If you’re lucky enough to visit Elliot Scheiner’s recording studio, chances are you’ll come across a display case filled with eight shiny gold GRAMMY Awards, as well as a couple of Emmys. As one of the world’s most accomplished sound engineers and producers, Elliot has worked with an endless array of musical legends over the past five decades, yet he remains humble about his craft.
We posed a few questions to the 2004 TEC Hall of Fame inductee about his illustrious career, and here’s what he had to say.
How did you first get involved in the recording industry?
I started off with Phil Ramone. Knew nothing and most of what I knew was taught to me by Phil. Producing came a few years later.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love what I do because every day is something new. A different scheme from day to day.
You’ve worked with everyone from The Eagles, Paul McCartney and Queen to Beyonce and Foo Fighters. Who’ve been your favorite artists to work with?
There’s never been an artist that I considered to be better than another. I love almost every artist I’ve worked with. You’re probably better off asking me who I didn’t like working with.
Is there anyone you’d like to work with, but haven’t yet had the chance?
The one artist I’d like to work with is Lady Gaga. She’s truly incredible.
What’s been one of your biggest challenges as a producer/recording engineer?
When we worked on the [Fleetwood Mac album] The Dance, the band decided to do “Tusk” as the closing number with the USC Marching Band. As an engineer, it presented a new set of problems, because I had to capture what they were playing as they marched down the aisles. What I thought would work best was putting a number of mics down the aisles to record everything they were playing. That did the trick.
As far as producing, I had to make sure the band was completely tuned before their segment started. I went out and bought a 440-pitch pipe so that the band's director could get them in tune. The rest is history, and it came out pretty good.
How do you get the most from the artists you work with?
It would have to be showing a sense of encouragement. Making them as comfortable as possible in the studio.
Who was your mentor or role model?
Phil Ramone was my mentor, and Geoff Emerick was my role model.
What one piece of equipment could you not live without?
At this point of my life, it would have to be Analog.
What’s it like to have received 25 GRAMMY nominations?
It’s quite phenomenal to have a bunch of nominations and rather incredible when you’re called out as the winner. The last time was one of the best. To be associated with Beyonce in the same line was outstanding.
When it comes to audio engineering, do you think there’s a distinctive “Scheiner” sound? And what do you think makes it unique?
I don’t think of myself has having a distinct, as you call it, Scheiner sound. The only thing I try to maintain is for the listener to be able to hear everything that was intended to be heard with no effort.
COMPLETE THE THOUGHT…
Something people don’t know about me is that I own a summer collegiate baseball team in Bristol, Connecticut, called the Bristol Blues.
I’m most proud of my two sons. One is a musician and engineer, and the other is a baseball player.
When I’m not behind the mixing board, you can find me working on all the sound systems for Acura. My brand is called ELS, and it is in all of their models.
My life motto is “Try to be nice with everyone I come in contact with.”
My best advice for making it in this industry is to always have something that you can fall back on. For me, it’s baseball and cars.