RECORDING ILLEGAL TENDER - EMusician

RECORDING ILLEGAL TENDER

I recorded “Finding Out True Love is Blind” in a little office that I had that was basically my studio. I had a room where I would go and record. I’m not a fan of control rooms; I lost interest in them a long time ago out of necessity.
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Because when you sit there and you have to record… We have a bigger place now though—an old church—and it’s sometimes a bit of a nuisance. It’s too big of a room and I’m trying to deaden it. I learned that I prefer dead rooms. I like little rooms with a little character. But in this particular place, I had my shit all over the place and I’m quite a bit of a mess when I’m working. I have all these amps and a number of guitars… It’s just one room. People always ask me how I recorded the drums in such a tiny room. Well, to me, I want to hear what the snare sounds like in the room so I know if I’m getting the right sound. There’s something nice about being right next to the tape machine, too. You don’t have to have an engineer around. I actually kind of miss the small room now that we’ve moved into the bigger space. I’m trying to figure out how to get back to it.

But “Finding Out” was done onto a 16-track, 2" tape machine, and then moved to Pro Tools where I did all kinds of other stuff. A lot of times I’ll just stay on the 16-track. I used to be an incredible tape snob so I have all sorts of tape machines lying around. Until I got Pro Tools with this 96kHz stuff, and I realized you could do slapback delays and all sorts of other things. But I don’t use plug-ins. You’ll never find AutoTune on any of my recordings. I despise it. I think it’s what ruins everybody’s recordings. They destroy them with plug-ins. All of a sudden you’re digitizing everything in a really bad way. I approach Pro Tools just like it’s a tape machine, except you can do some interesting things with it. Everything you hear on the radio sounds exactly the same because everybody is using the same shit, the same tricks, and the same this and the same that. It drives me crazy. So many people go for these tones with these guitar amps that have a thousand knobs, and they just sound bad! They think that if they go through a million pedals it’s suddenly going to sound good. Give me some P-90 pickups any day. It’s not hard to get good tone. It’s just that most people, for some reason, don’t have any sense of it!

But it all comes down to taste. That’s the thing (with all recording:) Certainly a huge amount of it comes down to knowledge, and I’m not going to downplay anything I’ve learned over the years…. But it all comes down to taste.