The AES Historical track covered a variety of topics at the 137th AES Convention, including audio preservation and background of the industry’s leaders. Pictured, AES Nashville’s Michael Janis presents highlights from the chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Los Angeles, CA (October 13, 2014)—It’s no secret that Nashville’s streets are filled with rich music history, with some of the oldest studios in the country hosting a wide range of artists throughout the city’s history. While some studios have fallen victim to the deteriorating need for large studios, Nashville’s network of artists, producers and engineers are working to preserve the remaining facilities and share the stories of the city’s rise to become Music City.
The AES Nashville Chapter has played a vital role in preserving the city’s history, honoring leaders in the recording industry with the AES Nashville Lifetime Achievement Award annually since 2012. On Thursday at the annual AES Convention in Los Angeles, Michael Janis, a professor at Belmont University and a member of AES Nashville presented highlights from the last three award shows, giving a detailed account of the honored engineers that helped shape Nashville’s music scene.
“These men were mentors, leaders, some you might even consider rock stars of engineering,” Janis said.
During his presentation, which contained a mix of video interviews, clips of songs recorded by each honoree, and photos taken during the height of each engineer’s career, Janis was able to paint a vivid picture of how WSM Radio began to record, and how that kickstarted many of its employees to branch out and build his or her own studio.
Among the many mentioned honorees during Janis’ presentation were Glenn Snoddy, who invented the “The Fuzz,” an early distortion pedal; Bill Porter, former chief engineer at RCA Victor who eventually would become FOH engineer for Elvis; Lee Hazen, a pioneer for home recording studios; and Mack Evans, who “dragged Nashville, kicking and screaming, into the digital age,” according to Janis.
To close his presentation, Janis urged AES members to look into the history of their own cities, and to preserve and commemorate the achievements of these producers and engineers behind the greatest records of all time.
“You should look and find the people who created music in your city,” Janis said.