Interview with Andy VanDette at Masterdisk
[Conducted in April 2003]
Andy VanDette, of Masterdisk, recently took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a handful of questions about mastering Beastie Boys records.
You worked on sequencing Paul's Boutique back in 1989. What memories do you have of working with the Beastie Boys and the Dust Brothers?
I can't remember what I had for lunch today, but that session? I still have very vivid memories. Yauch was sick, so he wasn't there. It was difficult to get all 6 Producers to assemble the final CD with me-they were more interested in hitting on our then receptionist (& 22 year old virgin) Tina. THANK GOD for Mario C. He knew what issues had to be resolved by whom, and would patiently track down whoever was needed. It went that way all night. Finally, I was finished assembling the record. I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when Adrock pulled out an audio cassette and said "oh yeah, I wanted to use 4 bars off this"....."in the middle of the record". In the days before hard disk editors.....this was a couple hours more work. It was definitely one of the most challenging editing gigs EVER. They pushed the limit of what that old Sony DAE-3000 could do......
When a band comes to masterdisk with their material in hand, what happens next? Can you explain the process?
Simply put -mastering maximizes your mix for the medium which it will be released. Vinyl 12 inch? CD? Time to make sure it is at a very contemporary level, and sound quality.. Every situation is different. Many times, records recorded and mixed in the same room, by the same person, at approximately the same time, will need the same type of mastering treatment. Although I would point out-this is not the case with Beastie Boys sessions.... Be ready for anything...
Over the years the Beastie Boys have relied on Masterdisk time and time again. Is there a lot of competition in business or are there only a handful of places that do that level of mastering?
Just like anywhere in the music biz-you find a ton of competition.... A handful of places struggling to maintain their place.... These days any bozo with a computer and a plugin can make things LOUD, but most musicians realize the importance of good mastering-to get a good set of ears on the project-even if recorded in a garage or basement. It can make the difference between loud or GOOD & LOUD... :-)
Are there times when you are asked to work on material for an album that you really dislike?
Sad but true, Yes, I am but an audio whore...... But I find even music I don't like, I can make sound a lot better through mastering.