*Archived*
= Show Us Your! Ep. 23 - Steve Albini (discussion of punk and recording tech!) =

Earth Quaker Devices just released another episode of Show Us Your! featuring Steve Albini and it has so many gems. I highly recommend the whole episode but, among many quotables, I found this passage really intriguing:
when the punk scene was in full flight, a lot of the bands wanted to be rather brutal. Like they wanted their music to beand confrontational and in more than one way unflattering, right. But the studio experience of that era, the late 70's early 80's, the studio experience was very sanitized. So when a band would take their rough,crude music into the studio, the studio engineer, with the best intentions, would try to smooth things out. Would try to make things sound more coherent, more conventional, more palatable to him. And in the process those people did a lot of damage to some of my favorite bands."
He goes on to say that his impulse now is not to change things but rather to be accurate in recording what a band is doing. Earlier in the video aof physical construction aspects are demonstrated in how his studios are designed. And I guess what really gets me is how interesting it is that "crude" music nearly requires "sophisticated" environments to be best portrayed

What else stands out in this video to all you keen eared folks out there? Are there any really great examples of a band where the producer clearly fought to make the band palatable? It is really nice to have a video so inside of Albini's mind

This passage of it all makes the podcast sound very interesting

I remember reading that Television, probably in PleaseMe, hired a guy who worked with the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin, and that what he did was tune the drums to sound like Jon Bonham, to which the band immediately wanted to change back to their "flat" sound. They then just had the guy sit in the recording studio and do not very much, in Tom Verlaine's own words. Of course, Marquee Moon is an absolute classic so maybe the band was on to something

Been a while since I listened to
*Marquee Moon*, thanks for the excuse! Thinking on it now it would be awfully hard to produce, especially in the context of the period

The whole Show Us Your! series is littered with interesting insights and stories from different musicians and producers, the one with Lee Ranaldo is pretty compelling!

I love this series. I thought Steve came across as extremely humble and relateable in this ep. He is a musical idol of mine and its great to know that he is also a good dude

I thought his closing comments were very insightful to his whole approach to recording

I'm probably paraphrasing slighlty by transcribing it -
"If your songs are great, thats on you. If you make people cry with your guitar solo, thats you, thats not me. The only thing that I canup is make it so that eventually dissapears and people cant hear it. And thats the thing that weighs on me, thats the tragedy that I cannot allow."
Edit: In answer to your question - "Are there any really great examples of a band where the producer clearly fought to make the band palatable?"
Yes! Nevermind. The way Andy Wallace mixed the final version fundamentally changed the sound, in my opinion. There is another great Steve Albini interview where he goes over this, but if you want to hear the original Butch Vig mixes they are on the super deluxe version on Spotify, referred to as the Devonshire Mixes. I think they rip 10 times harder. Here is In Bloom

He is a great guy, really knows his stuff. Such attention to detail too, having one expensive microphone, just in case it might possibly be needed in a genre he doesn't even necessarily
*like* - respect that

I know what he means about the bands from the punk and hardcore era really being sanitised by the recording process as it was then. Clearly motivated him to do what he is doing now

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