Article Written By John Luongo
Published in Headphone.Guru May 5, 2015
My name is John Luongo and I have mixed and produced recordings selling over 100,000,000 copies for everyone from Aerosmith and Michael Jackson to Bobby Brown and Huey Lewis. I was the youngest president ever of a CBS Associated Record Label (Pavillion Records) and ran the top three dance and alternative radio crossover radio/club promotion companies in the country. I’ve been called upon to consult, save recordings by turning them into hits and been sought after to provide the major labels and top companies worldwide with my insights into music with ways to impact and reach the creators of it! In my position as a record producer in the business, I produce or mix from what is called the control room which is separated by thick soundproof glass from the artists and the band. We are in creative control of the session plus all that goes on in it. Thus my column name pertains to my views and thoughts from the controlling position in the studio which is referred to as “this side of the glass!”.
I know music, sound and work hard to achieve prominence while maintaining relevance in today’s music scene and community! It requires long hours of hard, thoughtful work to be meaningful but I love it and do it to achieve the excellence I’m always in pursuit of!
For my first column, I’d like to discuss the the cultivation of and shaping the opinions and taste of future entrepreneurs and audiophiles in our business for generations. If the high end manufacturers do not formulate a game plan to educate or enlighten the future producers and artists as to the value of great sound purity and excellence they will all be irrelevant in time and a distant memory once the aging consumers and Asian base are gone!
When I worked with Little Steven (Stevie VanZandt of Springsteen and Sopranos fame) he taught me one thing that I abide by to this day which is to “Anticipate, Anticipate, Anticipate!!!” You future is now and your only chance to shape it while enlisting future audiophiles us NOW! If you, as a manufacturer or as an industry gear individual do not grab attention and secure the interests of this generation, plus, those who guide them through their careers, you will exclude you and your products. Lost with only memories of their irrelevance. Remaining never to return to dominance or prominence in the world of sound!
This is my alert to have a division or a discussion that might harvest the future that includes an introductory product, sold at a great price, acting as a bridge, sparking interest in the value of great sound reproduction to new, aspiring producers, engineers, mixers and Artists! This will only happen if you implement a campaign to let them hear what they have been missing and show them side-by-side comparisons of what what true sound quality is. They must be encouraged to listen to and find out first hand what’s been missing sonically!
This is not a generation of arrogance but merely ignorance and you don’t take the time to reach them now, your products and companies will be relegated to stories of yesterday and be included in articles in audiophile magazines caring stories on the best products that never made it!
To start, the quality of most (not all) music today is inferior in the the production and overall mixing and that is due to the lack of skills of most in their home studio and also in working in ProTools. You see, we have not yet developed the “Hit Button” that you press at the end of a mix that makes a bad song singer or production great! I guess the ‘Junk In – Junk Out’ rule I learned at the beginning of my career still applies!
This is your wake up call to all of you high end audio enthusiasts. If you can reach the new and the next generations of music creatives and creators then you have a shot to impact on and customize their taste by fostering an appreciation of why sound matters! Rap and Hip Hop were a bad thing for the sound aspects of our business but great for the creative and experimental side as they showed that feel was more important then a full sonic palette! I discovered that the dissonance and clashing chords were not always done by unaware musicians but on the contrary by clever musicians who discovered that at times it was done to make the sound and bottom end more massive and thicker to envelope the dancers in a club or listeners on the radio in powerful bass and thick keyboard sounds. That was an epiphany for me as a music professional and I’ve learned every day of my career to be open and welcoming to the new and sometimes perplexing elements of music! Now imagine if we could fuze the two together while having our cake and hear it too?? Sound reproduction meshed seamlessly with the power of the most potent music! I’d be willing to bet that it would mark a new day in the music and audio business where for the first time in decades, sound once again mattered! It can and will happen but only if you wake up and start today!
My column is intended to be one of hope, ideas and out-of-the-box thinking as it provides awareness while heralding great things that might become a part of our future.
As I provide you with some thoughts and suggestions that may just shape and save yours! The one thing I know for a fact success is like a perishable commodity which you must constantly tweak and care for if you want it to transcend time and last longer! If you truly want to be sure to capture It, then your objectives should be centered around learning to hate what you love ( if it’s time or usefulness has expired) and to learn to love what you hate and explore elements of each which may prove to be a necessary for your survival with a meaningful future for you and your products!