A while ago I posted a video where Dave Grohl discussed Foo Fighters decision to record “Wasting Light” in their garage. They also chose not to use computers at all during the recording or mixing process.
Here are some quotes that stood out to me from a great new article on eMusician.com talking about the process and the consequences of that decision:
“If you only have cheap mics and pres on hand, it doesn’t mean you can’t get good sounds,”
“The main rule of thumb is, if it sounds good in the room, there’s a good chance it will sound good recorded.”
“Something happens to the tape, oh well, you have to play it again. God forbid you have to play your song one more time.”
“If you zoom in with Pro Tools and put everything exactly on that microscopic downbeat it’s so perfect that it loses a thickness. If everything is off just a little bit the music just gets wider and thicker.”
“We mixed manually on the API board, with me, James, Alan Moulder and Dave, all eight hands on board, all doing the faders, no automation; we couldn’t even do mutes. So every mix was a performance.”
“You have to be patient and get focused. Sometimes, with the Foos, they rehearsed a lot… You need a band that can play great, and is willing to do that. It’s so easy to manipulate stuff with computers. I don’t know if I will do this in the future. They have to be as good as the Foo Fighters, and play that well.”
(To read the full article, click here.)
That last quote is one of the most interesting, I think. Does it mean no-one should record in this “old-school” way unless they too are as good as the Foo Fighters ?
Regardless of the process they used, the end result of the sound of “Wasting Light” still sounds very slick and clean, to me. I’m not sure I’d have guessed it was recorded 100% analogue in a garage if they hadn’t told us. How about you ?