Greg Penny may be best known by EJ fans for producing Made in England. But he’s done much more, and took time out to share the developments with EJW’s Chief Editor, Cheryl Herman.
EJW: Have you been in touch through the years with Elton?
GP: Yes. Elton is extremely busy: Communication is more frequent when we’re working on something and need to talk. That being said, I’m always working on something ”Elton”–5.1 mixes, Gnomeo & Juliet, The Union, digital archives . . .
EJW: You were nominated for a Grammy in 2006 for your surround sound mix of Honky Chateau. Do you plan more such projects?
GP: Yes, I’m mixing in surround all the time. I remixed 12 Elton albums in all. Six were released and six are ready to go!
EJW: In 1999, you formed an independent label with your wife. Tell us about this and about an electro-pop record you teamed up for. Also, how might Flower Records be branching out into the world of cinema?
GP: Flower Records was created to facilitate the release of Poperetta @ Saint Tropez, the album and EPs I made with my wife Katia. Together we are Poperetta. It all started with writing a song together, wanting to release it, creating a label to release it, licensing it around the world and then making videos (which is where Flower Cinema comes in) and before we knew it, we were a little company with more big ideas, including Twin Trip, our son Felix‘s band.
EJW: Recently you were reunited with several of Elton’s bandmates on Ben Babylon‘s debut, Dreams For Sale. What was the experience like?
GP: Ben is an inspiring guy and when invited to participate, none of us wanted to miss that chance to help make a bit of history. Davey, Nigel and Bob were on the road in Europe and I was in Japan; somehow we got it together.
EJW: You previously produced Ben’s Goodbye Superman tribute to his late father. How well did you know Guy Babylon?
GP: We met in 1993 when I was doing the sessions for Elton’s Duets album. Guy was legend at this point and I was excited to be able to work with him. We then recorded Made in England together. We became very close, our families hanging out together during the first half of 1994 when we were all living in London. Guy was completely psychic and just knew how to get on with what he needed to do, often working on his own for hours, and then he’d reveal the parts he had constructed, like delivering a gift! We are still close with Kathy, Ben, Max and Jessica.
EJW: Your own folks were performers (country’s Hank Penny and pop’s Sue Thompson). How did this impact your career choice?
GP: The impact was massive! What I was able to experience at a young age, through my parents’ exposure and guidance, made up what I am today. They were and are my idols and sometimes my love and appreciation for their creativity overwhelms me.