Sylvia Massy is an American entrepreneur, music producer, mixer and engineer, writer and artist in the United States. Massy is perhaps best recognized for her work on 1993’s Undertow, the full-length double platinum-selling debut for Los Angeles rock band Tool and her works with System of a Down, Johnny Cash and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Massy started out in San Francisco circa 1985 as producer, engineer, and mixer for Rat Music. This led to her producing the punk band Verbal Abuse for Boner Records, engineering two projects for metal band Exodus and co-producing the Sea Hags independent album with a young guitarist Kirk Hammett, who had just finished the « Master Of Puppets » album with thrash metal group Metallica.
Towards the end of the 1980s, Massy moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and took a job at Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. At Tower she met the members of a Buffalo, New York band named Green Jello (later known as Green Jelly) and helped them record their debut independent album. After finally getting on staff at Larrabee Sound in West Hollywood, she was hired by Zoo Records/BMG to produce Green Jello’s major label debut, which featured members of a new Los Angeles group called Tool. On Green Jello’s « Cereal Killer » album, the voice of Tool singer Maynard James Keenan is heard on the song » Three Little Pigs », as well as Tool drummer Danny Carey playing on the album. This began a relationship Massy would have with the band Tool that would span two records: Opiate and Undertow.
During her time in Los Angeles, Massy was also an engineer, producer or mixer on recordings from a diverse group of internationally-known artists, including Aerosmith, Babyface, Big Daddy Kane, Bobby Brown, Prince, Julio Iglesias, Seal, Skunk Anansie, Paula Abdul, Ryuichi Sakamoto and many more. She worked with manager Gary Kurfirst on Irish rock band Cyclefly for Kurfirst’s Radioactive Records.
At Larrabee Sound, Sylvia connected with producer Rick Rubin and would work with him on several projects spanning seven years.
From 1994 until 2001, Massy’s vintage Neve 8038 console and other specialized recording equipment occupied Studio B at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California. Besides Massy’s own work at Sound City, several other successful projects were recorded on Massy’s equipment during these years, including albums by Sheryl Crow, Queens Of The Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Smashing Pumpkins, The Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz. Massy’s equipment is visible in many scenes of Dave Grohl’s « Sound City Movie ».
Massy engineered and mixed several projects for veteran producer Rick Rubin, including Johnny Cash’s album Unchained, which won a Grammy award for Best Country Album in 1997. With Rubin, she also recorded Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Slayer, Donovan, Geto Boys, The Black Crowes, Danzig, and System of a Down’s debut album. In the ’90s, Massy also produced many popular artists, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sevendust, and Powerman 5000, which featured guest appearances from Rob Zombie and actor Malachi Throne from Star Trek fame. In 1997, Massy co-produced, engineered and mixed Foo Fighters, Björk, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth and others for the Beastie Boys’ « Tibetan Freedom Concert » in New York with Adam Yauch and producer Pat McCarthy. Massy produced an album in the mid-nineties for young rising star Pauley Perrette who went on to play the part of Abby Sciuto in the NCIS television series.
Sylvia Massy will be conducting her first MWTM seminar from February 6 to 12, 2016.
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