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MARK AND THE MACHINES

Adele, Florence Welch, Iggy Pop, Josh Homme – all distinctive vocalists, and just some of those recorded by engineer and producer Mark Rankin. MusicTech catches up with Mark in his bespoke LA studio to talk gear geekery, career advice and hidden vocalists…
Mark Rankin (second left), recording Queens Of The Stone Age’s latest album, with Mark Ronson

If there’s anyone who knows how to record the perfect vocal take, it has to be Mark Rankin. As Paul Epworth’s long-time engineer, he was there capturing Adele’s 30-million-plus-selling voice for the album 21, and Florence Welch’s unique vocal delivery for two Florence + The Machine albums. Since then, he’s been producing all sorts of acts after relocating to LA, and is now making waves in the US music scene with artists such as Queens Of The Stone Age and Iggy Pop, plus US rising stars Finish Ticket. So how did he get to this pinnacle of recording success? A lot of experience, a smidgen of luck, and the odd bootleg…

“I guess my first thing was with a sampler in a bedroom studio,” Mark recalls of his early recording interest. “We’d do bootlegs and dance 12”s, but I decided I wanted to do it professionally, so I went to college in the evenings and did a City And Guilds sound-engineering course.”

After completing the course, Mark landed a job at The Exchange mastering studio. It was here that he started to learn about bespoke recording gear as the boss of the studio, Graeme Durham, was looking to create an analogue recording setup.

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About MusicTech

2017 has been an exciting, innovative year for new music-making technology, from machine-learning plug-ins to laser-guided microphones and from scientifically crafted, point-source monitors to boutique synthesisers, the past 12 months has offered up new variations on classic gear and inventive new creative tools for making and recording music. We pay tribute to the best gear of the year in our roundup, with our winners compiled by a fusion of reader votes and our expert panel. Elsewhere this issue, we have the second part of our new A-Z series with Gear4Music, chat to MPG Award-winning mastering engineer Mandy Parnell and Grammy-winning producer and engineer Mark Rankin, and cast of our eye to the future with tutorial content in the latest iterations of Live and Reason. Additionally, you’ll find all the latest reviews from the likes of Toontrack, Dynaudio, Sonokinetic and more.It's been an excellent year for the music-technology industry, and MusicTech as a magazine. Here’s hoping 2018 will be equally as fruitful… enjoy the issue.
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