Sylvia Massy

Sylvia Massy has always been fascinated by art in all forms. She began painting at an early age and as a teenager had her own radio program. As a musical performer she first focused on learning the skills needed to record her own music but soon discovered many of her friends were requesting her help with their own projects. While working at Larrabee Studios in West Hollywood, Sylvia engineered Tool's smash album Undertow in 1993, subsequently causing a rush of heavy metal bands to seek her out. However, the music she engineered covered many musical genres and a diverse list of artists ranging from Aerosmith and Prince to Seal and Paula Abdul. Sylvia teamed up with producer Rick Rubin on a number of important recordings including the Grammy winning album Unchained by Johnny Cash. The pair also worked on recordings by Tom Petty, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Geto Boys and the Black Crowes (among others). From 2001 until 2012 she owned and operated RadioStar Studios resulting in projects such as Spiderbait's "Black Betty" which rose to number one in Australia as well as albums by Swirl 360, Sublime and Cog. As her award-winning career as a recording engineer developed so did her passion and knowledge of the gear she used. In 2016 she wrote the book Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording Techniques with contributions by her partner Chris Johnson (and Sylvia's own illustrations). Together the two amassed an impressive collection of rare and historic microphones (which includes the Robert Paquette Collection) and regularly provide articles and videos about their collection with the hopes of inspiring engineers to use vintage gear in their own recordings. 

Interview Date:
August 20, 2021
Job Title:
Recording Engineer
Company:

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