Anna Laverty Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Anna Laverty – Producer (@Going Global)

ANNA LAVERTY IS A PRODUCER, MIXER, ENGINEER, & WRITER

Anna Laverty Producer Good for a Girl Interview
Anna producing or engineering (maybe mixing but prob not in this pic)

After discovering women producers (I know.. sounds ridiculous) via a video shared with me about Sylvia Massey – I was suddenly very excited and aware to find more.

The universe heard my call and responded just a few short weeks later by the ways of a Going Global panel announcement that Australian producer, Anna Laverty, was going to be spreading her wisdom at the conference.

Bonus: my manager was also speaking at Going Global and so introduced us, which was great because it meant I could avoid over-excitedly nerding my way over to her and having her say no to an interview. i.e. Tom buys me cool points. Yas.

So Anna has an awesome story. Which you’ll hear in much more detail in our interview below; but basically, she hit up London after graduating engineer school (tech term) and was taken under wing by some kick ARSE producers over there, and just bossed the shit out it now she’s a full-fledged producer in her own right back home in the land-of-down-under, working with some incredible up & coming and established talent and basically is just about 100 times more awesome than the rest of us.

Check out some of the artists she’s worked with below;

She also recently produced a GFAG fav of mine, Courtney Barnett, as part of a Grateful Dead covers album that The National put together to raise money for HIV/AIDS research.

Anna also runs a fantastic twitter called Audio Women which shares info and achievements about and regarding women working in the audio engineering industry – which is great. She hopes to inspire more young girls to explore a career in audio! YUS.

So without me waffling on for much longer;

WATCH MY CHAT WITH ANNA LAVERTY – PRODUCER HERE:

ANNA LAVERTY LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Anna’s Twitter
Audio Women’s Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: ANNA LAVERTY (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
[talking about my Sylvia Massey blog post] … I wrote this blog about her because I realised that I’ve never ever worked with a woman in a recording setting or even a live sound setting.

Anna Laverty:
Oh, you haven’t? There’s a couple of live sound girls around, but not in the studio, yeah.

Emma:
So when I found out you were going to be at Going Global this year, I was like “hang on a second… a woman producer! Now I get to ask them questioooons!” So, when [my producer]  Tom was like “do you want to interview Anna?” I was like “yesssss.”

Anna Laverty:
Yeah!

Emma:
So, I’m really interested in just how you got in to recording growing up. Growing up; whether you had any influences that got you in there or whether you just found yourself there?

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, no, I didn’t find myself there! I always wanted to be a sound engineer. I can’t explain it. I didn’t know any sound engineers, my parents aren’t in the business, like I don’t have any of that stuff. Whenever I saw on telly,  someone being interviewed in the studio or working in the studio, it just, I just felt like that was my calling. And so when I was about 15 I started going to the open days at the performing arts uni where I lived in WA. And he was like “too young, too young” – and then when I got to year 12 I applied and got in – there was only 10 people that got it so it was pretty amazing. On my first day somebody told me I only got in because I was the “token girl.”

Emma:
Right.

Anna Laverty:
Which really fucking pissed me off. Am I allowed to swear?

Emma:
Fuck yeah! CUNT!

Anna Laverty:
Yeah so that really pissed me off. And it really pissed me off because I had basically done work experience and gone and worked for free every school holidays for 3 years to get in to this course, and I feel like I really got in off my merit. And to have someone to say that is like… really??

Emma:
“Actually it’s because you have a vagina.”

Anna Laverty:
Yeah. So whatever. So I did that course then I moved to London and got work experience in a studio and was just doing that for a while. Well, after 2 weeks they offered me an assistant engineer job and I started working with a bunch of really cool producers and haven’t really stopped! But now obviously I have been climbing this little invisible ladder over the years and now I’m a producer in my own right!

Emma:
So when you started being a studio assistant and an assistant engineer, were you working around many other women at all?

Anna Laverty:
No, there is none. The only other female producer/engineer that I’ve come across was at the same time that I was assisting Paul Epworth and Ben Hillier in London, Catherine Marks, who’s a girl from Melbourne but who lived in London was assisting Flood. And our 2 studios were like sister studios, so we would occasionally see each other. It was very weird because we were both from Australia and we were both working London. We were like the same person! It was like Shelbyville like in The Simpsons. It was pretty cool.

Emma:
That’s really cool! And did you find that when you worked – like obviously it’s majority men – did you come up against any sort just.. bullshit?

Anna Laverty:
A little bit. Yeah. I mean I’ve come up against a little bit of bullshit but not as much as you would think, actually! I think its because it’s music, it’s the arts. People that work in music and the arts generally aren’t dickheads. Um, so that’s pretty cool. I have had a couple of instances – and it was when I was a bit younger too – a couple of instances of people saying really inappropriate things. And not like sexual things but things that were, just… it’s that whole saying like “you only got in to this because you’re the girl,” you know that stuff. And it’s like “you have no idea how hard I worked for this!” So you know… whatever.

Emma:
(laughs)

Anna Laverty:
But both times that that happened to me, I was just like “yeah whatever, dude.” And it actually doesn’t really bother me that much because I just know that it’s not true. But it’s pretty inappropriate. So the two times that that happened, I didn’t do anything about it, but other men that were there! Like in one example I was an assistant engineer and some guy told me I should be making everybody dinner in the studio instead of being in the studio. And he was serious. It wasn’t like a joke.

Emma:
(laughs)

Anna Laverty:
And I was like “okay! cool!” and then all the other guys that were there – I didn’t know this – but went and told the studio owner. And he told that producer – who was a big time producer – he was doing a huge, huge record – told him that if he ever said anything like that to me again he wouldn’t be welcome back at the studio. And I just thought that was so cool. I was like the junior assistant engineer, and for him to just be like “that is unacceptable” – I just thought that was really cool.

Emma:
There’s some angel men out there.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah! Yeah for sure. and obviously all my mentors have been men, so yeah.

Emma:
Can you actually cook? That’s the real question.

Anna Laverty:
I can cook, yeah!

Emma:
I feel like if it was me I would’ve been like “challenge accepted.” And then I just would’ve made the worst fucking meal they’ve ever had in their lives and they would never ask me again.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, no… it’s just yeah the funny thing was at the time in that studio we did all make dinner for each other. That was a big part of the culture because we would be there all day. So everyday it would be someones job to go and make the dinner, you know? And I was like “I don’t wanna go make the dinner now, it’s making me all self-conscious!” (laughs) Yeah.

Emma:
Do you find that you have more women artists approaching you at all?

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, I think I do now, actually! I work with a lot of young women. And then also more experienced women who are like “oh my god it’s so amazing!” I actually did a Christmas song with Tina Arena one year..

Emma:
Get out of town! (laughs)

Anna Laverty:
(laughs) Yeah and she was like “this is the first time I’ve ever worked with a female engineer.” And she’s been doing it since she was seven! and I just couldn’t believe that.

Emma:
But that’s what blew my mind about finding out about Sylvia Massey. I was like “oh yeah okay what records has she worked– TOOL?!” I didn’t even know that, I was just like holy shit.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah and she like, ran that studio out in Weed (LA) for like a loooong time. Like she was a big deal.

Emma:
Crazy eh. And I’ve never seen another woman – I mean my career is still really young, I’ve just recorded an album and an EP and a couple of singles – but I’ve never seen another woman in that environment while I’m there and I’d just kind of accepted it’s a dudefest. It didn’t even cross my mind. That I could purposefully seek out women producers and engineers and bring them in. Even if say, I wanted to work with my current producer, but how about we get women in engineers or like.. you know? I’m kind of seeing you coming in to my sphere of influence and then the Sylvia Massey thing and going and doing some research about more women that work in that industry and I’m like okay for my next record I do want women involved.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, I mean I love to do things like this [speaking at Going Global] because I love the fact there might be a young girl in the audience that might be like “well I wanted to do production but I didn’t because I felt like I couldn’t! But hey, maybe I can!” I think that’s pretty cool. I like the role modelling stuff.

Leave a Reply