New-York based Ronson begins his day at about 9.30am, when he switches on his laptop. From his Greenwich Village apartment, he first checks his e-mails and the weather and then updates his blog, before heading out of the door with his dog. His modest recording studio, in which he has collaborated with many stars, is in New York’s SoHo area.
“I have one standard industry computer in my studio to digitally record music on,” he says, “but I take a laptop with me everywhere. When I’m DJing, I use a computer program called Serato. This allows me to do all the regular stuff you can do with vinyl, like scratching.”
In the studio in Brooklyn that Ronson also uses, there isn’t a computer in sight, though. He explains: “Everything is recorded old school to tape. I then transfer the sound onto the computer program ProTools back at my own studio. This opens you up to a world of possibilities that wouldn’t be the case if you stuck to old-school recording.”
This is how Ronson created the Motown-meets-modern-dance sound on Winehouse’s album Back to Black and also transformed the Radiohead hit Just into a danceable, club-style track on his album Version. His engineer, Tom Elmhirst, does the final mixes of Ronson’s music in London. “If I’m in New York, he sends it to me – it goes back and forth – and I give him notes on what I want him to fix and change.”
When Ronson’s away from home, he likes to watch US TV shows on his laptop, including Friday Night Lights, which is about a high-school football team in Texas. “It’s shot so beautifully. It’s so moody and not commercial,” he says. “If I miss an episode and I’m at the airport the next morning, going home from some DJ gig, it’s cool to be able to go to the iTunes store and download the episode from the night before.”
“I’m not into video games,” he continues, “but I enjoy looking on the internet and going to the different sites I like.” He finds a lot of new and exciting music on iTunes, as well as Stereogum.com and Popjustice.com. People also send him links to their MySpace pages for him to check out their demos. He says: “It’s just like point and click. I know people have got a bit lazier and lowered their standards of patience, but they want the convenience now.”
Watch our vodcast featuring Mark Ronson.
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