“Dave Royer walked us to the car and shared a bit about himself. He told us how when he was young, music was the one thing that would calm him down.” Steve McDonald
Associate Producer for the film, A Sound Paradigm, Steve is head engineer and design producer for DeMarco Studios and Ability Productions. A longtime engineer in music production, Steve’s initial experience began in his late teens when he and two friends built a recording studio to make records and score film soundtracks.
In the late 70s Steve began engineering seminal punk era recordings including “Saturday Night Pogo”, Needles & Pins “I Wanna Play with Guns”, Lydia Lunch’s “1313” and the Soundtrack, “The Decline Of Western Civilization”.
With the advent of the CD, Steve moved on to Dunhill Compact Classics (DCC), where he oversaw licensing, mastering and creation of compilation disks before working as a staff engineer for Sedona Records, JCI Records and Artful Balance. In 1994, a stint with indie label, Blitzz Records, led to working on releases for All-4-One, Nu Flavor, Mana and Santana among others.
Steve’s work with Bob DeMarco began in 2002, when he designed sound isolation for guitar amp recordings and putting together an effective patchbay for DeMarco Productions. That relationship forged a friendship and working relationship that continues to this day.
A Conduit to Dave Royer; Royer Labs
“As Dave entered, I got the impression of a mad scientist. I remember it was 105 degrees ~ hot as Hell. As we talked, Dave got more and more technical. I realized that most of what he was saying was over my head.”
While working with Chris Perez (Selina’s widower), in 1995 Steve walked into a then unknown start-up microphone manufacturing storefront in North Hollywood. Having technical questions about their products, front men John Jennings and John Sinclair called Dave to the front of the store to answer Steve’s questions. Most of what Dave said went over Steve’s head. His ability to talk “tech” was obvious; his ability to connect on a more social level was non-existent.
Over the next few years, Steve’s relationship with John Jennings (now VP of Sales and Marketing for Royer Labs) grew. While they talked about microphone design, music, women and whatever, Dave kept his conversation purely technical. It would be years before it became known that Dave’s inability to “chat” was a hallmark of autism.
One day in (add year), a drive out to Royer Labs’ shop with Bob DeMarco would plant the seed for the Sound Paradigm film.
“We drove out to get a mic fixed. When Dave walked us to the car, he shared a bit of his life story, sharing how when he was young, music was the thing that would calm him down.”
As Steve and DeMarco drove away, the pair agreed, they needed to tell Royer’s story, and decided there and then to make a documentary film. As the father of an autistic son, DeMarco saw in Dave, possibilities for his young son’s future. For Steve, making this film provided an opportunity to let a wide audience see Dave’s individual and team contribution to recorded music, and to demonstrate what caring and understanding can build in a more diverse, compassionate world.
For Steve, filming the Dave Royer story has been both challenging and educational. Traveling around with Dave to film has given new and powerful insights to the Royer story. Though initially Dave was unsure if his was a valid legacy to share in film, as the story unfolds, it is clear his impact in the art of recording and autism are indeed forever indelible.
Production on A Sound Paradigm, a documentary film about Dave Royer began in early 2016. The film is due for completion in late 2017.