Welcome to issue #82 of Tape Op.
When an aspiring engineer/producer/musician asks me how they should get their start, I always tell them that the most important aspect for me early on was being part of a community, and not necessarily one based on where I lived. This issue of Tape Op illustrates that quite well. Jack White III and Brendan Benson originally hailed from Michigan, and now live in Nashville, Tennessee. Besides their collaboration in The Raconteurs, Brendan's excellent solo career and Jack's groups The White Stripes, The Dead Weather and his Third Man record label have had far-reaching effects with others all over the world. Producer/engineer Vance Powell grew up in Missouri, but now also living in Nashville he's worked extensively with Jack in the studio — the career trajectory he's taken is filled with collaboration, hard work and friendships. Dungen might hail from Sweden, but they have recently cut a single for Third Man, with Jack producing and Vance engineering.
It all ties together through a shared love of music.
It was 15 years ago that the first issue of Tape Op made its debut. I photocopied all the sheets, spray- painted the covers and hand-stapled the pages together. My goal was to learn more about music recording, to note that it could frequently happen outside of a proper studio and to celebrate that making records is truly an art and not simply a technical process.
In my heart I still know the most important aspect of creative music recording is the fact that this is art we're dealing with. Creating works that resonate with listeners and communicating through music and sound is our goal. Recording equipment is necessary, but gear is only part of the tools that we use. If anything, the changing face of audio production technology only proves that it is the music and creative recording process that matters, and not merely the equipment.
Over the years thousands of readers have joined us for the ride and many have become contributors. My partner, John Baccigaluppi, deserves half of any praise due. A few years into Tape Op, he took my raw ideas and helped turn a tiny magazine into a leader in its field — something I could've never imagined in 1996. I gratefully thank John, our Tape Op staff, all of our wonderful contributors and, of course, our faithful readers. I also thank my beautiful wife Jenna, who has literally been with me since the beginning of this journey.
There are a million ways to create and record music. There always will be. Keep your minds and hearts open, use and improve your skills and bring more music into the world.
Our own Tape Op Books is extremely proud to announce that we have published Phill Brown's Are We Still Rolling? In Tape Op #12 Chris Eckman and I interviewed Phill, and in issues 16 to 32 we ran excerpts from his then unpublished book. An amazing story, this is one of the finest memoirs of classic studio sessions one will ever read, with Phill's own personal story setting an arc across the music of the '60s to the current day. Many readers have asked us when this book would come out, so we did it ourselves. You can find Are We Still Rolling? wherever books are sold, so grab a copy today!
We're also excited to show off the magazine's new website. Dave Middleton, Hillary Johnson, AJ Wilhelm and the gang have been hard at work rebuilding and redesigning our site and filling it with more content than ever. Look for online bonus articles with each new issue, search our past gear reviews and enjoy videos and other new online content at tapeop.com.