It All Began When. . . 

An Interview With Executive Producer J. Liviakis


Q: What inspired “The Marin Project” and your choices of music?

JL:  I’ve long admired the work of Brian and Roger Eno, Roxy music (Brian Ferry), XTC (Andy Partridge & Colin Moulding), The Church (Steve Kilby) & others. I was a cellist and pianist from age 9 and now merely sing tenor in a church choir but have always missed out in theory / composition and/ or production. After meeting Anastasi Mavrides (a highly accomplished musician and producer) here in Marin, we’ve enjoyed sharing music ideas, eating our beloved vegan foods and re-living Greek culture. We decided to create a record and perform a live compilation of instrumental classics that 1) were not tired / overplayed 2) still relevant and emotionally moving 3) would excite today’s broad audiences and yet appeal to the discerning/critical ear 4) the old recordings were done poorly –discouraging today’s audiences and so by freshening it with the highest quality of musicians, production and mastering equipment and skills it will bring them to life once again.


Q: Why did you decide to stay true to the original compositions and not create your own interpretation?

JL:  Some pieces lend themselves to re-interpreting. The best example would be Bob Dylan’s many poetic works that were brilliantly interpreted by The Byrds and Brian Ferry, to name a few. But in my view, some iconic pieces should be left alone. Why would anyone try to improve off of Bryan Ferry or in acting improve off Peter Sellers or tamper with the Mona Lisa?

I have heard the original recordings chosen in “The Marin Project” countless times since young boyhood. Every nuance is now part of my DNA. It would be offensive to me if a ham handed presumptuous musician or producer embellished these works.


Q. Describe your first experiences of how music is constructed, recorded, engineered & mixed.

JL:  On those pieces that didn’t have published scores, the brilliant Maryliz Smith & Anastasi Mavrides transcribed them by listening to each subtle instrument and writing the exact notes and therefore creating the entire scores.  I then heard these pieces come back to life as they were played at the superb TRI Studios, with one instrument or so at a time. On the Eno pieces, for example, I heard Maryliz play the piano parts first. This was such an emotional/ tearful moment for me that I’ll remember for a lifetime. To then hear each instrument track put together into the final form and then with Rick, Anastasi and me creatively working through mixing decisions was so fulfilling and a learning experience for me.


Q:  In your opinion, how should the public, professionals and critics listen to and put in context “The Marin Project"?

JL:  I hope listeners have a fine quality audio system and can sit down in a comfortable chair with a glass of wine in a dark room and focus on these moving pieces. I hope that we’ll be remembered for putting together a highly tasteful and satisfying collection of eclectic material that is performed and produced at the highest levels. Since 100% of all profits are going to the homeless, I hope the CD and live performances are strongly supported so we can give to this badly needed cause.