Q&A with Musician + Music Engineer – ETHAN CARLSON Talks: Working And Touring with HAIM, BARRY GIBB And More!
Posted On 01 Sep 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, B.O.B, Barbara Streisand, Barry Gibb, Blake Mills, Broods, California, Carolina Liar, Devo, Doo Wop, Doop Wop (That Thing), engineer, engineering, Ethan Carlson, Florida, Guilty Pleasures, HAIM, Hilary Duff, Interview, James Addison, Jenny Weaver, Jimmy Addison, Kimbra, LA Talk Radio, Lauryn Hill, Leonard Cohen, Los Angeles, Macy Gray, Matt Ducey, Matthew Ducey, Meatloaf, Miami, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Music, music engineering, Music Engineering Program, music interview, parental advisory, Patrick Wilson, R5, Reel Big Fish, Ricky Martin, Spotify, Staples Center, Stereographic, Stereographic Ent., Stereographic Entertainment, Taio Cruz, Taylor Swift, Tears For Fears, The Battlefield, Turn The Radio Off, U of M, UM, University of Miami, Weezer
Ethan Carlson is from the sunny city of Seattle, Washington. Growing up as a trumpet player and DJ at his high school radio station led him towards for the field of music recording.
After attending the University of Miami’s Music Engineering Program, he was hired to work on the record Guilty Pleasures with Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand. After 4 years of working with Mr. Gibb and a wide variety of other artists in the South Miami music scene, he moved out to Los Angeles.
At the time he was playing guitar in a band, but that led to other opportunities in the recording and live sound fields. He has since done live work all around the world with many artists and bands including Tears for Fears, Taio Cruz, Devo, Ricky Martin, R5, Hilary Duff, Carolina Liar to name a few.
His work in the studio has included world renowned artists such as Leonard Cohen, Macy Gray, Meatloaf, Patrick Wilson (of Weezer). He also uses his musical background to compose music for commercials for Toyota, Carhartt, Johnnie Walker and others through his company Stereographic Entertainment with his business partner Claire Courchene, another University of Miami Alumnus.
And when all of that isn’t keeping him too busy, he still enjoys playing out live, which recently has included playing bass for Los Angeles based band The Battlefield.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa recently caught up with Ethan who recently join the crew for the band Haim, as they open for Taylor Swift for 5 shows at Staples Center. Read more in Nicole’s interview with Ethan below!
Hi Ethan! How are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hey Nicole! Today I’m at Staples Center in Los Angeles. I’m working with the band HAIM and today is the first of 5 shows that we’re doing here opening up for Taylor Swift. There’s quite a bit of downtime while we wait for Taylor’s crew to set up all the staging equipment, lights, consoles, and band instruments!
So, first things first, how did you get your start in music? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
My parents put me in piano lessons in early elementary school and then I started playing trumpet in fourth grade. In high school I got the opportunity to go in to some recording studios with the school jazz band and I thought that they were just the coolest place. We had a few career projects in high school and I began researching more about recording engineers and it just seemed to be a good fit for my musical and analytical skills. I ended up finding the Music Engineering program at the University of Miami, and that kind of solidified my path in to working full time in the music industry!
After attending the University of Miami’s Music Engineering Program, you were hired to work on the record Guilty Pleasures with none other than Mr. Barry Gibb and the one and only, Barbara Streisand. How did that come about?
“Right before graduating, a former UM grad sent out an email to current students looking for an assistant for the record. He had been Barry Gibb’s engineer for quite a while, so he brought me in to that camp for that record. Once we finished the album I was asked to stick around and I continued working with Barry for 4 years. He was an incredible person to work with – extremely talented and just very kind and thoughtful.”
You have also done live work all around the world with many artists and bands which include: Devo, Ricky Martin, Tears for Fears, Taio Cruz, R5, Hilary Duff, Carolina Liar to name a few. Who would you love to tour with next?
Touring is pretty tough work, and you’re with the artists and crew for a lot of time.
“For me, I don’t care if I’m touring with U2 or my friends band, as long as I’m working with a group that is hard working and respectful to each other.”
Obviously it’s nice to tour with a large act that has a big show and full crew, but it’s still fun touring in a van and crashing on couches every once in a while!
Your work in the studio has included world renowned artists such as Leonard Cohen, Macy Gray, Meatloaf and Patrick Wilson (Weezer). Who would you like to work with next or currently working with?
I’d love to work with more rock bands. I’ve done a lot of producing for solo artists and it’s fun to bring in my musician friends to collaborate and even play some of the instruments myself, but there’s something special about working with bands that have a long history together and really work off each others energy.
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
My parents gave me a lot of support and encouragement growing up to continue with music, and then to explore it as an actual career. I have other extended family that are good musicians and have given me instruments and support.
“As far as today, I’m always looking to work with people that I feel are a few steps ahead of me, or are working in a position that I’d like to be working in. I think it’s extremely important to have mentors that will take the time to guide you and give encouragement.”
What was the first album you save up your money for and bought yourself?
I think the first cassette tape I remember buying was Reel Big Fish Turn the Radio Off. Being a trumpet player, I got really into the ska revival in the 90’s and became a huge fan of the band. I remember having to talk to my parents about buying the album since it had a “Parental Advisory” sticker on it, but luckily they didn’t think it would corrupt me!
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
That’s a very tough question… I’m not sure exactly what the first would have been, but I do remember vividly hearing Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop” on the radio for the first time and then driving immediately to a record store to by the album! The song just sounded so fresh and new to me, even though it had a lot of throwback influences in it.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
I’m always jumping around with music, and I love to pick out random Spotify playlists to listen to in order to keep things fresh. Some of my recent staples have been Blake Mills, Kimbra, Broods, and yesterday I enjoyed listening through to the new B.o.B. album!
What’s on tap next for you, Ethan? What are you most excited about for this year?
Coming up I have a few more live shows with a couple different artists, but I’m also really excited to be building a new studio at my house! I’ve been working on some fun new writing collaborations with a couple artists, and also have been playing bass for some shows with L.A. band, The Battlefield. My work is so unpredictable, so it’s always exciting and nerve wracking to see what sort of jobs will come my way. I’m just excited that I get to work in music industry for a living!
Check out some of my recent production work with Taryn Southern HERE
For more information about ETHAN CARLSON‘s publishing company STEREOGRAPHIC ENTERTAINMENT visit him HERE .