Performer/recording artist and Men At Work frontman Colin Hay has been a Telefunken supporter for many years and is presently touring internationally with his band. Hay recently stopped in at Telefunken headquarters to film a new version of his hit “Overkill” for the company’s “Live From the Lab” series, which is celebrating 1 million views on YouTube.
The series is filmed and recorded at the company’s South Windsor, CT facility and offers fans the ability to download un-mixed multi-track files of the performances. Colin Hay’s video has garnered more than 40,000 views.
“The ‘Live From The Lab’ series grew out of our need to push the limits of research, test and development of our new microphones.” explains Alan Venitosh, Telefunken’s director of operations. “We are able to take the product right from the technician’s bench to the soundstage and run them through real-life applications with world class artists and performers as the test subjects.”
With over 174 unique videos and over 1 Million combined views on its YouTube channel, Telefunken Elektroakustik’s “Live From The Lab” series has become an important cornerstone in not only the Pro Audio industry, but also an important tool for the audio and studio education community. Colleges and Universities all over the globe are now utilizing the multi-track audio files from these session for teaching and demonstration purposes.
“I go back to when Toni Fishman first started the company, Colin Hay recalls. “When Toni was in LA, he came up to my studio and let me try out an ELA M 251E, which I acquired and have used ever since, especially for vocals. And then I just fell in love with different models and got a stereo pair of AK-47 MkII’s. I love recording acoustic instruments, guitars, horns, piano, and my Telefunkens are always in use.”
During the 1980s, Men At Work sold more than 20 million albums with hits such as Down Under, Overkill and Who Can It Be Now? before Hay launched his successful solo career as singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. He currently resides in LA and has recorded a succession of albums at his fully equipped home studio. Hay has also developed a second career as a stage actor and is seen in popular films and TV shows.
When asked about his stereo pair of Telefunken large diaphragm AK-47 MkII microphones, Hay responded, “There are always situations in the studio where I want to have a stereo signal coming in, for acoustic guitars, electric guitars, piano, or just recording a bunch of people in the one room. It’s a beautiful sounding mic, and to have a stereo pair is incredibly handy.”
When on the road, Hay has worked for many years with his trusted front of house engineer Kris Truzzi, who explains, “When you have a vocalist in front of a drum set, trying to avoid too much of the drums and particularly the cymbals and snare bleeding into the vocal is very difficult. Telefunken’s M80 dynamic mics have a nice amount of reach, but not so much that it becomes problematic.”
Truzzi is especially fond of the M80 sound on musical instruments: “The M80 is my absolute favorite flute mic of all time, thanks to its low end fidelity. It’s especially suited to certain types of vocals, such as husky women’s voices and male baritones. We have a total of five M80s on stage every night. I particularly like the low-end definition — there’s a richness that means I don’t have to do much EQ. I always try to match things up as much as possible. It makes my job in blending and balancing things out that much easier.”
After visiting Telefunken headquarters for the video shoot, Truzzi says,
That was a fun day. Everybody took very good care of us, and they were very, receptive. Gracious. To me, it speaks to their level of passion as an organization, and the key people leading it. These are not people who are just in the business of making microphones. They’re passionate about what they’re doing, and they clearly have an emotional stake in creating great tools. They also have an understanding of how the mics are being used, and that’s a very valuable asset.”
Colin Hay adds, “Being deeply involved with playing and recording music, I like to have relationships with people who are doing interesting, innovative things — smaller companies that continue to have a love and passion for what they do. The Telefunken people are always pleased to see us when we drop in and it’s good for us to see the new gear that is made by people who care.”