Check out an interview of Ann Mincieli from the Women Behind the Consol series at NAMM:

On January 14, 2011, Making Music Herstory presented the panel WOMEN BEHIND THE CONSOLE: Inside the process, live at the NAMM show. Ann Mincieli, one of the 5 panelists, was not able to attend due to the snowstorms on the East Coast. Fortunately Lisa Chamblee Hampton asked some questions so that we could still gain some insight from Ann.

LCH: Working as an assistant engineer you have a lot of responsibility but you also have time to observe. Can you tell us what you learned from being an assistant engineer for Mariah Carey?

AM: I learned so much about vocals- how to stack, EQ, and blend. Also learned about the vocal mechanics and the physics of how you can place your tone- whether it’s in your chest, your head tone or how to make your tone fuller. It helped me as an engineer be able to teach microphone technique to artists that I record or show them how to round their vocal tones off so they are fuller and more airy by switching to head tone.

I also learned how to lock two 3348?s up using the remote controls. That machine was the coolest machine! You could digitally copy from one track to another, trim your punches and it had a cross fade switch. Back then we would be running 96 tracks at one time. Then the engineer would blend the stacks down to 2 channels and then you would increment up with vocal slaves. So essentially you can have 150 tracks running all blended down to 96 tracks. Nowadays Pro Tools has spoils us! Back in the day it was so much harder to record. At least with the 3348 you had a rehearse key in case you messed up a punch; you could undo it. I also learned how to be very organized. Her engineer at the time, Dana Jon Chappelle, was very organized with recalls, writing up track sheets and tape labels. Wow! We don’t even have that anymore!

LCH: Can you sum up/describe all the things you do with Alicia Keys?

AM: Wow! On any given day I can do just about anything and everything for Alicia. From Engineer to Album Coordinator, Studio Director to Programming, Tour Programming and Editing, Studio Designing, Piano Plug-in Design (Alicia’s Keys, Native Instruments)…the list goes on and on. During the last tour I stood out there on the bus and helped with so many things.

The most gratifying thing is that we HEAR COLORS and SEE SOUNDS. We aren’t recording just to record, we are gear-heads and we manipulate our sample libraries and gear to color the sounds, theme and vibe of the songs. Whether it’s a gritty guitar part, finding gear on eBay to recreate a tone- just being able to research and make those choices are just as rewarding; as well as being able to hire all the session musicians. At the end of the day we are painting a picture and a theme for each song.

LCH: You just had the Grand Opening of Jungle City Studios in NYC. How does it feel to be a studio owner?


AM: It feels incredible! It’s just one GOAL that I had for many years. I wanted it to be way more than just a generic studio. I wanted a piece of ART. You guys will see a lot of the studio unveiling in the coming weeks.

Originally posted 2011-02-06 03:43:50.