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Music Producer Ken Scott On Recording The Greats

Ken Scott

Ken Scott got his start in the music business 50 years ago when he dropped out of school at 16 and got a job at a small London recording studio called EMI. Today that studio is known as Abbey Road, after the album by the famous band which also got its start recording music there.

“It was different over in England at that point. You could leave school at 15,” Scott said. “Education was out in the real world.”

In addition to recording the Beatles, Scott has worked as a record producer and recording engineer for Elton John, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Devo, Supertramp and many more big names in music.

“When you talk about who has created the soundtrack to your life, this is one of the people who has done that,” Webster University Professor Barry Hufker said.

Hufker is chair of the audio aesthetics and technology department at Webster, which is holding the 8th Annual Central Region Audio Student Summit this weekend. Scott is giving two presentations during the summit, one on the “Over-use of Modern Technology in Today’s Recording Industry” and another sharing his experience in the recording industry called “From Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust.” He’s written a book by the same name.

“When I started we were recording on four-track,” Scott said. “We had to make decisions about how something was going to sound right from the beginning. We had to make decisions on what which was the right guitar solo, which was the right vocal take—you couldn’t have lots of playlists and pick between lots of things.”

“When I record these days, I tend to use ProTools as a regular tape machine. I make decisions up front. I don’t finish up with 51 guitar solos leaving it to someone to make the decision later on. It’s how we use technology that needs to be adjusted, not technology itself,” he said.

At the summit Scott plans to break down recordings of Justin Bieber and Britney Spears to “show what really goes on.” He doesn’t buy the argument that modern performers have to lip sync because they are dancing.

“Go back and look at what Tina Turner used to do. And she never lip-synced,” said Scott.

In addition to talking about the modern recording industry, conversation during the show included a breakdown of what to expect at the audio summit, Scott’s memories of working with Phil Spector and why Scott never got into drugs.

“For me it was remarkably easy. I just wasn’t interested [in drugs],” he said. “I was interested in the music and doing my gig.”

The public is invited to attend Scott's address on March 22 at 5:00 p.m. or to register for the entire Webster University Central Region Audio Student Summit.

Related Event

Webster University's 8th Central Region Audio Student Summit Presents Ken Scott in "Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust"
Saturday, March 22, 2014
5:00 p.m.
Webster University Community Music School Auditorium, 535 Garden Ave.
For more information, call 314-246-7636 or visit the Webster University website.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer, hosted bySteve Potter and funded in part by the the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.