180 Grams Teskey Brothers banner in 180 Grams style

Nominated for a Grammy! Let's get to LA.

The band is on tour in Europe so the producer, manager and mastering engineer get to Los Angeles for the ceremony in January 2020.

Hear the full story of Run Home Slow on 180 Grams, a music documentary podcast from Mushroom.

Listen here on Apple, Spotify, Google or your favourite podcast app

New York is on the phone

Melbourne, late on a Wednesday night, November 20, 2019.

Al Parkinson, assistant band manager, and Jeremy Furze, band manager, climb into a car outside the Melbourne Recital Centre behind the National Gallery of Victoria after the Music Victoria Awards.

The two manage The Teskey Brothers who’ve picked up four awards that are snugly tucked away in Jeremy’s backpack.

Jeremy’s phone rings, and he looks at Al.

“Glassnote’s publicist is calling me.”

Glassnote is the band’s US label in New York.

“Does Lauren ever call you?”

“Lauren never calls me.”

Jeremy gets her on the phone and just says “What?!”

“Oh, my God, what’s wrong?”

“There’s a Grammy nomination for The Teskey Brothers. Sam’s been nominated for a Grammy!”

Jeremy hangs up the phone as the car makes its way through the dark Melbourne streets

“And I just sort of held the phone for a minute to digest that. And got on the phone to the guys and told them.”

Run Home Slow producer Paul Butler’s discovery was a little less direct.

He’d noticed that the band had been nominated for another award and assumed it was local.

“I just thought, wow, they’re just throwing awards at them in Australia. So, you know, obviously, I’m not Australian. I don’t have any part of that whatsoever.

“Then someone said ‘No, that’s a Grammy nomination for engineering!’ So… that’s insane!”
Jeremy and Sam Teskey emailed mastering engineer Joe Carra to share the good news.

Joe remembers, “I email them straight back going. That’s awesome guys! Congratulations!” missing his name on the nomination.

In the next email they explained that it was him who’d been nominated along with Sam and Paul.

Joe had work on and other commitments but was talked into going by colleagues and a client, musician Fiona Boyes.

“Frock up and take take your wife and just live it up” she told him.

“And I’m like, ‘Okay, all right.’

“So I booked some tickets and we went over and the whole week was like watching someone else, an out of body experience.”

Joe Carra and his wife arrive at The Grammys

Joe and his wife on red carpet Grammys 2020

The Grammy awards ceremony

Hear the full story of Run Home Slow on 180 Grams, a music documentary podcast from Mushroom.

Listen here on Apple, Spotify, Google or your favourite podcast app

The proud producer, Paul Butler and manager, Jeremy Furze

Paul Butler and Jeremy Furze

Turning up to see The Big Machine

Sunday 26 January 2020, The GRAMMYs are held just west of Downtown Los Angeles.

Paul Butler, Joe Carra and Jeremy Furze are all in town for the show, separately.

The band are on tour, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, travelling from Manchester to headline a gig in Glasgow, Scotland.

Joe’s going in with few expectations; arrive, sit in a big theatre and hear his name called out at some point.

“But it was so it was so much more.

“They treat the nominees like absolute royalty.”

Before the ceremony nominees and proxies for the stars need to collect their tickets.

“So they were kind of, you know, startled that someone actually came to get their own thing and I’m like, I’m from Australia, and they like freaked out. ‘Oh, man, that’s so amazing. You came all the way!’”

Then there’s a reception where Tiffany & Co Grammy medallions are given out to every nominee.

Everyone’s mingling in the large, suave hotel event space.

“‘What did you get nominated for man? That’s great! Can we have a photo?’” several people say to Joe.

They didn’t know who Joe was but the sentiment was sincere, describing it as “a very warm evening”.

The next day is the actual Grammy ceremony, of which only the final part is televised.

There’s a Premier Ceremony, pre-telecast, at the Microsoft Theatre (enter through XBox Plaza) across the road from the Staples Centre, where the main event happens.

Not a normal L.A. day

“I did go to probably the weirdest Grammys in history, out of all of the Grammys”, says Butler.

“I got there and the basketball legend Kobe Bryant had died that morning in a helicopter accident. There was like thousands of people outside the Staples Center we’re in a state of mourning with these like static pictures of Kobe on all of the screens outside.

“It was quite a scene and a very, you know, heavy energy.

‘There was like lots of police there was lots of like helicopters just like static in the air. It was foggy, which is weird.”

Inside the Microsoft Theatre the schedule goes from one item to the next; awards, presentations, live performance. Plenty to get through.

“It’s a celebration of music,” says Carra.

“It’s more than just an award ceremony that there’s celebration of Latino, indigenous, jazz, classical, opera, pop, everything happens during that day. And you get all these performance happening in between awards being given out.

“It was like a concert. I mean, I was watching Chick Corea who’s my hero and I just, Chick Corea man, I was like, I’m happy man. That’s, that’s all I need to see.”

That’s all before the final 1% happens.

Everyone’s ushered out of the Microsoft Theatre into a limousine that takes you 200 meters down the road and back, while the surrounding area of LA is in lockdown.

Looking out the limousine window Carra sees only more limousines driving around the Los Angeles streets before dropping him and his wife on the red carpet, on the opposite side of the street they’d hopped in the car.

“And then the Grammys themselves were ridiculous.”

The red carpet was unexpected.

“I nearly tripped over Shania Twain, you know, I was just so kind of starstruck.”

The telecast section at the Staples Centre is hosted by Alicia Keys (second year in a row), features a flaming performance by Tyler, the creator (who also won best rap album), Lizzo (most nominated), Boyz II Men, Ariana Grande, Aerosmith, Lil Nas X and about 50 other artists.

They’re great, but Carra has a hard time concentrating on just the artists.

“Being a geek, I couldn’t believe the production value of this live show. It was like nothing I’d ever seen. It was like watching an MTV clip unfold before your eyes done in real time

“Tyler, the creator, his performance was something I’d never experienced before. Sets going on fire… And he walked back down the road and then fell off the end of the road of the stage.

“And then it was all reset by the time the commercial came. And I kept saying to my wife They’re not going to get this done in time, I’d be reveling in the fact that they were going to get caught with their pants down and have the stage half set.

“And then so this announcer would go ‘30 seconds’, and the stage is still full of chaos. And then they would say ‘20 seconds’, and then still be absolute chaos, ‘10 seconds’!

“And then between 10 and five seconds, stuff would start to happen. Pianos would lifting to the ceiling, things would drop. Everything happened in the last 10 seconds.

“Then he just casually say, ‘aaaaand clapping’ and everyone could just stop and went from chaos to perfection. And Alicia Keys would just stand there.

“Like with three seconds left, there was still stuff on the stage. And it was just brilliant.”

The spectacle on the stage is hopefully enough to keep you entertained while you’re getting no food or drink sitting through the ceremony.

Paul Butler mentions that “you don’t get to sit with your friends, you just get given a seat.

“I just sat there and just witnessed the whole spectacle of that world is the big machine.”

The three representing Run Home Slow, Jeremy, Paul and Joe, haven’t managed to meet up.

Their category is announced ‘Best engineered album, non classical’.

All the nominees are being read out and Jeremy’s feeling unorganised.

“And so there was me wondering, who was going to get up and accept if they actually did win?”

Nominees, before you get to the Grammy ceremony, and so you’re name is pronounced correctly, there’s an app where you record yourself saying your own name.

With the category announced Joe’s heart rate is going up.

Paul Butler, Joe Carra, and Sam Teskey.

Joe says it’s cliche but getting the nomination (and Grammy medallion) makes him happy enough.

“Just being there. But you do, for 10 seconds, you do actually believe in yourself when they’re reading out the names you’re like, it could happen! And my wife’s going ‘It could happen!’ you know, and I’m like, yeah, it could, and then they say…”

Billie Eilish.

Actually her older brother Finneas won that one. But together they swept the Grammys.

Joe’s not down about it.

“You go ‘oh right didn’t happen’ and you just clap and you smile and go, right okay, let’s get that over with, done. And it’s a lot of fun. And yes, Billie Eilish wiped everyone out.”

Winner for best engineered album non classical Grammy Awards 2020

Joe Carra's Grammy nomination medallion

The Grammy Radar

When we spoke to Joe about we’re sitting in his mixing studio in Melbourne.

While he’s telling the story Mikey and I notice something’s missing.

How does this humble band from Warrandyte, with the vinyl still warm from the album’s pressing, how do they get a Grammy Award nomination for engineering?

We ask Joe.

“That’s a great question and one that I had.

“Considering it wasn’t even the band or the music. It was the technical aspect I was like, and I didn’t know at all up until the day after the Grammys.”

To be nominated for a Grammy someone has to enter your music in one of 30 fields (effectively music genres) across 84 distinct awards categories.

The Recording Academy that runs the Grammys only accepts entries from, according to the website, Professional and Voting Members, as well as registered media companies. Members are permitted to submit their own eligible recordings as well as the recordings of their peers for consideration.

So, the day after the Grammys Joe meets Jeremy for a coffee. They hadn’t met up at the ceremony or after party. Their phones had gone flat from all the selfies the night before.

Jeremy says to Joe that the Academy liked the story of the album.

“He (Jeremy) said they liked the fact that it was a very analog approach,” Joe continued.

Run Home Slow was recorded using analogue equipment, mixed and mastered using analogue equipment.

“Apparently people at the Grammys they were like, ‘man, we really love the sound of the album. But we love the fact that it was being done in a very traditional style.’”

That might have got them the nomination but there’s thousands of records being produced each year.

How did they find this album?

Joe mentions distribution and an overseas label then David… David Glass? Daniel Glass!

“I think they listened when he said, you know, you should check this album out.”

Daniel Glass, founder of Glassnote Records which is also The Teskey Brothers’ label in the USA, felt the sound and the integrity of the record deserve to be nominated.

“All we did is send it to a lot of people.

“We sent links out, we sent out very low key, no hype, and we sent out a lot of CDs to people who are audio files, people who do mastering mixing, producing other record companies, competitors, peers, and I got notes from many of them.”

When the nomination arrived it wasn’t a surprise to Daniel.

“I think in their career, they’re gonna get nominated for many more Grammys, they belong there. And they will be there. Um, yeah, I know they will.”

A similar sentiment resides in manager Jeremy Furze.

“I think no one at that event or anywhere in the world would dispute the fact that The Teskey Brothers are worthy of a Grammy nomination.”

Joe said the after party was weird, human mannequins.

Human mannequins were on display at the Grammy Awards' after party in Los Angeles.