Grammy-nominated mix and recording engineer, Lance Powell has worked with a vast and varied range of artists throughout his career to date, counting the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Miguel, Wu Tang Clan, Liza Minelli, Charlie Puth and more among the clients he has serviced. Here, he tells Headliner about his approach to work in the studio, his proudest moments, and the Merging Technologies kit that shapes his workflow…
“When I was a teenager I played guitar and made pretty pathetic attempts at starting bands,” says Powell of his path into studio recording.
“I soon got my hands on a four-track Tascam Portastudio, and was hooked. Eventually I landed at Platinum Sound Recording Studios working under owner/producer Jerry Wonda and chief engineer Serge Tsai. It was a school of hard knocks, but I grew a lot and it prepared me to take on anything (or anyone) in the industry.”
Such sentiments certainly ring true when perusing his list of credits, having worked across an incredibly diverse line-up of artists and genres. His ability to crossover into so many styles is largely due to his commitment to facilitating the creativity of the client, as opposed to stamping his own mark on any given project.
“I try to keep out of the way as much as possible,” he explains.
“For recording sessions, I'll get everything set up in advance and pay close attention to where headphone stations are placed, where spare floating mics are put, and I'll make sure line-of-sight is good between musicians and producers so it's easy and enjoyable for the artist to be creative and spontaneous.
"When someone wants to record something, I don't do mic shootouts and compare preamps, I call on my experience to decide how I'm going to capture something. Every time we are playing back, I'm subtly adjusting the rough mix and fixing issues while they come up; I don't ever 'leave things for later' when I can avoid it.