invincible.

Happy Birthday MISTER Swedien.................... anniv2 


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Re: Bruce Swedien on Recording, Mixing Michael Jackson

Message par Eddith le Lun 17 Aoû 2015 - 9:27

A la fin du mois de mai, Bruce Swedien avait été hospitalisé suite à une fracture de la hanche avant de sortir de l’hôpital début juin.

Son ancien collaborateur, l’ingénieur du son Brad Sundberg avait alors décidé de réaliser en guise de soutien à cette légende vivante un livre contenant des remerciements rédigés par les fans du monde entier pour son travail exceptionnel.

Messages, photos, dessins ont ainsi été collectés.

Hier, B. Sundberg a donc remis ce livre à B. Swedien et , très enthousiaste, ce dernier a transmis ses remerciements aux contributeurs.

Bruce a d’ailleurs confié qu’il était impatient de le lire d’un bout à l’autre !

Comme dirait MJ : “It’s all for love… L.O.V.E”

Michael Jackson Bruce Swedien on Thriller VOSTFR

cliquez sur

Sources : / MJJ Top News / MJLegend


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Bruce Swedien récompensé ...............

Message par Eddith le Mer 2 Sep 2015 - 9:16

Quelques figures* les plus emblématiques de l'industrie de l'enregistrement de la musique se sont donné rendez-vous Dimanche dernier au Sony Pictures Studios de Culver City, en Californie, afin de décerner des prix et ainsi "reconnaître les visages derrière le son" lors des Pensado* Awards 2015. Les prix soulignent ainsi l'éclat et le travail acharné de tous ces producteurs, auteurs-compositeurs, DJ, des ingénieurs, des mixeurs, des assistants et techniciens derrière les coulisses audio qui passent souvent inaperçus.

Nominé dans la catégorie Giant Award - An icon in the industry (Prix Géant - Une icône dans l'industrie), Bruce Swedien a remporté cette fabuleuse reconnaissance pour laquelle il a été rejoint sur scène par Quincy Jones, Patti Austin et Siedah Garrett.

*Randy Jackson (American Idol), Chris Lord-Alge (Muse, Foo Fighters, Avril Lavigne, Green Day, Black Eyed Peas), Sylvia Massy (Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Jeune Guru (Jay Z, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey) et Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails), Dave Stewart (Eurythmics).

*Pensado's Place est un programme de télévision dont la spécificité tourne autour des ingénieurs du son et de leurs techniques. Il propose des interviews des invités producteurs, mixeurs et autres artistes à chaque épisode.

Sources: / / Siedah Garrett Fan Page (photo)

D'autres photos de l'évènement sur

Page You Tube de Pensado's Place:

source : MJFrance


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