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Random Questions for John Leckie
Old 2nd July 2009
Gear Addict
Random Questions for John Leckie

Hello Mr. Leckie,

It is indeed an honour. I’m a huge fan of your work. I have a few unrelated questions for you (please don’t feel obligated to answer them all):

I notice that all of the records you’ve produced have very strong rhythmic arrangements. Do you ever/often have drummers record to a click? Could you tell me how that rich flanging effect was achieved on Be Bop Deluxe’s “Life In The Air Age”?. What are your thoughts on tracking/mixing digitally vs. to tape. Is any of your work done digitally? entirely ITB? (I realize this is a well trodden subject but I’d really like to know what you think!). Why did you only produce Public Image Ltd’s first single? Any interesting memories from that session? Did you invent New Wave music?!?!? Seriously, everything that came after XTC’s first 2 LPs (including Bill Nelson’s Red Noise) sounded different. Those albums paved the way….

Old 10th July 2009
Gear Nut
johnleckie's Avatar

Random Questions

Hi Captainj

Of course I have drummers record to click if the song and the drummer needs it. Its often better without it and some songs cant be clicked because of tempo changes. If I use click and grid its avery different record to without.
Phasing Fx on Live in Air Age is tape phasing done on mix at Abbey Road. The multitrack machine, Studer A80 has sync output and line output at same time and in fact the sync output can be lined up and checked. The sync output of the tracks you want to phase are fed to quarter inch 2 track tape machine and you listen to the replay output of the tape machine at equal level to replay output of tracks you are phasing off the multitrack machine. As you vari-speed the quarter inch machine and some balancing of levels the phasing effect comes in and you just kind of ride it. Works better with all machines at 15ips.
Digital vs Tape? I dont know. People can write books about it...I use both really but more ending up all digital. Its good to hit tape somewhere. In the box? yep! Love to do it again.
Public Image? Awesome. They never asked me again and got no credit even though I was hired as producer but it was never sorted out. 'Thanks to no one' they said on the record. Recorded two days at Advision on Quad 8 desk, never worked there before so it was bit of nightmare getting track down. Keith Levin wanted his Fender Twin amp in control room so he could 'check the sound' and Wobble was so loud bits of ceiling fell down. John was cool and played pool and seemed to enjoy whole thing. Bill Price mixed it at Wessex but sounds just like my rough mix to me.
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