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Update On a Console And Movie With an Elton John Connection

Written by Chief Editor.

Just over a year ago, this Web site's Cheryl's Specials had an interview with Danny White, head of Sound Techniques Ltd. His company's name comes from the legendary recording studio in London, Sound Techniques, founded by Geoff Frost and John Wood in 1965. 
 
The pair also built a total of 14 Sound Techniques consoles. These were used by their own studio, as well as at Sunset Sound Studios and Elektra Sound Recorders in Hollywood, not to mention De Lane Lea and Trident studios in England. Among the artists who used the desks were Elton, Lou Reed, and T-Rex.
 
There's a documentary in the works about this, and Danny told EJW that among those appearing in Sound Techniques: The Parts You Don't Hear will be producer/engineer Ken Scott, who has worked with Elton and the Beatles. He also said that a number of Elton's albums were recorded, in whole, in part,
''or mixed on the company's consoles:
Elton John; Madman Across The Water; Tumbleweed Connection; Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player; Honky Chateau; 17-11-70; Friends; Rock of the Westies; and Caribou.''
 
Earlier this year, Danny and his team appeared at NAMM 2018. They had with them a
large format 48 channel “ZR” console based on the original Sound Techniques A Range designed by Frost and Wood back in 1967. The desk’s new owner, Andrew Ratcliffe,was among many blown away by the work of Danny, PH Naffar, and many others. Ken Scott was also there, mixing some Elton John songs on the new board.
 
Andrew has since shared more insights with EJW, as has one of the movie's directors, Neil Innes.
 
EJW: Andrew, did you know about the history of Sound Techniques' unit when you bought it? And how do you plan to utilise it?
 
AR: I was aware that Elton John, the Rolling Stones, and many others had used the consoles. One of my favourite albums is Tumbleweed Connection: I feel like I'm in the same room with them.
 
Of course, you need a great group--like Elton's--as well as great equipment. The founder of Elektra, Jac Holzman, has said: ''All of the technology is a means to an end. We are the end. And we just have to pay attention.''
 
I will be using the console next year, when I open Tweed Recording Academy in  Athens, Georgia. We'll have a commercial studio nearby as well as two studios within the school; a community space for performances and an art gallery.
 
A few years ago, I ran Tweed Recording Studio in Oxford in Oxford, Mississippi.
 
EJW: Are you familiar with the film in progress, Sound Techniques: The Parts You Don't Hear (directed by Neil Innes and Nick Turner)?
 
AR: Yes, I'm in it!
 
EJW: You were a drummer before becoming an engineer and producer. Did anyone in particular influence you?
 
AR: I grew up listening to music, thanks to my parents. I heard a lot of Motown and Stax.
 
EJW: Neil, what Elton John songs did Ken play at NAMM 2018, and did any well-known people stop by?
 
NI: Lots of stars stopped by the desk including George Clinton. Ken was mixing Rocket Man and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, along with some David Bowie tracks. Danny and his team were great, and the console and Sound Techniques booth was a super hit with the NAMM crowd.
 
EJW: Has more been happening with the documentary in the past year or so?
 
NI: We're up to more than 40 interviews now {more recent interviewees include Bruce Botnick, who worked with the Doors, and drummer Dave Mattacks, who appeared on Elton's Leather Jackets and Ice on Fire albums} and will be hopefully winding up on the filming this year to focus on the edit for a 2019 / 2020 release! 
 
We've reached out to Elton for an interview but to no avail. Hopefully we'll get him, though!