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.

AGFAG: Sylvia Massy – Producer

Here I present my mortification of having not known of Sylvia Massy.

My lovely friend Phoebe Hurst aka Hunter tagged me in the below video the other week and I was left sitting there just thinking to myself: “holy shit.”

No other thoughts, just “holy shit.”

I’m a simple person.

Sylvia is an American entrepreneur, music producer, mixer and engineer, writer and artist in the United States.

AND she is a lady incase you hadn’t guessed already..

^^ Oh my god how fucking awesome is she?

Sylvia Massy is best known for producing Tool‘s 1993 debut album, Undertow, (which went bloody double platinum) and her work with other lilly wee boy bands you may have heard of such as System of a DownJohnny Cash and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Syliva Massy Good for a Girl Hugh Grant

Being a young recording artist myself, I have already been in my fair share of studios; and it struck me that I have not worked with a woman in recording before, or really ever seen another women in my vicinity whilst in that environment.

I have a sneaking suspicion they are actually quite rare.

The only other direct exposure I can think of for women in record engineering and producing was a TV ad years ago for the Open Polytechnic or something where there was a girl student talking about all she learned there about recording that she was going to bring in to the “real world.” I wonder what studio she’s working at now?

As you may be able to tell from the incredible video above of Sylvia talking about “Adventure Recording” and all the mental microphones and microphone techniques she has – she is well known for her quirky and creative approach to recording to create unique manual sounds.

You’ll also learn she is a killer illustrator as well! She has released  a book called “Recording Unhinged” – in which she’s drawn all the illustrations for it as well.

Syliva Massy Recording Unhinged Good For A Girl

Doing a bit poking around the internet about Sylvia, I noticed she too gets her fair share of bullshitty man-splaining and condescension despite her very apparent authority and talent in record producing.

I loved this comment I found in response to that which I could not have put in better words myself: “Gotta love the internet shitlords who seem to know better than a Grammy award level producer/mixer/engineer. Take your barely veiled misogyny and go listen to Undertow by Tool or Gilt by Machines of Loving Grace and realise this woman’s got bigger balls than all of you put together. Sylvia’s credentials are bulletproof. ”

Love it. Love her. Hope to meet her one day!

Learn more about Sylvia over at www.sylviamassy.com

And I’m off to go check other women producers!

good for a girl blog girls that shred header

Girls That Shred: Guitar

This week I want to talk about girls that shred on the guitar. For those who are unfamiliar with the term “shred” as it relates to music:

Shred – verb
to play a very fast, intricate style of rock lead guitar.

So, I’ve put together a wee list of women guitarists who come to mind that have been on my radar throughout the years for you to check out and have your face MEEELLLLTTTEDDD by.

Fig 1. You. After You've Listened to these Girls that Shred.

Fig 1. You. After You’ve Listened to these Girls that Shred.

……………………………………………………………..

1) Jennifer Batten

Okay this is O.G. (that’s “original” for those who aren’t gangsta) guitar hero for me. Those of you reading who know me personally will be well aware I am a big  huge MASSIVE Michael Jackson fan. I grew up on Michael Jackson’s music. I absolutely loved watching his live concerts when they played on TV and my mind was BLOWN by this unicorn-bondage-amazonian woman, Jennifer Batten, who fucking SLAYED on the guitar as part of his band. Jennifer played with MJ on all 3 of his world tours.

Jennifer Batten Good For A Girl Girls That Shred

Image: And her look was incredible.

Looking back now I think, as a child, I may not have even realised she was a woman due to all the gears she wore at times and not to mention everyone else in the band being a dude so: child-like assumptions. But later on in life I did realise, and it became a fixation for me for a while to work towards eventually playing guitar for Michael Jackson when I “grew up” (still waiting for that to happen).

Anyway, Jennifer has had an illustrious, amazing career as a girl that shreds, including 3 studio albums of her own which you will really love if you’re in to music where vocal melodies are replaced entirely with guitar solos. Her early offerings were Above, Below and Beyond (1992), Jennifer Battens Tribal Rage: Momentum (1997). Then you’ve got her most recent release: Whatever (2007), which is an out-of-this-world experimentation of guitar solos mixed in with samples and covers (which I bet Michael Jackson would’ve loved the shit out of).

 

2) Orianthi

Okay if it’s not entirely apparent from the video still, Orianthi was also a guitarist for Michael Jackson. I thought it was awesome that Michael Jackson searched for new female blood to take the place of Jennifer for his cut-short This Is It tour, and I was quite obsessed with her and her talent after seeing the movie. Orianthi is from Australia and started playing music she was just 3 years old with piano, and moved to the guitar at age 6.

She has been playing in bands since the age of 14 and performed in her first stage show for fuckin’ Steve Vai at the age of 15! Orianthi met and jammed with Carlos Santana when she was 18! Can’t deal. This girl has incredible talent.

Orianthi Good For A Girl Girls that shred

Image: Alice Cooper thinks she’s alright, too.

Orianthi, like Jennifer, also has 3 studio albums, but she is also a pretty solid vocalist and writes her own songs. Check ’em out: Violet Journey (2007),  Believe (2009), and Heaven in this Hell (2013)

 

3) LITA FORD

Can we all just take a moment for this short 80s-dream of a clip? In the 70s, Lita Ford was the lead guitarist of the most successful all-girl band of all time; The Runaways. In the 80s she embarked on her solo career which is the deliciousness above. Lita started playing guitar at age 11, and at 16 she was recruited in to the Runaways who released their debut album 1 year later. Fuck I wish I had an album under my belt at 17.

Lita is featured extensively in the 2005 documentary film Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways, in which she spoke candidly about her time in the all-girl band. Among other things, she alludes to verbal and sexual abuse endured by the band members at the hands of their (male) manager, Kim Fowley. Fucker. I’m glad she called him out.

Lita Ford Good For A Girl Girls that shred

Image: Note to self – get name inlayed in to guitar neck so people know i mean bizniz.

In the late 80s she signed a management deal with none other than Sharon Osbourne, and released her most successful album to date, Lita. She has released 9 albums in total (!!!) – including Time Capsule which apparently is coming out this year.

 

4) Sophia Di

I want to get a little bit indie now; as a lot of the true, insane fucking shredders on guitar are quite often what is commonly referred to as “bedroom shredders.” This is most likely because these guitarists are so fucking talented, all they do is sit and play guitar in their rooms (or home studios) and practice the shit out of their instruments and film it for the world to enjoy (gawk at) on the internet.

Sophia Di is amazing. I have no idea where she is or what she is doing now, but I knew her briefly years ago in the Christchurch (yes, local!) metal scene. She played lead guitar in the Rockquest-winning youth metal band, Beneath the Silence, and fucking killed it.

Sophia Di Girls That Shred Good For A Girl

Image: Sophia being one of the coolest 15 year olds on the block

She went on to play in another band called The Omega Chronicles, which the solo in the video above is from. Sophia if you’re out there somewhere I hope you’re still shredding.

Side note – just had to have a laugh at this comment on the video:
“nice mastery at such a young age. see that? i didn’t say “because you’re a girl”. that’s irrelevant.”
Why did you still have to bring it up, then? He wants da gold starrrrs.

 

5) Juliette Valduriez

One more bedroom shredder for you: Juliette Valduriez. I followed Juliette’s classic punk and rock covers on youtube for years after Gibson Guitar posted the above video of her covering Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon on their Facebook page which went viral (for the times).

I’m not just impressed with Juliette’s skills; part of it is also how she just plays it like she doesn’t even know she’s playing it. Like in her head she’s just eating a sandwich, or reading a lovely book, or daydreaming out a window, but her hands are just shredding all by themselves.

About 4 years ago the videos stopped coming, which sucks. I just visited her Facebook Page to see she hasn’t posted there for years either and there are just a bunch of bewildered fans concerned for her safety…

That got dark quick. Well I hope she is just on a hiatus while she is creating a killer album and will emerge glorious when it’s ready to melt all of our faces w-w-w-w-worldwide.

……………………………………………………………..

So, those are a few female shredders I’ve come across in my journey of hurtling through the universe on this rock called earth.

Please send me links in the comments to girls that shred that you are in to! I don’t know enough of them!

PS when I was a student and had a lot more time on my hands I started getting in to more technical guitar work. Since then I’ve become even more lazy and pared Decades songs mostly down to single string simple riffs. Hence my admiration for female shredders!

Check out 19 year old me in my messy room with a shitty laptop mic: