Berklee today is the official alumni publication of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a forum for contemporary music and musicians.
Issue link: http://berkleetoday.epubxp.com/i/515283
24 Berklee today on with Yankovic, although they've known each other for 15 years. "Our wives go way back as friends," Way says. "Our daughters are about the same age and played together." So when Yankovic decided to take a different approach for this recording, he sought out Way. "Of course Al is very clever and funny, but he's also a brilliant musician," Way notes. "He's very knowledgeable and comes in really prepared with charts and MIDI tempo maps. He knows how he wants everything to go, it's very impressive. Everyone knows him as a comedian, but I see him as a serious guy." This latest Grammy ceremony wasn't the frst for Way. He won in 2006 with Ziggy Marley in the Best Reggae Album cat- egory, and earned two Latin Grammys the same year for his work on Shakira's Fijación Oral Vol. 1 (Album of the Year and Best Engineered Album). Notably, Way was also nominated this year in the Best Engineered Album, Non Classical category for Tom Dybdahl's The Way I'm Livin' album. Way headed straight to New York after graduating with his MP&E degree in 1987. He was hired as a runner at the Hit Factory and later went to Soundworks where he worked with producers Teddy Riley and Shep Pettibone and artists Brian Wilson, Duran Duran, and Madonna among others. In 1990 when Riley went to L.A. to work for several months on Michael Jackson's Dangerous album, he brought Way as his engineer. It was a one-way ticket. "Afterwards, Teddy decided to build a studio in Virginia Beach, and I wanted to stay in L.A." Way recalls. "A lot of people here wanted to hire me. There was some kind of allure because I was from New York. So I stayed, and now it's been 25 years." Way's résumé lists high-profle recordings in many styles from hip-hop (Kool Moe Dee) to dance tracks (Taylor Dayne) to mellow r&b (Babyface) to straight-up pop (the Spice Girls) to rock (the Foo Fighters). For fve years he owned the Pass Studios, a commercial facility formerly known as Larrabee East. In 2002, he opened the Waystation Studio, a smaller private facility at his home where he has worked ever since. "The only thing I miss about working in the big studios is running into other engineers, producers, and musicians in the hallways," Way says. "But I prefer making records here. There is something about the casual feeling that makes the creative en- ergy feel really high here." Way is frequently hired to track and mix as he did for Yankovic's Mandatory Fun. "I love both," he says. "Tracking is great because you're creating something that wasn't there be- fore, being in the moment and capturing it. Mixing is a process where you try things, step back, and then dig in again. It's more of a lonely gig because you're mainly working alone—even if the client is in L.A. If I'm mixing an album, I'll get four or fve songs to where I think they sound good. I send them off, get feedback and then make tweaks. When everything is pretty much there, the client may come over and we fnish it up. We used to have to do each song like that. The way I work now I can juggle fve or six projects at once." When I visited Way, he was fnishing up al- bums for Jakob Dylan and Ben Folds. After 20 years working with a large mixing board, Way went to a smaller digital audio workstation. "I got rid of my big SSL console a few years ago," he says. "You have to adapt musically and on the technical side. I much prefer working as I do now. I can mix as I'm recording and come back and tweak a mix done months ago. You couldn't do that 10 years ago." "I swear I'm working harder than ever before. I don't get paid as much as I used to in the '90s; budgets are down. But I work as much as I can because I love doing all of these different projects and being around people who love music. Doing indie projects means the label is not in your hair. It makes the studio a much more creative place to work if you're not trying to second-guess what a record label wants and how they are going to sell it. I am more satisfed making records now than I was with the majority of things I did in the 90s and early 2000s." Bypassing L.A. and New York Miami-based Shafk Palis '01 just earned his frst American Grammy for engineering all the guitars on Más + Corazón Profundo by Colombian music star Carlos Vives. The record- ing was named Best Tropical Latin Album at the February ceremony. Only a few months earlier at the Latin Grammy awards, the same disc was named Best Contemporary Tropical Album. Over the past decade, Palis's work with Vives and others has won him a total of three Latin Grammys and one American Grammy. Palis grew up in Barranquilla, Colombia, on the country's northern coast. Notably, his hometown is only about an hour's drive from Santa Marta, where Vives grew up. Vives's career as a singer/songwriter and actor has been going strong since 1991. Pails was a big fan of his music, but the two never met face-to- face until they began working in the studio in Miami years later. "It's been very exciting to work with him," Palis says. "I grew up with his music." At a young age Palis was drawn to music, and during his early teens he became very interested in recording. "I started re- cording local bands at my home on a four-track Portastudio cas- sette recorder," he recalls. "My interest continued to develop from there." Palis came to Berklee in 1997 where he majored in MP&E and graduated in 2001. Unlike other MP&E grads, New York and Los Angeles weren't a lure for Palis. "I went directly to Miami after graduating," he says. "But not for the Latin music scene; it was because I knew the city. My family used to go to Miami for vacations. So I knew people there and I wanted to be closer to Colombia." Palis was soon working as a freelance engineer at several Miami studios and ultimately began recording such Latin stars as Grupo Niche, Kany García, Gato, Jorge Celedón, and Omar Alfanno. "I began working with Omar in his private studio," Palis says, "and through him I ended up working with Andrés Castro." That was a pivotal connection as Castro produces Carlos Vives and plays guitar in his band. In recent years, Palis has worked on many different projects that Castro has produced for other artists, and every time he brings Vives into the studio, Palis is on the session. "When you're working in the studio with Carlos, the vibe is always very happy. He's a big Latin music star, but a very humble and down-to- earth guy. Working with him and his band is like having a piece of home here." When asked if he felt impressed while recording Más + Corazón Profundo the album might win a Grammy, Palis says, "You're not thinking about that as you work in the studio, but you can't help having it in the back of your mind. Every time Carlos puts an album out, he's always a contender for a Grammy." When Palis is not working on albums, he works in audio postproduction for television. He's done sound design and com- " Everyone knows him as a comedian, but I see him as a serious guy." —Dave Way '91 " It's been very exciting to work with him. I grew up with his music." —Shafk Palis '01 Carlos Vives (left) and Shafk Palis '01