That Rock Guy has been busy over the last few months. His debut album 'Nothin' To Lose' is being mixed at Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands, we caught up with him to ask how it all went down.
There are a lot of mix engineers in today's market, so what drove the decision to mix with Erik Wiss?
Well, I'd spoken to the label about the mix and we'd looked at a few different options. They wanted to go with Erik Mårtensson from the hard rock band 'Eclipse', and Chris Laney in Sweden was also an option. We also looked at Alessandro del Vecchio in Italy who had just finished the new 'Lionville' record which is just a great piece of work. To be honest I wold have been honored to work with any of those guys. I'm a huge 'Eclipse' fan, and Chris Laney has done some massively great records. At the end of the day, I'd cut the first demos with Erik Wiss and he mixed them at WMP in Sweden and I was blown away with his mixes. Those first two demos were the ones that landed me the record deal. Erik had just finished up with the new Creye record and we had a chat. He really has a golden set of ears and we just seemed to be on the same vibe the whole time. The workflow seems to click between us, and he understands where I'm coming from musically. When the schedules lined up, I jumped on it.
And the mix was done at Wisseloord Studios which is known as a hard rock Mecca to most within the industry. How did that work out?
When the chance arrived I couldn't pass it up. I mean Erik Wiss doing the album at Wisseloord? It doesn't get much cooler than that for your first album! (laughs). I knew the history of the studio, I knew the amazing bands that had worked and recorded albums there, like Def Leppard, David Lee Roth, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Queensryche, Rammstein, The Scorpions, Sting, U2 ... the list goes on and on. Multiple platinum selling artists and a lot of them are albums that I grew up with. To mix in that environment and work with someone with that caliber, I couldn't wait.
Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands
How long was the entire process at Wisseloord?
Well, (laughs) I'd like to say it was quick, but the truth is we started in late February and finished up in mid-April about 7 weeks later. I'm not sure if the record company is going to get their advance back after that! (laughs) Nevermind. Def Leppard took 3 years to do the Hysteria album, so I think that record is safe. Maybe we'll break it with the next album. The studio itself is incredible and Erik's done a fantastic job as always.
The were rumors that some of the tracking was done while you were still out on tour. Is that true?
Indeed it is! (laughs) We'd just come through the Middle East when the deal was signed and some of the guitars were tracked over there. I think 'Through The Night' was done in Qatar or somewhere. At the end of that tour we had a week or two in Europe, so I was able to track some vocals back at Starship Studios in Germany. After that we began the Japan tour so a real lot of guitars were tracked out on the road. I remember after one gig we were staying at the Hilton and we had to hammer out one particularly long session at Studio 1206 in Osaka that lasted a few days. But hey, it's rock and roll. Who needs sleep, right?
Tracking drums at Starship Studios in Germany
You invited some other musicians to guest on this album. Can you give us some details on who else played on the album?
Well, first and foremost I've got to give kudos to Marcin Palider. He played every single bass track on the album and he just nailed it. I would send him my bass lines and he'd replicate them precisely and then add his own embellishments which took the bass lines to a whole new level. He's really a virtuoso player so I can't wait to get him out on tour so you can all see what I'm talking about. Just phenomenal. He was tracking in a studio in Poland while I was tracking in Japan. Thank God we live in an internet age where that's possible. Paul Kaiser from 'Kaiser and the Machines of Creation' laid down a brilliant guest solo in 'Your Dreams' where we duel back and forth which was just great. Alex Cozzoli played a really beautiful acoustic guitar part on 'Without You' which he co-wrote about what seems to be 20 years ago (laughs). He tracked that in Australia. Some people might not be aware of this, but Erik Wiss is actually an amazing talent on keys and he laid down some great Jon Lord style Hammond B3 lines in 'Can't Get Enough' and also some additional rhythm guitar in 'Without You' from memory. Apart from that, all the drums, guitars, keys and vocals are all me. That should make for an interesting live show! (laughs)
That Rock Guy's debut album 'Nothin' To Lose' is due to be released worldwide on the AOR Heaven label and on Avalon/Marquee label in Japan in June 2017.
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