Audio-Technica, innovator in transducer technology for over 50 years; the Recording, Radio and Film Connection (RRFC), a network of unique educational, instructional and mentorship programs developed for aspiring media professionals; and Clyne Media, Inc., one of the nation's premier specialized marketing/public relations agencies, recently hosted the first Csaba Petocz Master Class Scholarship at the Sunset Sound Recording Studios in Los Angeles. The scholarship, which will be an annual audio education event created to honor the legacy of the beloved producer/engineer, was held at the end of August, and five lucky scholarship winners were selected by the Recording Connection to attend the two-day advanced audio workshop conducted by Joe Chiccarelli, long-time friend and colleague of Csaba and GRAMMY® Award-winning producer/engineer (the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, Café Tacuba, Juanes, the Shins, My Morning Jacket and others).
A three-time GRAMMY nominee with 37 number-one record credits and 32 platinum or multi-platinum albums, Csaba was one of the greats, living and recording in Los Angeles and Nashville while working closely with the top names in the industry, from Metallica to Larry Carlton, John Michael Montgomery to Alanis Morissette, Aretha Franklin to Elvis Costello, Morrissey, Al Stewart and more.The workshop, which was open to advanced audio engineering and music production students, had Chiccarelli focusing on the essentials of tracking, mixing and production, with a live recording session tracking a song by the critically acclaimed L.A.-based indie rock band Slow Hollows.
The day began with a cameo appearance by GRAMMY Award winner Chris Lord-Alge, who, like Chiccarelli, was a long-time friend of Petocz. Lord-Alge spent time addressing the students about Csaba, his work ethic and what it takes to make it in the industry. “This isn’t really a job, it’s a life,” stated Lord-Alge. “How you feel when you hang your hat when you walk in the door is everything. The positive energy you put out makes the session go well. Petocz lives on, and any room he’s worked in, his vibe is there. When your friends move on to Studio H and the session in the sky, it doesn’t mean you’re not still hanging out with them. It’s up to you to keep their spirit alive. A lot of what you guys will be doing is to try and channel the energy from the talent that you learn from, and keep that a part of you.”
Chiccarelli chimed in talking about Csaba’s positive attitude: “Csaba had a way of being really honest and at the same time loving. He had this ability to disarm any situation, to be brutally honest with somebody but at the same time be their friend. The Australian accent always did him well.”
The sessions then began with Chiccarelli taking the students into the control room and giving an overview of the session, followed by teaching them proper microphone placement, then getting levels with each of the members of Slow Hollows, and then finally tracking a song. Throughout the weekend, Chiccarelli interacted with the students, always explaining in detail the various aspects of the tracking and mixing sessions. As an added bonus, throughout the weekend, various industry friends of Csaba stopped by the studio and talked to the students, including GRAMMY Award winning engineer/producer Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Melissa Etheridge, Warren Zevon, Kiss, and more).
Chiccarelli summed up the weekend, remarking, “The weekend was simply great. The students were just fantastic – they’re knowledgeable, passionate and really committed to what they’re doing. It was kind of really cool to see them interact with the band and be so supportive of the band, and be so hungry for all kinds of knowledge about anything to do with the recording and mixing process. I think we actually turned out a good track from the band on top of it! It was a really special weekend.”
Michael Edwards, Audio-Technica Vice President, stated, “When Csaba passed, our industry lost a friend, a colleague and an exceptional engineer/producer. Csaba Petocz was the heart of our community, and he brought a warmth and humanity to the studio that was rare. The event at Sunset Sound was so successful, we are planning to do it again in 2018 as a way to honor Csaba’s accomplishments and to pass on his philosophies and ideals to the next generation of audio professionals. Stay tuned for more information.”
For more information, please visit audio-technica.com.