Blog post courtesy of Sacha Eve Williams – ACM@Metropolis ‘Contemporary Songwriting & Artists Development‘ student.
ACM students got the chance to sit in a master class with legendary producer Eddie Kramer, who has worked closely with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. We started the session with the Electric Church documentary based on Hendrix which included live footage of his incredible performances. Eddie then entered the room with a warm welcome from guests and students, which he replied “welcome to my nightmare!” Immediately displaying his dry sense of humour. From the word go it was obvious that he was witty, passionate and humble, despite his portfolio working with the greatest.
He started with a presentation, including pictures of Jimi that he took himself during the peak of his career. He also mentioned that he started as a ‘tea boy’ which I think most ACM students can relate to; the idea that you start at the bottom, in the words of Eddie ‘making tea and scrubbing toilets’, but clearly stressed that hard work and perseverance will ultimately bring success. He added that as a producer, in some ways, you will always be the tea boy because you always have to satisfy the client. Milk no sugar please!
Throughout the master class, Eddie came across as exceedingly genuine, interacting with the audience regularly and giving us tips such as the importance of communication with the client and gave an old school insight into production. He clearly wasn’t a fan of modern technology, opening our eyes to the techniques that he used in his day. Finally, leading us into the historic Studio B (Adele, George Michael, Phil Collins), he showed us original segments of Jimi’s music which he worked the faders to go through how the sounds were made, including an interesting story about how a certain sound was used by a comb and a piece of tissue paper! Kramer demonstrated how to work the Ampex Tape Machine in the studio among other pieces of equipment that we could be potentially using in the future.
Overall, Kramer gave an interesting insight into his career as a producer and by interacting with those in the session. He not only answered our technical questions and opened our eyes to other possibilities but he clearly demonstrated his warm and humble nature which is a lesson in itself. He mentioned that Jimi was meticulous with his work and it was obvious that Eddie had the same approach. The fact that he still referred to himself as ‘the tea boy’ gave great significance to just how down to earth and hardworking he is which is an attitude that will always be respected by others and will ultimately bring success.