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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Aerosmith: Recording A Concept Album

Joe Bosso from MusicRadar caught up with producer Jack Douglas, engineer Warren Huart to discuss Aerosmith's forthcoming album. Here is a portion where Jack Douglas discusses the sound of the new album and we learn that it's actually a concept album:

When Aerosmith release a new album this year – their first since 2004's "Honkin' On Bobo", and their first collection of fresh material since 2001's "Just Push Play" – longtime fans are hoping that it will mark a return to the mean, raunchy, riff-oriented, blues-rock sound the group mined on the '70s classics Get Your Wings, Toys In The Attic and Rocks.
In that regard, producer Jack Douglas says the upcoming record won't disappoint. He's in a uniquely qualified position to make such a claim: not only is he helming the new set, but he also manned the board for most of the group's best-loved discs. "We're going back to the rawness," says Douglas. "There's something special about the vintage Aerosmith vibe, and that's what we have here."
For Douglas, capturing the group's untamed spirit on tape means just that – using tape. To that end, the veteran producer, whose resume also includes work with John Lennon, Cheap Trick and Patti Smith, is utilizing CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor), a unit which allows him to integrate real two-inch tape technology into a DAW signal and workflow.
Joining Douglas behind the glass is fellow tape and CLASP enthusiast, Warren Huart. Huart serves as engineer on the Aerosmith project, but in recent years he's produced The Fray, James Blunt, Howie Day and Augustana, among others. What's more, he's also the proud owner of Swing House Studios in Hollywood, where the Aerosmith team have called home for the past few months as they lay down vocals and overdubs on one of 2012's most-anticipated releases.
MusicRadar caught up with Douglas and Huart recently to talk about the sonic wonders of CLASP, their approach to working with Aerosmith, the band's indefatigable energy and how the director of Desperado and Spy Kids somehow fits into the picture.
How did you two start working together?
Jack Douglas: "I was working at Swing House on other projects, a few film things, and I did a Michael Monroe record there. I really liked Swing House, and it kind of became my place to park myself on the West Coast. The rooms are comfortable, the equipment is great – I keep a lot of my gear there, actually.
Warren Huart: "Probably 50 percent of the equipment at Swing House is my gear and 50 percent is Jack's. We share a lot of tube equipment. Jack's Pulse Technologies stuff is fantastic – they're replicas of Pultecs."
Douglas: "Warren and I would trade rooms on and off for about two years, and we became friendly. I knew he was knowledgeable and extremely capable. Plus, he's a guitarist, which is good – knowing guitars is very important when it comes to working with a band like Aerosmith. When the new project came up, I gave him a call.
"The person I usually work with on Aerosmith, Jay Messina, he has boundaries – he won't go crazy with his hours. With Aerosmith, you have to be ready to work when they're ready, and on a long-term basis. You can't do five days a week, eight hours a day with these guys. The other night, we were working till one in the morning – that's just what it takes. Warren was up for that, so I brought him out to Boston. The boys liked him, and that was that."

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