For Garrett, the success of the Sony/ATV facility has been the culmination of more than two decades of studio work in many disciplines. A graduate of the University of North Carolina and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Garrett began his career at Beantown's Intermedia Sound in 1978, where he assisted on sessions by the likes of Burt Bacharach, Carly Simon, The Cars and Aerosmith. He went independent in 1980 and started his own label, Alpha-Media Records. The explosion of new wave and synth pop bands offered plenty of opportunity for Garrett to hone his engineering skills, which he did on projects by Til Tuesday, Aztec Camera, New Edition, The Stylistics and New Kids on the Block.
In 1987, Garrett moved to New York, where his streak of major credits continued with Slayer, Hanoi Rocks, the Golden Palominos, Treat Her Right, Cyndi Lauper and Mr. Crowe's Garden, which later became the Black Crowes.
Although his career was successful by any measure, Garrett was restless for a new challenge. He found it in 1991 at Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The person who came up with the original concept for the publishing studio was Patty Devries, an A&R rep at Sony/ATV, recalls Garrett. She had signed four or five bands to publishing deals without record deals, so she needed fully produced demos. Instead of hiring me to produce these bands as an independent, she hired me as an in-house engineer/producer and asked me to put together a studio in the office area. The idea was to bring music back to this end of the publishing business.
In its first incarnation at Sony/ATV's former premises on Fifth Avenue, the studio lived in a file room and was not equipped with the kind of gear that could yield professional results. However, when Sony Music moved its corporate headquarters to 550 Madison Ave. in 1993, the company was able to design a real room, as Garrett puts it.
Although Sony/ATV keeps him busy, Garrett still finds time to pursue his own projects outside the studio. Since 1993, when he scored his first film, Back in the Days, Garrett has worked on music for 17 films and a host of TV programs for Cinemax, Lifetime, American Movie Classics and the Travel Channel.
In 1999, Garrett began a professional association with John Cale, engineering and mixing several albums and film scores for him, including American Psycho. Other recent projects include engineering material by Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes, producing a cartoon show theme and score with The B-52's and producing new records for singer/songwriters Daniel Simonis and Bill Campbell.