Originally Posted by LinusWendel
Thanks for the descriptive answers Eric! Love that you talk about your work in detail and share with us, it truly means a lot.
Did you use some cool pedals you want to shed a light on?
(Off topic: But the guitar tone in 1996 by The Wombats that comes in around 3.06 is truly amazing. I'd like to know everything about how you captured that tone from guitar to amp to micing.)
I'd like to ask a few non gear related questions that revolve around your role as a producer.
I've read in an interview with Fred that the goal with Louder Now was to make a 500.000 selling record. How much was that pressure from the label vs the band? How had this changed to this time around. I like both albums but Louder Now has a more instant mainstream appeal while the selftitled one took me a few more listens to win me over and it's now on repeat. I guess what I'm asking is: What was your goal and vision to bring out of the band contra the last time you worked with them. What was their goal? How has the band and chemistry changed?
"This modern glitch" with The Wombats was produced by you, Jacknife Lee, Rich Costly and Butch Walker. When working on an album with several producers how do you approach that task? Do you speak to the other producers? Or do you let the band do their thing? The album is really solid and I think it flows really well, given so many people has been involved. That's why I'm asking.
Thanks for answering our questions!
Keep up the amazing work!
There are some new pedals I have been enjoying. I really like the Way Huge 'Pork Loin' and 'Angry Troll'. they are more subtle gain enhancers instead of full distortion or fuzz. I have also been EQing the DI signal in Pro Tools. I used to use a Boss Parametric EQ pedal but the computer has been achieving the same effect with less noise.
The pressure to sell records I think comes from both. Certainly Warner Brothers is in the business of selling lots of records… as many records as humanly possible and even the hippest of hipster bands wants to sell a lot of records deep down inside. They just want to do it without feeling like they had to accommodate conventions in popular music. On the early TBS records I think they were more like young vikings setting out to conqeur the world with lots of screaming and loud guitars. Now they have matured and have families and adult responsibilities… Still lots of screaming and loud guitars but It wouldn't make sense for them to approach their lives or careers with the same kind of recklessness they did when they were teenagers. There was some discussion of the importance of having a successful record/tour cycle, but not in the wanting to be a rich famous rock star driving a ferrari context, more in the I want to be able to provide for my family context. This time around there was a sense that the band had lost some momentum on the previous album commercially and they wanted to get some of that momentum back. I think they felt it was important for the bands future with Warners. If one signs their band to a major label like Warner Brothers Records you are definitely expected to sell lots of records. If you don't, the results are kind of obvious… you won't be on Warner Brothers Records anymore. That is a strong motivator.
I think the difference between the 2 records is more a reflection of the difference of the line ups. On Louder Now I would say Fred in general contributed the most to the song writing. the difference you here in the writing is probably mostly due to his absence. I think both records have their strengths. Louder Now's high points are really really great and I think the new one is just very strong throughout. I think the new one is the strongest collection of songs the band has put on one record.
The big difference with the band this time around is how well the band members were all getting a long. On Louder now there was some serious tension between Fred/Mark and Fred/Ed. This time everyone was genuinely excited to be playing music together, hanging together and contributing to the music. I think all the members felt much more comfortable throwing out ideas, contributing and having the song really be the result of their collective tastes, styles, instincts etc. I think this version of the band has some very real chemistry that allows the individual members to just play what they feel and things tend to just fall in to place. This time I wanted the record to reflect that more directly. Focus more on the songs themselves and less on dressing them up. Let the arrangements be more literal ala John playing guitar on one side, Ed playing guitar on the other side, Mark beating the crap out of his drums in the middle, a solid bass line that supports the song and 2 guys screaming their brains out on top. We did indulge some extra stuff when the song was really asking for it.
My experience with multi producer records is that typically the different producers don't communicate with each other throughout the process. On the wombats project there were only 2 occasions where I was in contact with the guys. On the song '1996' The band and I had completely racked our brains trying to come up with ideas to improve the chorus in a way that would satisfy the very hands on A&R guy on the project. he felt the chorus could be better and I think we just couldn't see past the original vision for the part. They were also working on some songs with Butch Walker and decided to see if he could come up with some ideas to help solve the puzzle. I think they were all hesitant to ask for a copy of the session for them to work on with Butch because some folks can be very territorial about there stuff. I honestly have no problem collaborating with other people and am always up for an opportunity to make things better weather I have the answer or not. At the end of the day, I really don't have the right to tell the band and the label what they can and can't do with the their song that they are paying for. Any objections would only come across as being an insecure, problematic pain in the ass. When I am involved with a project I always want the experience to be easier, more enjoyable, better results, less drama and NOT more problems, more complicated, more drama etc. It can be hard to maintain when a group of very passionate people are trying to collaborate but I think it is exceedingly important to always strive for that when considering the long term health of one's career. Butch and I had a moment to speak after they sent back the session with the new lyric and melody on the chorus. I told him how much I liked the new chorus and how much I appreciated him helping take the song to a new level. There was also an idea to change the arrangement of the bridge that I felt really wasn't working. I strongly suggested that the original arrangement really felt like it flowed much better. After everyone had a chance to hear it both ways and compare, they agreed and we stuck closer to the original approach. If they all still really liked the new bridge approach after comparing them, I absolutely would have done it that way. I only make suggestions and let the chips fall where they may… I never tell bands they have to do something or not on their music.