LOS ANGELES, CA – Mastering facility The Bakery began over a year ago as the ambitious next step for successful mastering engineer Eric Boulanger. Located in the heart of the Sony Pictures Studios lot, The Bakery opened up shop and quickly became well known for its professionalism, wide range of quality mastering services offered, and most of all the extraordinary talents of Boulanger and the rest of his team, including fellow mastering engineer Jett Galindo. The facility’s profile has risen steadily since its opening, with a busy 2016 involving dozens of albums mastered, several high-profile award nominations, educational outreach in conjunction with industry organizations and events and much more. Boulanger and crew are ramping it up in 2017, with even bigger things on the horizon, but not before looking back at some of the key achievements of 2016.
The 2016 awards season, centered around the winter and spring, saw a number of Boulanger projects nominated for top awards, including a GRAMMY® nomination for Patrick Williams’ Home Suite Home, honored in two categories (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and Best Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals); two Juno nominations (Young Empires for Breakthrough Group of the Year and Shawn Hook for Fan Choice Award – further expanding The Bakery’s reach into the thriving Canadian music scene); a nomination for Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” for the 2016 Billboard Music Awards’ “Top Selling Song”; two nominations for Young Empires at the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards (Best Director and Best MuchFact Video); and more.
January 2016 saw The Bakery becoming a key content-production partner for MQA Ltd. and its proprietary codec, which offers high-fidelity digital audio internet streaming at a level praised by audiophiles around the world. Watch Boulanger discuss his involvement here: http://www.mqa.co.uk/professional/for-content-producers.
In April, Boulanger participated in The Recording Academy®’s GRAMMY Pro Studio Summit at Esplanade Studios in New Orleans, LA, alongside keynote speaker Geoff Emerick and honorary event chair Elliot Scheiner – both legendary music industry figures. Boulanger joined fellow pros Michael Romanowski, Jonathan Wyner and Chris Bell on a panel titled “Demystifying the Art of Mastering.”
In October, Boulanger was honored to be a “Vinyl Mastering” panelist at the 141st AES Convention in Los Angeles, teaming with mastering greats Bernie Grundman and Ron McMaster (McMaster was once a pivotal connection for Boulanger, leading to his first big industry break: an internship at Capitol Studios). The following month, he was part of a panel, “The Producers: From Melodies to Masters,” hosted by the AES Los Angeles Section, alongside Peter Doell, Jack Douglas, Shelly Yakus and CJ Vanston.
And through this flurry of activity, the focus remained firmly on the music, with acclaimed records mastered at The Bakery including Green Day’s Revolution Radio, both the score and soundtrack to Oscar-winning smash La La Land, Rufus Wainwright’s Take All My Loves, Hozier’s “Better Love” from The Legend of Tarzan, Laura Pausini’s Laura Xmas, David Archuleta’s My Little Prayer, Colbie Caillat’s The Malibu Sessions and many more. Boulanger’s professional relationship with Caillat goes back years – in fact, 2016 saw the fifth anniversary of Caillat’s 2011 hit album All of You, which was mastered by Boulanger, and which has the distinction of being the first album release in the “Mastered for iTunes” format – a paradigm shift that Boulanger spearheaded. The Green Day project also brought an unexpected spotlight to The Bakery, as frontman Billie Joe Armstrong shared a video on social media of cutting the single’s vinyl to announce their new album – a fascinating look at the mastering process that went viral among Green Day’s fans and beyond. The single itself, “Bang Bang,” earned Green Day their first number-one Mainstream Rock Songs chart slot in seven years – a welcome return to chart dominance for the veteran punk rockers. The album went on to hit number one itself when it was released in the fall.
The beginning of 2017 has kept this momentum going, with record-setting awards season hauls for La La Land, as well as high-profile appearances from Boulanger and/or Galindo at the International CES Convention in Las Vegas and The NAMM Show in Anaheim, both in January.
“Founding The Bakery was a dream and goal of mine, and it was the logical next step in my growing career as a mastering engineer,” remarks Boulanger. “I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish through 2016, and we are looking forward to seeing where 2017 takes us. We love what we do, and work immensely hard to be able to – which I feel comes through in our masters. Everything just keeps getting better and better for us, and we’re truly dedicated to furthering our craft, so it’s humbling to be serving music as a whole.”
Photo caption: The Bakery’s Eric Boulanger and Jett Galindo, pictured in one of The Bakery’s mastering rooms.