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ID: Mark Alan Miller



Thursday, September 03, 2015
Mark Alan Miller is a lifelong resident of western Massachusetts, a hopeless music collector, recording nerd, proud father and happy husband. Prior to his current creative endeavor, Sonelab, a recording studio which opened in 2012, he was the owner of Slaughterhouse Recording Studio in Westhampton.



Full name: Mark Alan Miller

People know you as: Mark (I’ve never had a nickname that stuck outside of a small group of friends.)

Date and place of birth: 1969, Amherst

Town of residence: Easthampton.

Job: Co-­owner and recording/mastering engineer at Sonelab in Easthampton

Who lives under the same roof as you? My wife, Elizabeth MacDuffie, and occasionally my son, Sebastian

Education: I went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for a year to try and get a degree in recording­-related things. The facilities really weren’t in place there at the time, and I dropped out. Soon thereafter I started interning and then freelancing at local studios, while also writing and producing music in my small home studio, and working at For the Record in Amherst. Education by doing, I suppose.

Hobbies: Hmm. My work is also my hobby. I also have a music project (band) called Out Out that has been active on and off since 1989. And I can’t seem to stop collecting LPs and CDs and listening to them. Good TV to wind down with in the evening. Elizabeth and I seem to get hooked on BBC series more often than not. And I have enjoyed doing graphic design since high school — lots of CD and album covers. And I’m proud to be the layout person for Meat For Tea: The Valley Review.

Book you’d recommend to a friend: “How to Wreck a Nice Beach” by Dave Tompkins, for anyone with even a remote interest in electronic music, music, military and telephone technology, and early hip-hop.

Favorite movie/TV show/group: Movie — “That Thing You Do!” (so much fun). TV — Right now we’re hooked on “Velvet” and “Mind of a Chef.” Band — so many, but I often defer to XTC.

Five things you can’t live without: Nourishment, companionship (family and friends), music, time, hope

Last thing you purchased just for fun: A crazy audio plug-in called “Stutter” just for the fun of it, but now I’m finding it to be a great tool, too.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? My life­-to-­do ­list? To keep improving in every aspect of life. Once one gets complacent, that’s kinda it.

Life­-changing experience: Having a son, and hearing a new (to me) piece of music and just being awed

Strangest job you ever held: I don’t think I’ve ever had a strange job. I guess to some what I do is “unusual.” Maybe not.

Your current Facebook status: “This is made of pure awesome” with a link to a supercut of endings to over 120 AC/DC songs. Just the endings.

A little­ known fact about you: I’m allergic to corn.

Dumbest thing you ever did: I’d rather not say, and/or I’d rather not remember.

One product you’d like to see return: Vinyl LPs. And my wish is coming true, for the time being at least.

What really sets you off? The current cultural willingness to celebrate and encourage ignorance. That, and people who truly think that music isn’t worth paying for, and want it for free but moreover, those who profit from the trafficking in illegal downloads.

If you could spend the day with a celebrity from any time in history, who would it be? I’d love to hang out with M.T. “Bill” Putnam, and try to soak up every ounce of his knowledge of recording equipment design and theory.

Best advice you ever got: From my father (who was a dean at UMass at the time) and my mother (who worked at Deerfield Academy) to not return to college, but to continue on the path of finding my own way after my year of studies at UMass.

What does your ideal weekend look like? Either a quiet time at home with Elizabeth, or a weekend with my son. Often both.

One thing you would change about yourself: I could be a little neater. I seem to attract clutter.

What gives you the creeps? Spiders. No explanation needed.

People who knew you in high school thought you were: I’m not sure. I think most thought I was a little weird. And a music nut.

Whom do you most admire? I admire people who follow their heart, their morals, their intellect and logic, and their dreams. Those who stand up for what’s right, what they believe can make the world a better place. Those who see education in the myriad forms it can take as the route to the betterment of the world. Elizabeth, for her undaunted resolve to keep Meat For Tea a regularly published quarterly journal on actual paper for going on 10 years now. And my parents and brothers who, without a doubt, shaped me more than anyone else growing up.

Parting shot: Support the artists, writers, musicians and other creative people who make the world a better place and enrich our lives immeasurably. Strive to keep an open mind and malleable opinions. Eschew the need to be right. Follow your own path, even if it’s wildly divergent from the norm. And love those around you.

— Compiled by Brenda Nelson



To suggest someone for ID, send an email to bnelson@gazettenet.com.