Alan Parsons - The Alan Parsons Project

March 20, 2010

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I had the opportunity to speak with Alan Parsons for a short while. I asked him how old he was when he got into producing and engineering and it turns out he was 20 years and stated that he had been in the right place at the right time to work with The Beatles and Pink Floyd. He also infomred me that Eye 2 Eye is being released for the first time. "The DVD is very representative of the band's live performance. It was recorded in Madrid and has most of the band's hits on it."

He worked on the Art And Science Of Sound Recording for two years and they just have it wrapped up. The DVD should be coming out in April. It's a very in depth review of everything that is involved in the field and there is even a live band that is being recorded. They still have tons of footage so there could be another DVD in the offing. There's quite a bit of footage of drumming.

We discussed the passing of his partner Eric Wooflson. He and Eric Woolfson had a very long term partnership from the 1970s to the 1990s. Eric had done a musical based on Edgar Allan Poe and the first record together was based on Edgar Allan Poe. I asked why they chose Edgar Allan Poe as a basis for a music project and Alan said "he is basically the inventor of horror fiction and a lot of people relate to him quite well."

I decided to base the interview around the technical aspects of making a record and asked him why he decided to pursue sound recording. "I got into sound recording because as a child I was always interested in what all went into making a record" and that eventually is how he landed on the doorstep The Abbey Road recording studio.

He stated that the best setting for recording is to have a full band and have interaction instead of just recording vocals or just recording one track. When asked if he had any formal training he stated that he has no formal training in sound engineering. Everything he learned was hands on as basically an apprenticeship. "Unfortunately recording studios are closing down right and left so the opportunity to pursue a career in that has pretty much come to a dead end. What with people being able to do things in bits and pieces, recording one track here and there, that's one of the reasons why I did this in depth project into what goes into recording music."

I asked him if he's in favor of remastring records and he said "I favor remastering because when they went from vinyl to CD format, the CDs really sounded pretty crappy so I was pleased to remaster my catalogue and do it under my control so everything sounds fantastic."

I asked how he felt about people just being able to buy single tracks on the Net instead of buying the entire record he said "With the advent of iPods the whole album concept thing has basically disappeared. You can buy individual tracks for .99 and that's a real shame because albums have always had themes and it lays to waste the whole concept album thing." They did a lot of concept albums. I told him that I'm old enough to remember vinyl and one thing I always like was the excitement of bringing a new record and just sitting there gazing at the cool artwork. He remarked that the iPod generation doesn't have much of an attention span. One of the cool things about vinyl in his opinion was being able to turn it over in the middle. I asked about how he felt things in the engineering realm have changed over the years and he said that people don't use tape machines anymore. That you can do things on a computer or a laptop and that wouldn't have even been thought of back then. Now you can correct any mistakes or delete things and add new things in. Back in the day when you hit the record button, that's what it meant. He did say that whether the music now is better is debatable.

They just got back from Russia and they did some dates in Prague and in Tel Aviv. They do sightseeing when they have the time to do so. Unfortunately he caught the flu right before the Moscow show and almost died at the end of it.

The Alan Parsons Project