John O'Mahony reminisces about his childhood as being an era where music was much more hands-on. "I would go to the only cool record store in town and stare for hours trying to decide which record to buy. It felt like a life or death investment decision every time," O'Mahony states. "My friends and I were all obsessed with music, I bought a guitar and distortion pedal at 14 and we all tried to play music together."
After realizing his love of pedals and gear superseded his passion for playing, O'Mahony began to work on a Tascam 4-track cassette machine recording local bands. As he began to graduate to the next level, the mixer/producer worked his way through the studio system, picking up credits from Vance Joy, Sara Bareilles, Coldplay, Metric and The Cribs, all along the way.
Now working out of his own room at Electric Lady Studios, the native of Ireland has continued to work with big name artists using his AMS Neve Genesys console. We spoke to O'Mahony about what made him decide on the Genesys, his approach to using gear in the studio and how it all fits into his workflow in the studio.
What’s daily life like for you in the studio?
I like to work in intensive bursts and take regular breaks from the song to keep things fresh. I've been lucky to set up at Electric Lady for a while now. There are lots of interesting people passing through to chat with and exchange ideas. We're in the heart of Greenwich Village so there are great coffee shops and restaurants to take walks to and I probably watch too much Tennis Channel!
How has this approach influenced kind of gear you bring into your own studio?
I’m not too much of a traditionalist, I’m keen to push the boundaries but not at the cost of sonics or inspiration. I look for gear that will delivery either technical capability or inspiration. When you work in the same room every day it can be important to change up your tools to keep things fun.
What kind of console did you have prior to the AMS Neve Genesys? What made you decide that it was time to purchase a new console?
Starting out I spent most of my time at studios with AMS Neve VRs. Then the years I spent working with Andy Wallace were on Solid State Logic Gs and Js. After that I landed on a AMS Neve 88R for a while, which blew me away, it's the peak of large format console design. When the time came to put my own room together, I had to accept that the cost, maintenance and workflow of a large format console would not be realistic for me but I wanted to stay "outside the box." I needed to find a console that eliminated long and difficult recalls, but still had the sonics I loved from AMS Neve.
What was it that drew you to the Neve Genesys? What other consoles did you consider before purchasing your desk?
When I realized the Genesys had been designed by Robin Porter, who was also responsible for the 88R, I knew I had to check it out. I also looked at the API 1608 and a few used consoles, mostly 32 inputs.
Ultimately, what made you decide on the AMS Neve Genesys? How has it impacted your workflow and the way that you record, mix and produce?
I took the multitrack of a song I had already mixed on another large format console and spent a couple of hours with it on the Genesys. It had the same feel to the busses that I'd fallen in love with on the 88R and the Encore Automation that I was accustomed to. 90% of my work is unattended and the clients are scattered all over the world or could be on tour. It can be tricky to coordinate listening schedules, so easy accurate recall is crucial. The Genesys allows you to easily jump between songs and keep all the plates spinning. I felt at home on it right away so I ordered one!
If someone you knew was considering purchasing a Neve Genesys, what’s one thing you would tell them about the console that had you known it beforehand, would have sealed the deal for you sooner?
I really gotta give the folks at AMS Neve a shoutout, they have been great to deal with, very friendly, supportive and always quick to respond to questions. Buying the console felt like joining a family, they understood that I was investing not just money but also my time and the welfare of my business. They have my back and you can't place enough value on that.
If you're interested in learning more about the AMS Neve Genesys, please contact our knowledgeable team of console experts via email or by phone at 888.653.1184. Go further inside John's room at Electric Lady Studios by watching the video from AES Neve below.