The Swimming Pool Q's & Mitch Easter
Founded in Atlanta in 1978, The Swimming Pool Q’swere among the first generation of Georgia’s celebrated New Wave bands that included THE B-52’s, THE BRAINS, PYLON and R.E.M. When original members Jeff Calder and Bob Elsey were joined by Anne Richmond Boston, the initial configuration of the Q's quickly established a reputation for superb musicianship and originality. With a barrage of East Coast and regional dates beginning in 1979 (including the Southern leg of the first major POLICE tour), The Swimming Pool Q's developed the confident live presentation they have maintained into the present era.
In 1980, Easter started the Drive-In Studio, a professional recording studio located in what was originally his parents' garage. One of his earliest recording sessions was the debut single by R.E.M., "Radio Free Europe." Drive-In Studio became an integral part of the local indie-rock scene of Winston-Salem, recording a number of bands at low "knock-down" rates. Easter closed the Drive-In Studio in 1994, and moved from Winston-Salem to Kernersville, North Carolina, where he opened his current recording studio, Fidelitorium Recordings.
In 1981, Easter formed Let's Active with then-girlfriend Faye Hunter and drummer Sara Romweber. Around the same time, Easter worked with R.E.M. to record their debut single, "Radio Free Europe". This initial work led to a number of collaborations with the band, with Easter producing their debut EP and (with Don Dixon) their first two albums. Let's Active toured with R.E.M., which led to a recording contract with I.R.S. Records. Although Let's Active was not commercially successful, Easter's offbeat style of guitar-based pop music, which came to be known as jangle pop, was considered a major influence on groups such as R.E.M.
As a record producer, Easter is probably best known for his work with R.E.M. from 1981 through 1984. Since 1981, Easter has produced, engineered, and often made musical contributions to albums from many other recording artists, including Mary Prankster, Ex Hex, Ben Folds Five, Pylon, Helium, Pavement, Suzanne Vega, Game Theory, The Loud Family, Marshall Crenshaw, The Connells, Velvet Crush, Ken Stringfellow (of The Posies), and Birds of Avalon.