Collective Soul guitarist Joel Kosche [pronounced “ko-shuh”] recently talked to EM about the production of his first solo album, Fight Years (Infinite Repeat Records).
How does Fight Years differ musically from Collective Soul?
Musically, it''s more guitar heavy. I''m a guitar player. No keyboards; it''s all just guitar-driven stuff. And I do all the vocals.
Did you produce it yourself?
Yeah, it''s all self-produced. The majority of it was recorded at my house; my little home studio (see Web Clips 1a and 1b). And if not here, over at [Collective Soul drummer] Ryan Hoyle''s home studio. Some of the drums and a string quartet part were recorded at Real to Reel studios in Jonesboro, Georgia. We did some of the mixing at Tree Studios in Atlanta.
Did you mic amps, use software modeling, or both?
I generally demo using PODs or amp-modeling software because it''s just easier. But then you get demoitis. You know you''re in bad shape when you''re trying to match the sound of your POD setting with your amp [laughs]. Like, “This is wrong, it''s supposed to be the other way around.” In the end, I resisted using modeled tracks. I always set up the amps, and I usually used this amp that I built myself. It''s like a hot-rodded AC30-meets-a-Marshall thing (see Web Clip 2).
How did you mike it?
I started out with the [Shure] SM57/[Sennheiser] 421 classic combination. I remember I did a lot of experimenting with that, and I started chasing my tail after awhile. It got so bad I had to have [engineer] Sean Grove help me. We did a little mic shootout. I had a Heil, I think it was a PR30, and the 421 and the 57, and there might have been another. But after it was all said and done, I was like, “Alright, what''s that combination?” He said, “That''s just the 57.” I said, “Damn it. I''m making this too hard. Let''s just go with it.”
The album has a lot of big distorted rhythm guitars. How many guitars did you usually layer to get that sound?
I usually just double everything. Some of the songs had my amp on both sides with just different guitars. And then about halfway through, I started doing my amp on one side and my Splawn amp on the other side. They just start sounding a little too mono if you don''t mix things up a little bit. Sometimes, when the chorus comes in, I''ll bring in some other guitars.
How do you usually pan them?
I split them hard left and right.
When you double a part, do you try to precisely duplicate the original?
That''s the problem with recording into computers: They make you want to do that. Back when I was recording on tape, I''d double something, and I''d go, “That''s dead on,” but it wasn''t. But you thought it sounded great. Now it''s like, you''re sitting there looking at a computer screen, saying, “Yeah, it''s a little bit behind right there. I''m going to nudge that a little; I don''t want it to flam too much.” Next thing you know, it sounds like one guitar. But anyway, I try to get them tight, but here and there I try to let things slide.
What''s going on with Collective Soul? Are you guys working on a new album now?
We''re sort of in the very preliminary thing. Technically, we have a little time off now, but that doesn''t really stop anyone from writing. I think we''ll probably get down to business in January or February.