John Neff

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Had an amazing chat with John Neff about his career...about his time in Hawaii and with David Lynch.
He stayed in Hawaii for 14 years, up until 1993. In the end there, I had a commercial quality studio there with Walter Becker from Steely Dan. We were on 7 and a half acres up on the mountainside. I did a Willie Nelson album there, Sinead O’Connor and others. I had also started a Hawaiian record label and had released 26 albums over the years.. In ’93, Walter bought me out, and I went back to Phoenix and started a studio there. We also had a video shooting stage, and I was hoping to do both movie scores and album projects.
Meeting David Lynch: The architect that had built my studio in Hawaii and that had built out the control room of my Phoenix studio said “Let’s start a new company to equip the studios we build so that we can be a turnkey studio operation. . One of my clients was this eccentric filmmaker named David Lynch. He was building a studio in what had been the Madison house from the film Lost Highway. About 75% of that house was demolished, and we blasted back into the hill to build the long length of the studio. He did not have an engineer, so he needed help designing the technical system. I had a meeting with him and Mary Sweeney, who was his editor and partner at the time and they hired me to design the technical package and provide the gear for the studio. This was my second film studio but the first that had 35 mm projectors and a 22-foot screen with the sound behind it. It was a major dubbing theater, but he also wanted to be able to record music there. . It seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I gambled and took it. We would work together for the next nine years, up until 2005.

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