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June 2024
Vol. 23, No. 9

Zen of Recording


by Sven-Erik SeaholmFebruary 2024

Sven at the console.

I quit.

It feels weird to say and even more strange to read it back to myself, but it’s true: It’s time for me to go now. The how and why are irrelevant but rest assured, I’ll still be around.

Let’s do the numbers:

I’ve been writing the Zen of Recording column for just about 20 years now.
I have been a professional musician for over 44 years.
I’ve been a record producer for over 38 years. Carlos Olmeda was my first client in 1986.
There have been over 1400 recording projects that bear my name as producer and recordist.
I stopped counting after that, which was a while ago.
I have released six (currently working on number seven) albums as a solo artist and three with The Wild Truth, in which fellow columnist Charlie Loach and I still rock our hearts out, on occasion.
I’ve been married four times and none of my three sons were the product of those unions.
My eldest, Drew Andrews is well known to many of you from his solo work, the bands Via Satellite and Album Leaf and in his current role as manager of The Whistle Stop Bar.

Dave Gleason

I have reviewed hundreds of recording tools and techniques in these pages and did the same for SLAMM magazine for two years before they were sold to CityBeat.

Yes, there were some awards awarded along the way, but that was never why I did it. I did it because I love songs. Because I believe that to share that song with others is what gives the song and—arguably the writer—purpose. Because being a musical “midwife” of musical creation is something I was born to do.

I was mentored and supported in my production career as an 18-year-old kid by the late George Seibert, who blessed me with his instruction, experience, and a piece of sage advice: “Always have a co-producer. Everything’s always their fault!”

I tried to take you out of your head to unexpected, hopefully thought-provoking places, from bodysurfing nude at Black’s Beach to live recordings in churches to recording a crew of delightful Thai people partying their brains out in the background of a Buddy Blue album.

I shared my victories as well as my defeats.

Ed Croft

I never tried to ever talk down to you. I’m not better than you, I just know some stuff that might help. Don’t let anybody tell you how you should be or that your music isn’t relevant. Artists are driven to create and share their artwork. Period. I’ve been driven to help you in that task these past 20 odd years and I will continue to, albeit in a different form.

You’ll see me out more. We’ll meet and collaborate. We’ll share a stage. We’ll make a record!
Come introduce yourself, ask me a question and we’ll talk. I love to help music get made.

Always remember what the great producer Phil Ramone once said:
“If it’s an art, then there are no secrets!”

I’d like to address the people who have followed this column religiously: To both of you, let me say that writing this column for the San Diego Troubadour has been a blessing and an honor. I can somewhat selfishly say that I took this gig to become a better writer. I ended up with something more: An actual literary voice.

I think I knew this day was coming when I recently wrote the story of my record-holding bicycle jump.

So many of you mentioned that story and encouraged me to do more. I will.

Finally, let me shine a light on the publishing team of Lyle Duplessie, his wife Ellen, Kent Johnson, and current editor Liz Abbott, who approached me at a party in 2004 offered me the opportunity to write for the San Diego Troubadour.

“You can write whatever you want.” said Lyle

“I’m in.” said me.

In all of that time to now, I believe I only turned in my column on time on three occasions.

I’m sorry, Liz. I thought you said ‘in’ time! You’ve been a goddamned hero to America’s eighth largest city, as well as its chief source of local music news and info. You kick ass, girl!

Thank you, gentle readers. I love San Diego music so much and I know you do, too.

To everyone else, I say:

Don’t kowtow to those who put limits on your musical efforts.

Don’t believe the argument that our audience is “aging out” or that your music lacks relevance. Do it anyway. People like you make the tough times more bearable and all our lives are enriched immeasurably through the exchange.

I look forward to even more adventures, just different ones.

I love you all.



Sven-Erik Seaholm is a singer, songwriter and record producer from San Diego.

Contact, questions, and bookings:

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