Being Peter Katis

post brought to you by: dyson


photo by Michael Murray from the calcutta blog

Bands like Interpol, The National, Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Fanfarlo, Mates of State have all become widely known, recognized, and loved amongst the music scene. They’re all great musicians who write great songs.

But there is one strong glue that holds all these bands together and has helped put them into our line of vision (or ears). That man is Peter Katis of Tarquin Studios. And guess what, he does it out of the comfort of his home.

I’m a sucker for the man behind the scenes because my entrance into music was known that if I was lucky, I would be the man credited in the liner notes. This is the life of a record producer/engineer who does it not for the money, but for the love of his craft.

I really wish I could remember the first time I learned of Peter Katis. I knew of his records before I knew of him. And that’s slightly rare for me because when I find an album I love, the first thing I do is dig into the liner notes to find out who worked on it. But I can certainly remember the first time I spoke with him…

I had just moved away from NYC and was trying to figure out what to do next. At this point I was very aware of him and his work. Also knew that he was living my dream. He has a KICK ASS recording studio in his home. I knew I wanted to have a studio in my home. And I do now, except my dog takes up half of the space…

So I reached out to him. And what did he do? Spend an hour on the phone (plus many many emails) with me driving back from a mastering session he had just left in Boston telling me what it takes to setup a studio like his. WHO IS THIS GUY?? I am approaching him as a rival studio owner/producer trying to copy exactly what he has done. And he tells me everything I need to know about doing it.

This is just phase 1 of why Peter Katis is the man. The reason we all know of him is because of his ability to take artists and show their best side. ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ – ‘Antics’ – ‘Alligator’ – ‘Boxer’ – ‘Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters’ – ‘Re-Arrange Us’ – ‘Reservoir’ Do I even need to go on?? These albums are all ones we have put on repeat time and time again. Every time I hear ‘Fake Empire’ I can’t help but to listen to the rest of ‘Boxer’. It has the same impact as an alcoholic who has been away from booze for years but takes one tiny sip and he’s right back into it.

Phase 2 is because he has the ability to make these albums THE go to albums for each of the bands. Is it his incredible drum sounds? Is it the fact that he still uses tape? Is it the fact that he has an amazing studio to record in? Nope. It’s because of all those things. But more importantly he gets music and artists. He pulls the absolute best out of them and puts that down onto tape. And these are the records that turn bands careers into what they are.

If it were up to me? Every time you went to see one of these bands perform live you would see Peter sitting on a stool soaking it in on the corner of the stage. But would he want that? Probably not. Because he chose his path we as music listeners can only benefit from the work he does. And god DAMN does he do great work.

And simply for your listening pleasure:

Interpol – NYC

The National – Fake Empire

Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper

Mates of State – The Re-Arranger

3 Responses to “Being Peter Katis”

  1. Lee says:

    this is wonderful.

  2. Stanley says:

    Nice post…

    I happen to know PK and can confirm that in addition to amazing producer, he is a great guy – and funny too!

  3. […] by the brilliant Peter Katis, this record is one that translates brilliantly onto tape yet makes me imagine what a live show […]

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