A Cappella Vocals (MX308), is unlike anything Megatrax has produced before. A collection of tracks in a variety of A Cappella vocal styles, featuring the Hollywood Studio Singers directed by Peter Bateman and the NuGroove Choir Ensemble directed by Marianne Lewis. We talked with producer Ron Mendelsohn about this unique release and how it compares to other Megatrax offerings, and here’s what he had to say.
Megatrax Newsletter: Has Megatrax done A Cappella before?
Ron Mendelsohn: There are a handful of A Cappella tracks scattered across various Megatrax releases, but this is the first time we have done an entire A Cappella album. The only tracks like this in the Megatrax library are the A Cappella vocal Christmas selections on MX97 (Christmas Collection 3), however these were recorded without lyrics. There are also a few solo vocal Southern Spirituals on MX169 (Sounds of the World 3).
MX: This release was composed and arranged by Peter Bateman, who has worked as an orchestrator and additional arranger with Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard and Christopher Young—among others. Has he contributed any other work to Megatrax?
RM: Peter is a talented Hollywood composer, arranger and orchestrator who is also contributing to our upcoming Rock Hybrid Trailers 3 release.
MX: This release was conceived in response to a client request. Is that unusual for Megatrax?
RM: The majority of our new releases are driven by client requests. This has always been a cornerstone of our production philosophy.
MX: How do you think it affects the quality of the product to have authentic, specialized singers instead of using one group to perform all of the styles?
RM: We basically used two completely different ensembles on this album project. We called on the Hollywood Studio Singers, under the direction of Peter Bateman, to perform on the Christmas Carols and Church Hymns, and we brought in the NuGroove Choir Ensemble, under the direction of Marianne Lewis, to perform on the Gospel spirituals. For the Barbershop Quartet and DooWop selections, we used a male vocal group of four singers. It is one of the hallmarks of Megatrax to combine multiple artists and ensembles on one album in order to maximize variety and authenticity.
MX: This release was recorded in Megatrax’s world-class recording studio. How does the room affect the finished sound with music like this?
RM: There is simply no other way to record live ensembles other than in a professional recording studio. Megatrax is one of the few remaining companies that maintains a very active slate of live recording projects thanks to our in-house studio facilities.
MX: This release is unique, but the authenticity and attention to detail are not unusual for you as a producer.
RM: We aspire to produce albums that are unique and interesting, based on useful and creative album concepts. There are many examples of this in the Megatrax collection such as: Vintage Piano Styles, The Main Event, Cool Commercials, Christmas Shopping, Hip & Quirky and more. These are album concepts that unique to Megatrax and not generally found in other libraries.
MX: Are there any tracks on this release that you’re especially excited about?
RM: All the tracks on this album are amazing with pristine arrangements and impeccable performances, but I am particularly excited about the three Doo Wop tracks, which are quite unique and totally original. When was the last time anyone heard new, original Doo Wop tunes?