MERCURY RECORDING EQUIPMENT COMPANY
Devin Powers 13 Questions: Devin Powers
Issue #2, April 2006


A few years ago, I got a call from someone interested in some of our Mercury Recording Equipment. I asked for his information and he told me his name was Devin Powers. We had a good laugh when we realized that we knew each other. It had been 10 years or so since we had last talked and I found it funny how our lives had totally changed but we were still both just 'two dudes' that really love music when you cut us to the core.

Devin Powers is a musician, producer and engineer. Devin grew up in San Francisco and played in bands in the late 80s and early 90s. This is when I first heard of Devin. There was a buzz going around that he was a great guitarist. I was a singer in bands playing the same venues and we actually talked about working together when he was putting together his band Cats Choir.

A few years later, Devin moved on to tour and record with such legends as John Entwistle of The Who and Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats. He also started his own projects such as The Vents, that were signed to MCA.

For almost 10 years, Devin has found himself working in the world of film and television. In 1997, Devin was contacted by Universal who hired him as the Music Composer and Supervisor for the smash hit reality relationship show Blind Date. Devin composed over three thousand musical pieces—including the show's memorable theme song. The list of TV shows Devin has created custom theme songs and libraries for is too long to mention. Here are just a few: Classmates, Ambush Makeover, Surreal Life and Monday Night Football's "Sacked" halftime show. Devin's songs have consistently been placed in hundreds of other TV shows, films and promos. ASCAP is giving him an award this year in the category for "Most Performed Underscore on TV".





Devin now lives in the Los Angeles area and continues to write for TV and film, produces tracks and records for himself and other artists. He is working with Deanna Johnston at the moment, (she was a contestant on ROCK STAR INXS).

I would like to thank Devin for taking the time and also say I am glad we talk more often than every 10 years now...=)

- David Marquette



01) When did you know Music was more than a hobby or dream job and was going to be your career?
When we be would be playing all the College Frat houses when I was in 8th grade, I knew music was a way to actually make a living and have fun doing it.

...and was there one thing that made that happen?
I learned how to play "down in the valley" when I was 5, Changed my life,. Still don't like Valleys :)


02) What aspect of music are you known for (ie engineer, mixer, producer, musician)?
I would like to think all since I do all of them.

...and what is your favorite?
I really like producing and writing, seeing a song come from nowhere and go somewhere. It's a cool rush, very gratifying on so many levels.


03) What is one thing that most people are NOT aware you do (music related or not!)?
I create novelty items and TV shows. Haven't sold a show yet but I have patented a Novelty Item that will go to market soon.





04) What do you think is the most important thing is to get a great recording?
Vibe Feel Vibe Feel, Motion and Impact, a great producer taught me that! For all the great gear I have, it is paramount that a track makes you feel something, deeply on a very visceral level.

...and What stage of a recording is most overlooked?
Often it is what I said above, A cherry track with very little deep emotion behind it. The ones that have feel, they are the shit.


05) Who did you first admire in the recording world (engineers, producers, mixers, band/group...) and why?
Well... the Beatles/George Martin. They got such great big sounds and so much feeling both happy and painful in their stuff, That is kinda like a water mark for most music maniacs. I love Dylan for his lyrics, Hendrix for his guitar, Page for his voodoo, and Ringo and Bonham for their groove. I always loved Paul Rothchild (Producer of the Doors and Janis) for his rawness in his records... I actually got to work with Paul, he taught me plenty of tricks! I also loved JOHN ENTWISLTE for his Power. He was a great positive influence on me, he was a truly great man!! Sadly, he passed recently but I feel lucky I was able to work with John.


For producers, George Martin, Eddie Kramer first come to mind. Just really great producers. Of course, you got the newer guys like Jack Puig and the Lord Alges (Chris and Tom). Right now my favorite mixes are coming from Michael Brauer (Coldplay, Sir Paul and tons of others). Brauer's mixes always sound very special, deep and honest!


06) Now that we know digital recording is not going away anytime soon, what are your feelings on TAPE vs. DAW (analog vs. digital)?
Tape is hard to store (ask my wife) and very heavy. It sounds lovely, but if you have the front end mic pres and your are careful, you can make great records with digital. Vibe Feel Vibe Feel, and plenty of tube compressors, like Mercury 66s if you're lucky! The use of lots of vintage type stuff just takes you closer to that tape thing!


07) What new Artist/Group is in your player and what Artist/Group has always been in your Top 10?
Right now, I am listening to the new Coldplay ( and have been for the last 4 months. I am trying to figure out what kind of deal Michael Brauer has with the devil to get all the sweet midrange!!! But, Revolver never leaves my side, and when it does Rubber Soul find its way to me too, its round and in your face.


08) What generation had the best music and/or recordings?
Late 60s and early 70s, they were just from the gut. Visceral and not tainted at all by label guys and radio and sales. They had a spirit that lives because of that. Listen to Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donavan or Wild World by Cat Stevens, Dirty, warm and powerful, Paul Rodgers with Free, All Right Now. That music has a core that is just passion and sex and pain.





Why?
I identify with it because, passion and sex and pain. All great songs, movies, books, tv shows, paintings and sculpture has to have the big three.


09) You get to have one mic for vocals for the rest of your career, what is it and why?
Neumann U47... Deep and fat. Has the right edge. My U67 or my Manely cardiod are great too, but the U47 with that damn VF14 tube makes them a little lonely.


10) When did you first hear of Mercury Recording Equipment Co.?
I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, so I knew about (David) Marquette. He is a talent, a musician and a madman. He has great ears. He cares about sound and you get that when you see his gear or talk to him. I got a set of his new M72s Pres, then a pair of the M66 Limiting Amplifiers, followed by a pair of EQ-P1 Program Equalizers as well as several pieces of his MAL gear... WOW, the stuff is vicious!



It is easy to say that his (Mercury) gear makes you sound better . Truth is that is the biggest trick you will ever learn from watching big mixers, and producers is they use the best stuff. It is really part of the equation, and it can't be ignored. It was easy ordering the things I needed from Mercury, what they are packaging is 'beyond' and the quality was insane. But the easiest part was making the tracks sound great! Well, you have to hear it... its just plug it in and there ya go!!! I was going to get a vintage Fairchild 670 but my Mercury 66s just sound that good and they are new, solid and I can dance on them if I want too, try that with Vintage Fairchild. All kidding aside, Mercury gear is World Class in every way.




11) What pieces of Mercury Equipment do you own or have you used? What applications / sessions have you used them on?
Well you know the gear already. (Things I have tried), Vocals thru a U47 and the M72s and the Mercury 66. Hello! I am tracking somethings for Deanna Johnston at the moment, (she was on that ROCK STAR INXS show and she sounds like Janis Meets Paul Rodgers) and her vocals just sound stellar with that chain, really world class. For that matter, so does anything I put thru it, actually you can't go wrong!
I use the Mercury M72s for drum over heads, acoustic guitars, and even bass direct. The Mercury M66 Limiters often find their way onto the stereo buss for my TV Theme songs and always for my pop tracks. I did the You've been Sacked Monday Night Football theme thru them, as well as some new stuff I am doing for an MTV special that will run before the Awards show. To many tracks and TV shows to mention. Actually, ASCAP is giving me an award this year in the category for "Most Performed Underscore on TV". The Mercury sound was there all the way, and will be with me all along the way. (Check out Devin's work @ www.devinpowers.com)


12) Describe your experience with Mercury Recording Equipment using 5 words or less?
Pro, World class, Super-Phat, and Triple-Wicked... Is that 5 words???


13) What has been your most rewarding experience in the studio?
The most rewarding experience is that I get to do this everyday! The Unknown... the next song keeps me going, that is the shit!!! I feel, my most rewarding experience in the studio will happen 'tomorrow'. Because I don't know what I am going to create, but I have it in my heart and the tools to find my way.