Tinley Park man up for a Grammy Award
BY MEGAN PIOTROWSKI Correspondent January 26, 2012 10:30PM
Bill Maylone, a recording engineer, sits in his basement studio at his home in Tinley Park, IL on Wednesday January 11, 2012. He is in the running for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, in the Classical category | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 28, 2012 8:01AM
Tinley Park may not be the music capital of the world, but it does boast a Grammy Award nominee.
Bill Maylone, a recording engineer, is in the running for Best Engineered Classical Album for his work on “Lonely Motel: Music from Slide,” performed by the contemporary-classical sextet, Eighth Blackbird.
“The album sort of pushes the boundaries of what you would think of as a classical piece,” Maylone said. “They’re really excellent musicians, so they try to do as many experimental things as possible. The group is known for some really modern, contemporary and avant-garde pieces.”
That’s why he thinks the record is getting so much attention. It’s also nominated for Best Small Ensemble Performance, Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Producer of the Year, Classical (David Frost).
The 54th annual Grammy Awards are Feb. 12 in Los Angeles.
The “Lonely Motel” album is an audio version of the music-theatre performance by the group Slide, which tells the story of Renard, a lovelorn research psychologist. The album chronicles his musings on an experiment he conducted using slide projections in an effort to explore the nature of human perception.
“It’s never boring to work with Eighth Blackbird,” Maylone said.
Maylone said the album also was recorded in a unique way. At Cedille Records, albums generally are recorded in a hall or auditorium, but for “Lonely Motel,” each track was recorded separately and in a conventional studio.
“Normally, when you record classical music, you want to get a blended sound ... like somebody who’s sitting in a good seat in a hall might experience. But this was done completely differently because we recorded it like a rock record,” Maylone said.
It was recorded at the Chicago Recording Co., which has helped produce records and tracks by artists from Carole King and Smokey Robinson to Michael Jackson, The Smashing Pumpkins, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Kanye West and more.
“So that was interesting right there,” Maylone said.
He said it took about six days to get everything recorded and about six months to completely edit everything.
“My part in this was engineering the sessions along with Tom Lazarus,” he said.
Lazarus is a Grammy-winning engineer and an accomplished screenwriter and director, known for his work in such popular films as the 1999 horror movie “Stigmata.”
Maylone said it is the recording engineers’ job to correctly get all the sounds into the recording devices. He said that although it may not seem like much of a task, it takes a lot of effort to produce the right sound to please everyone — musicians, composers and executives alike.
“So it was a real team effort,” he said.
Maylone has been recording and engineering music at Cedille Records with college friend and label president Jim Ginsburg for 22 years. At first, he worked at radio stations WMET-FM and WFMT-FM after graduating from the University of Chicago.
From those experiences, he developed an interest in recording engineering.
“The two (radio and recording engineering) are very closely related,” he said.
After the radio business began to change and after a lot of pestering from Ginsburg, Maylone finally made the transition in 1999 from helping with a few projects to becoming Cedille’s full-time recording engineer.
Maylone first was nominated for a Grammy three years later and got another nomination in 2003. He said this one was “a bit of a surprise” — surprising enough that he can’t make the trip because of recording sessions already scheduled.
“It’s really nice that people in the industry have discovered something we did, and that it was worth their time to listen through,” he said.
His family — wife Eileen and daughters Clare, 14, and Julia, 11, share in his success.
“It’s very exciting, especially for a small, independent label like Cedille,” Eileen said. “It really indicates the quality of work they do.”