Sylvia Massy

Last updated
Sylvia Massy
Birth nameSylvia Lenore Massy
Born Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation(s) Audio engineer, record producer, author
Years active1985–present
Website www.sylviamassy.com

Sylvia Lenore Massy is an American record producer, mixer, engineer, and author. Massy is perhaps best recognized for her work on 1993's Undertow , the full-length triple platinum-selling debut for Los Angeles alternative metal band Tool [1] as well as her work with System of a Down, [2] Johnny Cash, [3] Red Hot Chili Peppers, [4] and Brazilian band South Cry.

Contents

History

Massy's first project was in the mid-1980s as producer, engineer, and mixer for a compilation album titled Rat Music for Rat People, Vol. 3 on the CD Presents label. [5] Acts featured included Adolescents, Raw Power, Doggy Style and Mojo Nixon. She followed this with producing the punk band Verbal Abuse for Boner Records, [6] engineering two projects for metal band Exodus [7] and co-producing the Sea Hags independent album with a young guitarist Kirk Hammett, [8] who had just finished the Master of Puppets album with thrash metal group Metallica. She also produced "Television, Drug of a Nation" by the Beatnigs, the former band of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy's Michael Franti. [9]

From Green Jellö to Tool

Towards the end of the 1980s, Massy moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and worked at Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. [10] At Tower she met the members of a Buffalo, New York, band named Green Jellö (later known as Green Jellÿ) and recorded their debut album. After becoming a staff engineer at Larrabee Sound in West Hollywood, she was hired by Zoo Records/BMG to produce Green Jellö's major label debut album, [11] which featured members of a new Los Angeles group called Tool. On Green Jellö's Cereal Killer album, Tool's Maynard James Keenan sings on "Three Little Pigs", and Tool's drummer Danny Carey plays on the album. [12] This began a relationship Massy would have with the band Tool that would span two records: Opiate and Undertow . [10]

Los Angeles and Larrabee Sound

In Los Angeles, Massy was an engineer, producer or mixer on recordings from artists including Aerosmith, Babyface, Big Daddy Kane, Bobby Brown, Prince, [13] Julio Iglesias, Seal, Skunk Anansie, [14] Paula Abdul, Ryuichi Sakamoto and many more. She worked with manager Gary Kurfirst on Irish rock band Cyclefly for Kurfirst's Radioactive Records. [15] At Larrabee Sound, Sylvia connected with producer Rick Rubin and would work with him on several projects spanning seven years.

Sound City

From 1994 until 2001, Massy's vintage Neve 8038 console and other specialized recording equipment occupied Studio B at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California. Besides Massy's own work at Sound City, several other successful projects were recorded on Massy's equipment during these years, including albums by Sheryl Crow, [16] Queens of the Stone Age, [16] Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Smashing Pumpkins, the Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz. [16] Massy's equipment is visible in many scenes of Dave Grohl's film Sound City .

Rubin and beyond

Massy engineered and mixed several projects for producer Rick Rubin on his label American Recordings, including Johnny Cash's album Unchained , [17] which won a Grammy award for Best Country Album in 1997. With Rubin, she also recorded Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Slayer, Donovan, Geto Boys, the Black Crowes, Danzig, and System of a Down's debut album. [18] In the '90s, Massy produced material for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sevendust, and Powerman 5000, which featured guest appearances from Rob Zombie [19] and actor Malachi Throne; and for newcomer Pauley Perrette. [20] In 1997 Massy mixed the Beastie Boys' "Tibetan Freedom Concert" [21] in New York with Adam Yauch and producer Pat McCarthy.

RadioStar Studios and international acclaim

Starting in 2001, Massy owned and operated RadioStar Studios out of the Weed Palace Theater [22] until its closing in 2012. She acquired the theater property in 2001 in Weed, California, and operated it as a recording studio for 11 years, with notable clients having been Sublime, Dishwalla, Swirl 360, Econoline Crush, Cog, Spiderbait, Norma Jean, Built To Spill and From First To Last (featuring Sonny Moore of Skrillex. [23] ) Several international hits came out of RadioStar Studios with Massy, including Spiderbait's "Black Betty" which reached #1 on Australia's ARIA chart in 2004; Cog's The New Normal album received the Australian Triple J "J Award" in 2005; Seigmen's "Metropolis" which reached #4 on Norway's sales charts; Klepht was named "Best Portuguese Act" by MTV Europe; Econoline Crush received a Canadian Juno nomination and Platinum sales status for their The Devil You Know album; and Animal Alpha's EP reached Gold sales status in Norway in 2005.

Artwork, writing and music festivals

In the 2000s, she wrote a regular column in Mix Magazine called "Gear Stories" [24] which discussed vintage recording equipment versus modern equivalents. She wrote an essay about Thomas Edison's contribution to the recording industry which was included in the official Grammy Awards Program. In 2011, Massy co-founded the 4&20 Blackbird Music Festival [25] which operated for two years in downtown Weed, California. The festival drew approximately 7000 people and featured 250 musical acts during its run.

In January 2015, Massy began to write a book called Recording Unhinged for Hal Leonard Publishing. [26] The book was released in March 2016. Interviews and contributors for the book include Hans Zimmer, Geoff Emerick, Bob Ezrin, Bruce Swedien, Michael Franti, Bob Clearmountain, Al Schmitt, Elliot Scheiner, Linda Perry, Ross Robinson, Matt Wallace, Ross Hogarth, Shelly Yakus, Paul Wolff. Massy also illustrated the book.

The cover of the March 2016 issue of Electronic Musician Magazine features Massy's illustration of a dinosaur and a robot in a battle.[ citation needed ]

As an educator

In 2015 and 2018, Massy was a visiting professor at Berklee College Of Music in Boston. In 2018 Massy taught a workshop at the Abbey Road Institute in London, UK. In 2016 she lectured at SAE Institute's audio engineering schools in London and Munich. She has presented periodic recording workshops in Dresden at Castle Rohrsdorf and at Mix With The Masters in Les Studios de la Fabrique in Saint-Remy-de-Provence in the south of France. In 2017 Massy conducted a workshop and lecture at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Gilbert, Arizona, and a workshop at Tecnólogico de Monterrey in Mexico City for several hundred students. She has also conducted workshops in Sardinia, Oslo and Gdansk and Rome.

In 2017, Massy and co-author Chris Johnson began a collaboration for a professional recording course at Berklee based on their book, Recording Unhinged.

In 2019, Massy toured and conducted workshops for Abbey Road Institute locations in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and London.

Current status

Massy lives in Ashland, Oregon and works out of her private studio. [27] She continues to work as an independent producer, educator and music promoter. She has appeared on an episode of Pensado's Place, an industry video program with producer/mixer Dave Pensado and was nominated for "The Big Award" at the Pensado Awards in 2014 . Massy is a member of NARAS and served on the P&E Wing Steering Committee [28] and Advisory Boards. In 2009, she traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby for musician's Performance Rights and continues to be involved with musician, producer and educational advocacy work on behalf of NARAS. In February 2016 Massy won the Music Producers Guild's "MPG Inspiration Award" at the MPG Awards in London. The award was presented by John Leckie.

In 2015 Massy mixed for Cage the Elephant and Soilwork. The latter part of 2015 and early 2016 saw her overseeing production of Avatar's album Feathers and Flesh . [29] In 2016 Massy recorded Seattle all-woman noise band Thunderpussy in an abandoned nuclear power plant's cooling tower for the song "Torpedo Love". [30] [31] She recorded singer-songwriter Sarah Brendel in the underground venue at the Merkers Show Mine, a retired salt mine in Merkers, Germany.

In early 2017 she produced and engineered the Melvins at the Village Studios in Santa Monica while being filmed by Mix With The Masters. She also produced albums by Econoline Crush, Far From Alaska and Dishwalla, and was hired to re-work the recordings of Grey Daze, a side project by Linkin Park's frontman Chester Bennington. In early 2018, Massy traveled to Mexico City to produce the MTV Unplugged television broadcast (and subsequent album release) of the band Molotov. In the summer of 2018 she gained access to the abandoned London Underground station at Aldwych to record British band God Damn on the subway platform.

In 2019 Massy produced and mixed the follow up to Life of Agony's River Runs Red album, named The Sound of Scars. Tracks were recorded at Studio Divine in Ashland, Oregon. Later in 2019 Massy mixed a solo album for Taylor Hawkins (drummer for Foo Fighters). The album features performances by Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Joe Walsh (Eagles), Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), LeAnn Rimes, Nancy Wilson (Heart), Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction, Porno For Pyros), Roger Taylor (Queen), Chris Chaney (Porno For Pyros) and Duff (Guns N' Roses).

Discography

Massy has worked on the following projects: [32]

YearArtistProjectTitleProducerEngineerMixNote
2019 Taylor Hawkins LP Get The Money YesRepublic
2019 Life Of Agony LP The Sound Of Scars YesYesYesNapalm
2018 God Damn LP Satellite Prongs YesYesYesOne Little Indian label
2018 Molotov LP/Video El Desconecte YesMTV Unplugged Performance
2017 Turbonegro LP Rock & Roll Machine Yes
2017 Far from Alaska LP Unlikely YesYesYes
2017 Melvins Single"From the Heart / Not a Leech"YesYesYes
2017 Dishwalla LPJuniper RoadYesCo-Producer
2016 Red Sun Rising Single"Uninvited" (Morissette)YesYesYes
2016 Thunderpussy LPYesYes
2016 Avatar LP Feathers & Flesh YesYes
2016 Justin Kawashima EPYes
2015 Die So Fluid SingleYes
2014 Pink Grenade with Johnny Depp LPFear of a Pink PlanetYesYes
2014 Cage the Elephant SingleYes
2014 Soilwork SingleYes
2011 Dead Sara SinglesYesYesYes
2011 Molotov Jive AlbumStormYes
2011 Showbread Album Who Can Know It? Yes
2011 Air Dubai EP Day Escape Yes
2011 One-Eyed Doll AlbumDirtyYes
2011 Lillian Axe Album XI The Days Before Tomorrow Yes
2010 The Cliks Album Dirty King YesYesYes
2010 Kaura AlbumThat Which Defines UsYes
2010 Distortion Mirrors EPCircle of WolvesYes
2010 South Cry AlbumBlue MoonYes
2010 Sublime with Rome EP Yours Truly YesYesYes
2010 Shrub AlbumSenoritaYesYesYes
2010 The Crash AlbumYes
2010 81db AlbumImpressionsYes
2009 Lucky Lew AlbumBeauty in AggressionYesYesYes
2009 The Grand SingleYes
2009 Showbread LP The Fear of God Yes
2009 The Dollyrots LP A Little Messed Up Co-Mix
2009 Seven Years Past LP24 Days in MayYes
2008 Lax'n'Busto LPObjectiu: La llunaYesYesYes
2008 Godhead Single from LP At the Edge of the World Yes
2008 Belladonna LPThe Noir AlbumYes
2008 The Cliks LP Dirty King YesYesYes
2008 Johnny Cash Songs from The Legend of Johnny Cash YesYesCertified Platinum
2008 Econoline Crush LP Ignite YesYesYes
2007 COG LP Sharing Space YesYesYes
2007 Mankind Is Obsolete LPTrapped InsideYes
2007 Savoy LP Savoy Songbook Vol. 1 Yes
2006 Mt. Helium LP Faces Yes
2006 Annie Mac LPIgnitionYes
2006 Apex Theory EP Lightpost Yes
2006 Showbread LP Age of Reptiles Yes
2006 Silver Griffin LPHere in the NightYesYesYes
2006 Five Star Iris LPFive Star IrisYesYes
2006 Major Parkinson LP Major Parkinson YesYesYes
2006 P.T.P. LPDrop of InkYes
2006 Tripdavon LPEnlightened OperativeYes
2006 Atomic LPYes
2006 Furia LPYesYesYes
2005 Animal Alpha LP Pheremones YesYesYesCertified Gold
2005 Staple LP Of Truth and Reconciliation YesYesYes
2005 Re:Ignition LPTrue LoveYesYesYes
2005 Scott Huckabay LPSecret PortalCo-Producer
2004 Spiderbait LP Tonight Alright YesYesYesCertified Platinum
2004 Showbread LP No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical YesYesYes
2004 Dishwalla LPYesYesYes
2004 COG LP The New Normal YesYesYes
2004 Mnemonic LPCo-Producer
2004 Bigbang LPBigbangYes
2003 Zed LP This Little Empire YesYesYes
2003 Sophie B. Hawkins Singles Wilderness Yes
2003 Fighting Jacks LPThe Dying Art of LifeYesYesYes
2003 Seven Mary Three Singles Dis/Location YesYesYes
2002 Acroma LP Orbitals YesYesYes
2002 Lustra EP Left for Dead YesYes
2001 Lollipop Lust Kill LP (debut) My So Called Knife Yes
2000 System of a Down Single"Störagéd" - Heavy Metal 2000 Yes
2000 Loudermilk LP The Red Record Yes
2000 Powerman 5000 Single"Get On" - Scream 3 Yes
2000 Sevendust Single"Fall" - Scream 3YesYesYes
2000 System of a Down Single"Spiders" - Scream 3 Yes
2000 Powerman 5000 Single"Nobody's Real" - End of Days Yes
2000 Shivaree LP I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump Yes
1999 Second Coming SingleYes
1999 The Deadlights LP (debut)The DeadlightsYesYesYes
1999 System of a Down Single"Marmalade"Yes
1998 Powerman 5000 LP Tonight the Stars Revolt! YesYesCertified Platinum
1998 Cyclefly LP Generation Sap YesYesYes
1998 Melissa Etheridge SinglesYes
1998 Dig SinglesLife LikeYes
1998 Firewater LP The Ponzi Scheme Yes
1998 System of a Down LP System of a Down YesCertified Gold
1998 The Smashing Pumpkins Single Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music Yes
1998 Kula Shaker Single K YesYes
1998 Reef LP Rides Yes
1998 Cowboy Mouth Singles Mercyland Yes
1997 Kula Shaker Remix from K "Hush"Yes
1997 The Outsiders LPViper RoomYes
1997 Porno for Pyros LP Tibetan Freedom Concert YesYesCo-Producer
1997 Alanis Morissette LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Foo Fighters LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Blur LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Bjork LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Lee Perry LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Patti Smith LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Beck LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Rage Against the Machine LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Smashing Pumpkins LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Fugees LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Cibo Matto LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Pavement LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Sonic Youth LPTibetan Freedom ConcertYesYesCo-Producer
1997 Econoline Crush LP The Devil You Know YesYesYesCertified Platinum
1997 Reef Single"Don't You Like It" - Glow Yes
1997 Luscious Jackson Remix"Naked Eye"Yes
1997 Flea / Jewel SinglesCo-Producer
1997 Glueleg LPClodhopperYesYesYes
1997 Deftones Single"Can't Even Breathe" - Escape from L.A. Soundtrack Yes
1997 Mary Beats Jane LPLocustYes
1996 Red Hot Chili Peppers Alt. mixes One Hot Minute Yes
1996 Red Hot Chili Peppers Single"Love Rollercoaster" - Beavis and Butt-Head Do America Soundtrack YesYesYesCertified Gold
1996 Johnny Cash LP Unchained YesYes
1996 R.E.M. Road Movie Yes
1996 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers "Climb That Hill" - She's the One YesYes
1996 Donovan LP"Eldorado" - Surtras Yes
1996 Love and Rockets LP Sweet F.A. YesYes
1996 Pigmy Love Circus Single"Drug Run to Fontana"Yes
1996 Horsehead LPOnismYesYesYes
1996 Oingo Boingo LP Farewell Yes
1996 Bigelf LPCloser to DoomYes
1995 Skunk Anansie LPParanoid and SunburntYesYesCertified Gold
1995 Machines of Loving Grace LP Gilt YesYesYes
1995 Seigmen LPMetropolisYesYesYesCertified Gold
1995 Brutal Juice LP Mutilation Makes Identification Difficult YesYesYes
1995 Slayer LP Divine Intervention Yes
1994 Luscious Jackson Single"Deep Shag" - Natural Ingredients Yes
1994 Babes in Toyland Single"Say What You Want" - S.F.WYesYesYes
1994 Seigmen LP Total YesYesYes
1993 Tool LP Undertow YesYesCertified Multi-Platinum
1993 Greta LPNo BitingYesYesYes
1992 Green Jellö LP Cereal Killer YesYesYesCertified Gold
1992 Tool EP Opiate YesYesYesCertified Platinum
1992 Patti LaBelle SingleAsst. Eng
1992 Ingrid Chavez Single"Crystal City Cry"Yes
1992 Carmen Elektra SingleYes
1992 Louie Louie SingleAsst. Eng
1991 Prince Remix"Cream"Asst. Eng
1991 Prince LP Diamonds and Pearls YesAsst. Eng, Certified Multi-Platinum
1991 Fishbone LP The Reality of My Surroundings Asst. Eng
1991 Kate Bush SingleAsst. Eng
1991 George Clinton SingleAsst. Eng
1991 Green Jellö LP (vinyl) Cereal Killer YesYesYes
1991 Elton John Single"Nobody's…. "Asst. Eng
1991 Tom Jones LPAsst. Eng
1991 Jefferson Starship LPAsst. Eng
1991 Paul Schaffer Band SingleAsst. Eng
1991 Enuff Z'Nuff LP Strength Asst. Eng
1991 Sheena Easton SingleAsst. Eng
1991 Kylie Minogue SingleAsst. Eng
1991 Paula Abdul LP Spellbound YesAsst. Eng
1991 Ziggy Marley LiveYes
1991 Eric Burdon LPAsst. Eng
1990 Prince "New Power Generation"YesAsst. Eng
1990 Prince LP Graffiti Bridge
1990 Junkyard LPYesYes
1990 Wendy & Lisa Single"Waterfall" - Wendy and Lisa Asst. Eng
1990 Mavis Staples SingleAsst. Eng
1990 Rosie Gaines SingleAsst. Eng
1990 Paula Abdul SingleAsst. Eng
1990 Aerosmith Remix"The Other Side"YesCo-Mix
1990 Seal SingleAsst. Eng
1990 Babyface SingleAsst. Eng
1990 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark LPAsst. Eng
1989 Big Daddy Kane Single"It's a Big Daddy Thing" - It's a Big Daddy Thing Asst. Eng
1990 Young MC LP Brainstorm Asst. Eng
1990 Bobby Brown Single"The Freestyle Mega-Mix"Asst. Eng
1990 Queen LPAsst. Eng
1990 New Edition SingleAsst. Eng
1990 Teddy Riley SingleAsst. Eng
1990 Spandau Ballet LP Heart Like a Sky Asst. Eng
1990 BeBe & CeCe Winans (featuring MC Hammer)Single"The Blood" - Different Lifestyles Yes
1990 Danzig LP Danzig II: Lucifuge Asst. Eng
1990 Geto Boys LPAsst. Eng
1990 The Time Remix"Chocolate" (remix)Yes
1990 Apollo Smile LPYes
1990 Black Crowes LP Shake Your Moneymaker Asst. Eng
1990 The Jacksons LP 2300 Jackson Street Asst. Eng
1990 Ryuichi Sakamoto LPSoundtrack to Black Rain Asst. Eng
1989 Green Jellö LP Triple Live Möther Gööse at Budokan Yes
1989 The Big F LP (debut)The Big FAsst. Eng
1989 Trouble LPAsst. Eng
1989 Julio Iglesias LP Starry Night Asst. Eng
1989 Jermaine Jackson LPAsst. Eng
1989 Barbra Streisand LP The Broadway Album Asst. Eng
1987 Exodus LP Pleasures of the Flesh Yes
1987 Joe Satriani LP Surfing with the Alien Asst. Eng
1987 Femme Fatale Single"I Need a Date"Yes
1987 Adolescents "All Day and All of the Night" (Ray Davies)
- Rat Music for Rat People Vol. III
YesYesYes
1987 Mojo Nixon / Skid Roper "I Ain't Gonna Piss in No Jar" (Mojo Nixon)
- Rat Music for Rat People Vol. III
YesYesYes
1987 Raw Power "We Shall Overcome" (traditional)
- Rat Music for Rat People Vol. III
YesYesYes
1987 Doggy Style "Janitor Man" (Gary Hobish)
- Rat Music for Rat People Vol. III
YesYesYes
1986 Sea Hags LP (debut) Sea Hags YesYesCo-Producer
1986 The Beatnigs Single"Television"YesYesYes
1986 Tuxedomoon Live LPYes
1985 Verbal Abuse LPRocks Your LiverYesYesYes
1984 New Riders of the Purple Sage SingleAsst. Eng
1984 Bobby Hutcherson LP Color Schemes Asst. Eng

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  25. "Photos: 4&20 Blackbird Festival rocks Weed - Mount Shasta Herald - Mount Shasta, CA - Mount Shasta, CA". Mtshastanews.com. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
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  28. "THE RECORDING ACADEMY® PRODUCERS & ENGINEERS WING® ANNOUNCES 2009-2010 STEERING COMMITTEE". GRAMMY.org. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
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  31. "The Rolling Thunderous Sound of a Snare Drum Struck Inside Abandoned Nuclear Cooling Tower". March 1, 2018.
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