Holding Up The Ladder
Dr Susan Rogers
What a perfect way to end the first season of Holding Up the Ladder with my guest today Dr Susan Rogers. For those of you who may not know, Susan is most famous for being Prince’s sound engineer - she’s responsible for recording (in my opinion) some of Prince’s best work, Purple Rain, Sign “O” The Times, Around the World in a Day, and Parade.
Susan Rogers started off as a studio maintenance technician for Crosby Stills & Nash in Hollywood, she responded to an advert looking for a technician for Prince and got the job. I won’t spoil the story, I’ll let her tell you herself about her time working with Prince, but needless to say it was life changing. She then went on to engineer and produce for a diverse roster of artists including David Byrne, Bare Naked Ladies, The Jacksons, Tevin Campbell, Paul Westerberg, Geggy Tah and Tricky.
Susan then moved into neuroscience and has a doctorate in psychology from McGill University in the States, where she studied music cognition and psychoacoustics. She’s now a professor at Berklee in Boston and is the director of the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory. She’s currently writing a book and has completed a research paper about how we listen and respond to music and the rewards we get from it. Susan Rogers also launched along with Matthew McArthur Boston's first nonprofit recording studio, ‘The Record Company’, that offers low-cost recording facilities and free music technology teaching to musicians and teens.
We talk about the process of making albums, about the science and artistry of engineering, the difference between analog tape and modern music-making, about how our brains and bodies respond to music, why some people respond to one form of rhythm over another. We talk about artists that inspire us and of course we talk all things Prince!
Guest: Dr Susan Rogers
Title: There’s a difference between knowing what you want and knowing who you are
Talks on Youtube:
Music/producers/studios on playlist: Smokestack Lightnin’ from the album Moanin’ in the Moonlight by Howlin’ Wolf, Rick Hall from Muscle Shoals records, Sam Phillips from Sun Studios, Chess Records
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