Follow up Interview with Piety St. Studios founder/engineer/producer/musician/composer, Mark Bingham

  Here is a second, concluding interview with a big contributor the current face of New Orleans music.  Mark is a good talker and pretty free with colorful stories about artists and the machine that keeps them "out there." This talk has quite a different flavor from the first interview.

Part 1- Initial move to New Orleans; meeting and doing work with WWOZ; acquiring studio gear for New Orleans; first studio recordings:John Cleary, Bunchy, Mike Ward, Amadee Castanell, John Mooney; how the Boiler Room came about; cheap acquisition of 2.25 inch tape machines; differences in recording spaces; who was recorded at the Boiler Room; Lump and Ben Ellman; Delfeayo Marsalis; Glenn Patscha, Johnny Vidacovich; What changed since the days of the Boiler Room; the other studios in New Orleans in the 90's; angry studio customers and mistaken blame; the kinds of work Mark has to do in the studio; why the Boiler Room folded.

Part 2- How Piety St Studios started; paradox of a successful studio starting in 2001;...still using analog; how the studio gained wide renown; Cash Money; Vida Blue; changes in musical styles since the Boiler Room- collage/mashup/jazz; Kidd Jordan; about offending people with music; Lukas Ligeti; bringing the spirit world in; John Swenson's book; transcending style; unspoken, secret language amongst musicians; changes in new orleans culture; the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival's problems with artist relations; the changes on Frenchmen St; the Williamsburg-ing of The Bywater; deep wishes; the rise of the cool St. Claude music scene- Allways Lounge; what he's currently interested in locally and what's going through the studio now; looking for a happy ending to the way things are in relation to recording now.

A conversation on the current New Orleans music scene between Mark Bingham, Helen Gillet, Michael Dominici, and Jonathan Freilich

WWOZ radio DJ, Michael Dominici had the idea to take some of what has been happening in these interviews and take it onto WWOZ during his radio show.  There were time constraints that didn't allow us, with our summer schedules, to do this live so we pre-recorded it on May 28th, 2011. Mark Bingham allowed us to do the interview at Piety St. Studios so we sat down for about an hour and discussed a few things pertaining to recording, time perception, thinking of music for now, anachronistic music, and observations on a few other musicians around the scene including Quintron, Ratty Scurvics, Clint Maedgen and others.  Other things were touched on too. The conversation ranges from light and humorous to a tinkering with quasi-meta-musico-profundums.

This will probably be quite edited for WWOZ radio broadcast so here is an opportunity to hear it in its entirety.  

Michael Dominici is a DJ, a very aware listener and New Orleans lover and culture observer.  Cellist,Helen Gillet has been an active professional musician around New Orleans for many years now. Mark Bingham is a renowned record producer, composer, engineer, song writer etc.  

Helen and Mark have both been individually interviewed for this series at an earlier time. Both are available from this site on the interviews page.

Without further ado, here is the conversation...

Interview with Mark Bingham- studio engineer, musician, composer, sonic adventurer, studio owner and founder(Piety St. Studios)

 Mark Bingham talks in depth about some key times in his life in music.  A lot came to light in this interview and, although we have been friends for years, I learned a lot of pieces of information that made sense of some parts of his life and work that I didn't realize.

Mark's contribution to New Orleans's music scene starts back in 1982.  Most of this interview deals with stuff earlier than that.  Even though it's a long interview and has a lot of information, a lot was left out due to time limitation.  Mark is a real good anecdote dropper- very useful in this format and we may get into a 2nd interview to tackle more impressions of the diversity of artists he has worked with. 

Part 1 deals with early recording experiments in high school, discovery by the music business, electronic music, early approach to song writing, Los Angeles, university life in Indiana, and association with composer, Iannis Xenakis.

Part 2 continues on to describe being an A&R man at Elektra records, The Doors, Bruce Botnick, The Holy Modal Rounders, Peter Stampfel, Bulgarian music, the marketing of authenticity, initial perceptions of the New Orleans music scene, the move to New York after LA.

Part 3- The New York scene in the early 70's, more in depth about Peter Stampfel, the creative impact of speed, commissions for dance companies, funding, drum machines, "crazy art bullshit", getting sick of NYC.

Part 4- The actual "secret" training to be a producer in LA, "technical" recording versus responding to the situation at hand, what makes a good studio, New Orleans musical myopia, encountering racial division in New Orleans music, Allison Miner, working for Rounder records, reinforcement of bogus New Orleans mythologies, brass bands and the growth of the players in them, why people are interested in Piety St studios, producing now, current ideas, difference between recordings of the past and present, what stands out.

Recorded May 24, 2011 in the dining area at Piety St. Studios.