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Texas Office of Music Newsletter

Welcome to the TMO Newsletter!

Greetings subscribers! Look to this new communication portal for music news, interviews highlighting various Texas music businesses, special events, and information about TMO programs and related events.

Texas Music license plate


Texas Music Office Launches Texas Music License Plate Grant Program

The Texas Music Office (TMO), operating within the Office of the Governor’s Economic Development & Tourism Division, has launched the Texas Music License Plate Grant Program to fund the purchase of musical instruments and music lessons for underserved Texas school children. The TMO receives $22 out of the $30 fee for the sale of every Texas Music license plate to be used for the grants. Grant applications will be available online through the eGrants application system and will allow any Texas-based 501(c)3 non-profit to apply to receive up to $3,000 for a Texas Music License Plate Grant.

“The Texas Music License Plate Grant Program will help equip Texas children with the resources they need to benefit from the experience of learning and playing music,” Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony said. “It also provides a unique avenue for Texas to partner with non-profits to take music into communities throughout our state. I am proud of the Texas Music Office for facilitating this program and creating new opportunities for young Texans.”

Texas Music license plates are available for order online through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

The initial funding to establish the Texas Music Office specialty license plate was made possible through the support of Wofford Denius and the Cain Foundation, along with the work of Donna Lujan, Lisa Bell, Dan Pockrus, Rep. Ron Wilson, and the Austin Music Foundation.

TMO Director Brendon Anthony Interviewed About the TEXAS MUSIC License Plate & TMO Grant Program

To hear the archived interview from KOKEFM.com, just click here: http://kokefm.com/audio/brendon-anthony-07-29-16/

TMO Director Brendon Anthony at KOKE FM Radio Station

Rupert Neve at the office

TX Music Business Spotlight: Rupert Neve Designs

This interview was conducted with audio engineering living legend Rupert Neve a few days before his 90th birthday on July 31. Neve and his wife moved their home and business to the quiet hill country town of Wimberley, TX several years ago, and have enjoyed central Texas as the base of operations for Rupert Neve Designs ever since. 

TMO: First off, thank you in advance for your time, Mr. Neve! And congratulations on your upcoming 90th birthday...and all that you’ve accomplished in audio/studio equipment design!

We recall the May 2015, Wimberley floods' left 3 feet of water in your main production ­line room. How did the recovery go?

Neve: Our headquarters in Wimberley was mercifully unharmed in the floods last year, but the production facility we use in San Marcos had several feet of water through it. We had a few months without being able to ship much, but everyone at the production facility put in long hours to replace and restore equipment, and everything was back to normal by January (2016).

TMO: Although many musicians and industry folks associate you with your newer 5088 console, or the classic Neve recording consoles (like the Neve 8078 still recording killer albums at El Paso’s Sonic Ranch and at Willie Nelson’s Perdenales Studios, or the Neve 8016 at Jim Enos’ Public Hi­Fi Studios in Austin, or the 1973 Neve at Cedar Creek Recording Studios for that matter), after 50­plus years designing and manufacturing audio equipment, what is your favorite “breakthrough” in audio equipment and/or design. Your favorite/most memorable “ah ha” moment. Feel free to get technical!

Neve: It’s interesting that you mention Willie Nelson, as they are just finishing up installing a new 5088 console at Willie’s studio. As far as a breakthrough moment goes, in 1977 the first of three new consoles having wide range audio circuitry and toroidal transformers was delivered to George Martin's studio on the island of Montserrat. 

On a cold and rainy English winter evening, with many problems on my plate, I had a phone call from Beatles engineer Geoff Emmerick telling me that the first group had just completed 3 weeks of sessions. He said: "Rupert, the console SPARKLES!" The winter evening became a tropical paradise for me.

TMO: We read an interview with you where you mentioned designing equipment is your hobby. And we read that you’re self-­taught, tinkering with electronics since you were a boy. Are there any subjects that you’d recommend young electrical engineers and “tinkerers” brush up on? (Basically, the old “advice for aspiring students in the field” question...)

Neve: My advice is to get a good quality monitor speaker system and listen; listen; listen. Determine the difference between a MP3s, CD’s, high resolution 24 bit / 192khz and DSD (SACD). The higher resolution digital files and DSD files determine the distortions you can perceive due to poor recording equipment. Also, try to listen to as much music coming directly from the instruments and performers as possible. Most amplification systems at clubs and festivals fall far short of capturing the complete quality of a performance, and the pure sound from the artist in a room is the absolute reference for your ears to learn.

TMO: And since we’re part of the economic development office: having your design and manufacturing located in central Texas appears to be working well for your company. Aside from the appeal of the beauty of the Hill Country, has Texas’ been a beneficial place to locate your business (the tax structure, for example, not having a state income tax, as well as being located in the center of the United States, considering distribution)?

Neve: Texas has been warm and welcoming. Engineers find it is a place where they can deliver amazing results, and we are happy to be away from the many hurdles of running a business in Europe.

TMO: I imagine nearly everyone would like to be as productive in their 60s, 70s, and 80s as you’ve been with Rupert Neve Designs. I won’t ask ‘what is your secret to happiness and longevity,’ but I would like to know what drives your passion to continue to create cutting edge analogue products? Is there a sonic color – or clarity – that you try to achieve? Or are the goals for your products more complex...or simpler?

Neve: The secret is that God has given me a wonderful talent. I keep daily contact with Him and He enables me to uncover, as it were, layers of sound as I listen and try to explore the way the human brain perceives sound; often above normal audibility...

TMO: Again...thank you for your time! Happy birthday in advance! And thank you for your contributions to the international and Texas music industry! Feel free to add any thoughts that you’d like your fans, clients, and potential new customers to know about your life’s work and/or your current work and products...or analog products in general.

Neve: No man stands alone. Most of what I've done could not have been achieved without the help of other gifted engineers.

I spend a lot of time listening and evaluating what others have done. We can perceive (not "hear") frequencies well above audibility. Our equipment; microphones through preamps, amplifiers and the recording media, must be able to record / reproduce these frequencies.

Sounds impossible but the brain actually emits frequencies whose magnitude and waveform can be measured and evaluated.

I encourage others to study these concepts and take them beyond what I've found.

TMO guitar at Viva Big Bend Festival

 TMO Visits Viva Big Bend Festival

Every year during the last few days of July the Texas Music Office heads west for the annual Viva Big Bend Music Festival. Always one of the highlights of our year, it gives us a chance to catch up with old friends in West Texas and meet new performers from all over the state. This year we were particularly excited to meet Veronica Castro and her crew from Visit El Paso and attend the grand re-opening of Transpecos Guitars after the death of its founder Mark Pollock.

Now in its 5th year, the festival stretches across the Trans Pecos into the communities of Alpine, Fort Davis, Marfa and Marathon. With more than forty acts scheduled in ten different venues, the weekend offered a wide range of talent from all over the Lone Star State. Highlights included the Lost Gonzo Band reunion of Bob Livingston and Gary P. Nunn (performing “London Homesick Blues” to very enthusiastic crowds), a night of music sponsored by Visit El Paso featuring Dusty Low, Frontera Bugalu and Chuco Soul Project, Little Joe y La Familia headlining Alpine’s Granada Theater Friday night, a packed house at the same venue for Los Lonely Boys on Saturday and our very own TMO intern, John Courtney, playing guitar for Los Coast at Padre’s in Marfa. The whole thing wrapped up with an Alpine Cowboys Baseball game at Kokernot Field for everyone who stayed over on Sunday.

With amazing West Texas scenery and an average daytime temperature in the 80s and lows in the 60s over the weekend, Viva Big Bend has become one of the great destination festivals in Texas. Don’t miss it next year.