Record Producer Magoo to Sell Studio Gear Collection on Reverb

A fixture of the Australian recording industry, Lachlan "Magoo" Goold has worked with an extensive list of the country’s most acclaimed bands, including his ARIA award-winning work on albums by Regurgitator and Midnight Oil.

In a somewhat surprising and very exciting move, Magoo has decided to clear out his collection of outboard recording equipment right here on Reverb by way of the Official Magoo Reverb Shop. The shop launches this Thursday, June 28 in Australia (Wednesday, June 27 in the U.S.).

Reverb’s own Nick Smethurst spoke with Magoo about his professional history, his reasons for this sale, and what’s up next for the legendary producer. To see all the listings in Magoo's shop, click here.

How would you describe your career, if you had to be concise?

An eclectic noise maker, who loves chaos in the studio. But if I’m being less concise, I started with an audio course (before elaborate degrees were available) in 1990 and then started mixing live for friends’ bands as a part-time job while I was at university studying mechanical engineering.

When I graduated, there was no work for graduates in mechanical engineering so I got a job in an infamous studio in Brisbane called Red Zeds. I worked part-time in the rehearsal rooms, and because I did that, I could hang out in the studio.

I became very good friends with Jeff Lovejoy, and that led to me working in the studio. I started as the demo boy, recording demos. I used to mix live a lot as well, so I’d start coercing the bands that I mixed live into the studio. I started working with the Dream Killers, traveling with them for over two years, co-engineering two EPs, and recording their debut.

Lachlan "Magoo" Gould

After Dream Killers, I started working with Powderfinger… But it was before Powderfinger were Powderfinger. They actually had done their debut album. I came in on that tour, mixed for them for about a year, and ended up doing an EP with them between the albums. It was actually at that point where I decided to stop live mixing and just take to the studio.

At the time, Powderfinger was working a lot, gigging pretty much every weekend. At one stage, they had a residency at The Metro in Sydney, and we used to drive 11 hours every Saturday night to play the gig and back. It was crazy.

They had a tour coming up with Sidewinder and Fur, and it was like: "Hey, Magoo, do you want to do another tour?" And at the same time, I was also getting: "Hey, Magoo, do you want to record Tu Plang in Thailand with Regurgitator?" I think we all know which one I took.

You’re clearing out a whole swath of very interesting, high-quality outboard gear. What inspired that?

Akai S3000XL Sampler

Essentially, I'm no longer recording bands like I was. I'm no longer the owner of a recording studio; perhaps the dynamics of the industry has won? Those dynamics certainly don't bode well with family life. I've taken a full-time job as the head of audio at JMC Academy in Brisbane, so while it’s not like I’m never going to record an album again, my output is greatly reduced.

The only recording I’ve done over the past four years has been related to my PhD, which was comparing the classic large format studio to DIY recording. I recorded 17 songs: a third of them at [Brisbane university’s] QUT Studios, a third of them in a found space using just my laptop and a UAD Apollo, and the last third I did in a hybrid between both, where often it would be the drums at the big studio, and I’d finish them up at home.

Then I interviewed the bands about where they feel the most creative and sent the recordings to a bunch of producers—highly regarded producers—to see if they could tell where they were recorded.

And what was the outcome?

The outcome was that, no, there was really no conclusive evidence that they could pick out what I recorded. They couldn't really tell. And I wouldn't say I'm selling all the gear because of the outcome of my research, but it certainly has influenced my thinking.

Millennia Twin Com Compressor

Since I had Applewood [the studio operated by Magoo from 2007-2014], I've been mixing in a hybrid manner, where I'd use the outboard gear. But still, everything’s happening inside Pro Tools. I kept that going once I sold Applewood, but now that I've finished and I've got a job, this gear should go to people who are going to use it.

There's an emotional connection to the gear, as with any artform. These are my paint brushes, and they’re my favorite paint brushes.

Of all of the stuff you're selling, does anything leap out to you with special memories or special stories attached to it?

The first one that popped into my head is the Smart C2 Compressor. It was not the first time I came across that compressor—I believe Steve Smart had one when he mastered "Kong Foo Sing" [Regurgitator’s acclaimed 1996 single]. He did this fantastic trick, where he side-chained the whole mix and ran it through the Smart in crush mode, and it just made the mix come alive.

Smart C2 Compressor

This compressor was loaned to me in ’97, when I was at Studio 301 mixing Midnight Oil, and I basically never gave it back. The band coerced me, saying, "Oh, look, Magoo, that's too good! You can't give that back!" So, I didn't, and it travelled with me for a long time in a road case that I took to every session. It’s serial number 40, so it’s very early on.

I also love my Neves but there's no real story in grabbing them, they're just beautiful pieces of gear. I've compared them to other Neves that came out of a console, and there's no difference there to me—other than the usual differences between Neve channels.

There's also a Boss DM100 in there. Analogue delay, a beautiful box. I love that box. I found that delay in an Op Shop, while I was recording "...art" by Regurgitator. I think that from then on, it was on every track on that album.

Lastly, what’s currently got your ear? And what are you working on at the moment?

I heard a band from the UK the other day called Superorganism, and I just love them—fantastic.

From Brisbane, I recently mixed a track by a guy called Andy Ward, and it’s awesome. He's an electronic artist and it’s quite commercial-sounding really, but he's a really awesome songwriter.

I recently mixed a track for a Tasmanian band called Chase City, who I've worked with quite a bit—they worked with me on my PhD. And then, before that, I recorded an EP with a band from the LGBTIQ community called Love Moves.


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