In the Studio: Liam Hayes with Nathan Cook

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Artist/songwriter Liam Haye s made his latest record, Slurrup—a terrific fusion of ’60s punk and psychedelia—with engineer/producer Nathan Cook in Minbal Studio in Chicago. On Slurrup, Hayes is supported by Cook’s friend drummer Eric Colin Reidelberger, who in turn brought bass player John San Juan to join the project. “We spent three months working on pre-production and rehearsing the songs that Liam had written,” Cook recalls. “As we worked on developing the music, the feeling of what the album might actually be began to emerge.”

Hayes (left) and producer/engineer Nathan Cook All analog and all original, the album was tracked to Cook’s 1965 Scully 280 and ’70s Otari MX7800 1-inch, 8-track machines. “Then I did a tape transfer of the basic band tracks to my Studer A800 24-track 2-inch so that Liam had more tracks for overdubbing and layering elements against the band tracks,” explains Cook, who also mixed the album on the studio’s 1970s Quad 8 Ventura console.

Those layers included multiple guitar and keyboard parts, performed on vintage instruments that perfectly fit the feel of the songs: “Guitars and keyboards were amplified and miked with an SM57 and a Coles 4033, which were blended to one track on tape,” Cook says. “The guitars were a sanded-down Telecaster and a ’60s Vox Tempest 12-string electric going into a 1963 Fender Tremolux, ’60s Fender Vibroverb, Hiwatt 50 combo, or a Leslie. The keyboards were a Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes, and Farfisa compact.”

Hayes’ voice also has a natural ’60s vintage quality. Cook says he captured vocals with an original Telefunken U67 and “a cheap Oktava MK 012. Vocals went from the Quad 8 preamps into an LA2A to tape. I also used an SPL Transient Designer, Manley ELOP, tape delays, and an EMT 140 plate reverb. During mixing, elements were re-amped through ’70s effects boxes. I constructed tape loops for ‘Channel 44’ and ‘Theme from Mindball.’ The only plug-ins we used were Glade plug-ins, to sweeten the smell of the studio.”