Patrick MacDougall



Patrick MacDougall brings LA recording experience to Syracuse

After working for 26 years as a recording engineer based in Los Angeles, Patrick MacDougall is coming home!   His vast experience has taken him around the world, recording, editing and mixing music.  Regardless of where he has traveled, his heart has always remained in Central New York.

Growing up in New Haven, New York, Patrick began listening to music when he was five.  Artists like the Beatles, The Mamas & the Papas, the Fifth Dimension and Joan Baez caught his attention. He would listen to Top 40 radio late into the evening, intrigued by the variety of songs and styles he would hear.

In the summer of 1974, he picked up the trumpet and spent that summer playing nearly every day.  A few years later, he moved into the Oswego School District where, in 1982, he graduated with a focus on music.

After receiving his AS in Trumpet Performance with a piano minor from Onondaga Community College, he began looking into the recording industry.  His search led him to Los Angeles where he enrolled in the Recording and Engineering Program at the Dick Grove School of Music.

“Just before graduating from The Grove School, I was hired at Skip Saylor Recording.  My first ‘glamorous’ job in the business was to completely gut a house that was to become a new recording studio in Hollywood.”   This introduction to the world of studio design and construction would prove valuable throughout his career.  “I was regularly involved in the first sessions at many newly constructed or rebuilt studios.  It seemed I was destined to be a troubleshooter!” 

After learning the ropes at Skip Saylor’s, Patrick began working with Mixer/Producer Brian Malouf.   For more than five years, they were involved in high profile sessions including Celine Dion, Slaughter, Julian Lennon, Madonna, Queen, Take 6 and many, many more.

When Brian accepted the VP of A&R position with RCA Records in New York City, Patrick remained in LA working on projects that ran the gamut of styles and genres.  During that time, premiere recording console manufacturer Solid State Logic approached Patrick as they were launching a new product, the SL 9000 J, an all new "super" analogue mixing console with advanced automation and computer control facilities.   “I traveled to Solid State Logic’s headquarters in Oxford, England where I received training from SSL’s Product Managers and staff on the 9000.  Solid State Logic needed a Product Specialist here in the US who could train the various studios’ staffs, as well as freelance engineers, on the many advanced features that the 9000 offered.”

As Patrick’s mastery of new technology continued, Solid State Logic increased their digital and analogue product line.  As Product Specialist, he facilitated the training of SSL’s sales staff and end-users in new digital technology.  The flagship of their digital recording consoles, the Axiom MT, became the recording console of choice for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s private recording studios.

While installing the Axiom MT and training Mr. Allen’s staff, Patrick accepted the position of Studio Operations Manager for Vulcan Inc.  Over the past twelve years, Patrick has recorded, edited, and mixed music for Mr. Allen and many of his friends in sessions around the world in places such as Russia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Greece, South Africa and Madagascar.   As a member of Vulcan’s Studio Group, Patrick was instrumental in the design and outfitting of new studio construction in various studio properties, as well as those on Mr. Allen’s luxury yachts.

The artists Patrick has worked with are even more impressive than the places he has traveled.  “I have had the distinct honor and privilege to have worked with so many wonderfully talented artists.  On one such occasion, I recorded Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, A.R. Rahman, and Dave Stewart (who along with Damian Marley formed the supergroup SuperHeavy) - all over a period of about two weeks!   Those sessions were amazingly positive, creative and extremely fulfilling.”

Patrick has worked with Producer/Composer Marius deVries on several projects including Sarah Brightman, Debi Nova, the Sucker Punch soundtrack and an upcoming Lucas Films feature.

Another fantastic day of recording took place last spring when Patrick recorded legendary guitarist Joe Walsh.  “Recording Joe Walsh playing guitar, then singing, was just too cool for words!!  His musicianship was top notch and demeanor even cooler.” 

Patrick has worked on many projects with Robbie Robertson of The Band.  “Working with a legend like Robbie is a remarkable experience.  We worked closely on the re-release of The Last Waltz and The Band – A Musical History.  Quite often, I would work on a song, send him a mix and he’d call back with comments that made the mix just that much better.  Working on the inspiring song “Shine Your Light” from the movie Ladder 49 was truly a pleasure and the way it ended the film was very moving.  His latest record, How to Become Clairvoyant is a work of art.  He has tremendous taste and is a true perfectionist.”

The exceptionally talented sister duo of Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart are two of the most celebrated women in rock.  “The first time I met them was during the tracking session in Seattle for Jupiter’s Darling.  Instantly, the chemistry among everyone involved was amazing.   We went to LA to overdub and mix and it was an absolute joy.  Next was Ann’s solo record, ‘Hope and Glory’ (Produced by Ben Mink) which featured many guest artists.  Red Velvet Car followed and we focused on keeping the band very close together for tracking, capturing the live performance vibe of the band.  What an incredible tracking session!!”

Another very interesting project Patrick was keenly involved with is DrumCore.  “My participation in the development of the DrumCore drum loop software was a drummer’s and engineer’s dream session.  I got to focus fully on drums only, so I could use all the very best microphones and processing on the kit.  I spent at least three days with each of the drummers, including Matt Sorum, Terry Bozzio, Sly Dunbar, Luis Conte, Tony Braunagle, John Tempesta, Lonny Wilson and Alan White, recording their signature grooves and focusing on their styles and strengths.”

Patrick is currently involved in new and exciting projects featuring artists such as Jaymay, CollegeBand, Voices of Afghanistan and Dana Glover, which are slated for release in the near future.

The next chapter in Patrick’s life brings him back home to the Syracuse area.  “I am so looking forward to being back in Central New York and having a facility like SubCat to work in is icing on the cake.  It’s a fantastic opportunity and a beautiful facility.  I am very excited to be part of such a creative community and to be part of the continued resurgence of Syracuse.”

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