by Iain Gordon
If you picked up this week's copy of the Tucson Weekly, you may have seen our Nine Questions Interview with George Nardo. Nardo is the owner of and lead audio engineer at one of Tucson’s most well-known recording studios, the Luna Recording Studio. He has been a dedicated musician since the ’60s, written songs for platinum albums, and toured everywhere from Hollywood to London. As it turns out, George had more to say than what we could cover in our short Nine Questions—a lot more. The Tucson Weekly dropped him a line and, last Thursday, I stopped by the studio to pick his brain about the Beatles, rappers stuck in the eighties, and his take on new vs. old-school equipment.
How did you get into the music business?
I got into this when the Beatles came on Ed Sullivan. It was just amazing— the British Invasion—the songs that were happening at that time were just incredible. It really captured my heart and soul, and that’s what I’ve been doing, I’ve been a professional musician and audio engineer since I graduated high school.
I see kind of a mixture of what I would consider old-school equipment and then some newer stuff here too. Analog or digital, what’s your preference?
I love the sound of vintage analog equipment, so I have a studio that has vintage analog front-end, vintage microphones... then I put it all into the latest DAW (digital audio workstation). So I have the best of both worlds, I have the big fat sound of analog and the editing ability of digital. It’s a nice combination.
How do you bring hip-hop into a studio like this?
There are a few hip-hop artists that I actually make the beats for and we spend time going through the lyrics and spend time with the performance. They’re very thoughtful, they’re very concerned about how they sound—what they have to say. And then the other 90 percent are "pop a cap in your dome," they’re still in the ’80s. Still gangsta.
You use Protools?
Because this is a business, you have to keep up with certain trends. So if you have Protools and the converters, and the clocks they become advertising. But they also wanna know that oyu have the old classic stuff.
What are some of the albums you’ve helped record and produce around here?
I’m currently working on a CD for Vintage Sugar. I just finished a CD for a rockabilly group called Dirty Dice. Lot’s of different feels going on.
How long have you been recording here in Tucson?
What is your favorite album ever recorded?
It’d have to be Abbey Road.
That was [the Beatles] last released album. It was just perfection.
The studio burns down. You can’t take anything with you but one thing— your baby—what would it be?
It’s that green guitar right there. I had that made for me in 1991; it’s a custom Strat. It’s been my favorite since. It does everything, it plays by itself.