My obsession with music and music production began at the age of 10. In 1984 I started my professional career at Paradise Recording Studios owned by the outrageously talented Billy Field who was then at the heights of his own recording career. He established one of the most exclusive recording studios in Sydney where some of Australia’s biggest names recorded albums, including Air Supply, Cold Chisel, INXS, Paul Kelly, Icehouse, Divinyls, Midnight Oil, The Models, the Angels, Gang Gajang. It was an incredible time in Australian music history and I was lucky enough to be on the engineering team for many of these recording and mixing sessions.
In 1985 the famous Alberts Recording Studios, home to ACDC, moved from King Street, Sydney to Neutral Bay on Sydney’s lower North Shore and I was offered a job as assistant engineer. Of course I accepted! Working alongside both local and international award winning engineers and producers David Hemming, Bruce Brown, David Nicholas, Guy Gray, Mark Opitz, Mike Chapman, Warne Livesey, Richard Lush, on albums such as Diesel and Dust by Midnight Oil and Under The Sun by Paul Kelly to name but two and film scores such as Strictly Ballroom was a wonderful and very fortunate apprenticeship. Happy Days!
This recording and mixing experience first at Paradise then at Alberts was invaluable as I learned much by working with and for the best of the best before moving into mastering around 1992. This was a natural evolution for me.
I had formed an engineer/producer partnership with the late and great dance producer Robert Racic, a highly influential and groundbreaking DJ and remixer. He would create amazing extended dance mixes before anyone else was doing so by editing tape, (yes tape). Sounds impossible given the advances in digital audio editing software that we all take for granted now. But as digital technology was there to be harnessed and as every new advance in technology appeared on the horizon we were there, adopting it and craving more. Racic produced several top 10 Billboard dance hits including Volition Records’ artists Severed Heads’ “Greater Reward” and Boxcars’ “Freemason”, “Insect” and “Gas Stop”.
“I believe my background in recording, producing, editing, mixing for bands, film and tv gives me an empathetic perhaps even telepathic understanding of how other peoples tracks and mixes have come together, the challenges that may have been faced during production and the possibilities that still remain for mastering to create the ultimate version” – Kathy Naunton
dB Mastering was soon established in the inner city Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst and began very organically. Our first success was mastering The Rockmelons album ‘Form One Planet’ which we mastered in Robert’s tiny bedroom in Reservoir St, Surry Hills (complete with birds tweeting outside) and using expensive boxes we borrowed from accomodating colleagues. From this album emerged the top 10 hits, Ain’t No Sunshine and That Word (L.O.V.E) both featuring vocalist Deni Hines. The album was nominated for an ARIA in 1993.
During our humble beginnings, we only mastered our own productions and mixes but word spread quickly and we began to get enquiries from acts such as South End, Paul Mac, Boxcar, Severed Heads and Itch-E and Scratch-E as to whether we would be interested in mastering their music too.
I’d like to say we had a business plan but truth be told we did not, lol.
This began a journey that continues today through many more ARIA nominated and winning releases and through many that weren’t nominated, didn’t win but probably deserved to.
“I am in awe of all the musicians that I have had the supreme pleasure of working with. Blows my mind every day that I am lucky enough to be invited to play a small part in their success. Goosebumps!” – Kathy Naunton
dB Mastering relocated to the inner west Sydney suburb of Camperdown in 2000 and continued to offer the same highly personalised mastering service that had been synonymous with the name since 1992. Rarely if ever advertising, word of mouth was and still is the key to the continued success.
During this period where internet speeds were improving, many of our clients began to ask if they could simply send in their files for mastering and not attend the often long and tiring sessions. This was the beginning of E-Mastering and where dB Mastering has evolved to today, offering a complete streamlined e-mastering service which has allowed us to provide the same professional mastering to not just our existing local clients but to both interstate and international clients.
Please read how easy this is and how you can arrange to have your next project e-mastered at dB Mastering.
“I master each and every project myself, as if it were my own and I believe this is why the quality has remained constant over the past 25 years. Yes it is a personal exercise, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating but always ultimately rewarding” – Kathy Naunton