Part 1 is available HERE
Part 2 of the Dave Eringa interview. Dave talks about his favourite Studio, Outboard, Plug-ins and what he uses when mixing...
KMR : Where do you mainly record...is it still Rockfield?
DE : Yes, Rockfield is the greatest studio in the world, full stop. I can’t say enough good things about Rockfield from every possible angle, they’re fluky good rooms, but they all sound phenomenal. The mics and the sense of being there for every band is amazing. Kingsley Ward (the owner) should have every award the music industry can give him, he’s kept that place going for over 50 years, it was the world 1st residential studio since 1963!. It’s his genius that keeps that place going, he’s always two years ahead of the shift.
KMR : You get this sense of intrigue and wonder about the place, hearing stories about all the great bands that have recorded there...
DE : Completely, it’s such a buzz driving up there, and without getting too 'wanky' there’s IS something there, you just hear stuff differently and you just relax in a different way. I’ve been going there 23 years now and I just love every brick of it. It’s such a brilliant studio in so many ways, it’s like the ability to do what I did with the Proclaimers, recording piano, drums, acoustic bass and pedal steel all live, all separated and all with line of sight!
KMR : Do you mix there or mainly track?
DE : No, I mix at home. I have mixed at Rockfield. We did the album I was telling you about with the Manics, it was in the Quadrangle on the MCI and it sounded brilliant, it was great. These days the ability to recall a mix 90 times is, unfortunately, essential. It’s just the way it is.
KMR : There are still some great places to record like RAK, British Grove and State Of the Ark, as well as small production rooms - but we've lost a lot of classic studios haven't we?
DE : Yes, which is heartbreaking, we lost Townhouse, Olympic, we used to have Townhouse 3 and I did a bunch of albums there and they were great. I did do The Who at British Grove actually, and when I put up the mics it just sounded brilliant. All the people there are brilliant, they probably have too much gear!.. haha. Sean Genockey and myself were there, as he engineered on that session, and we just had to make decisions. Drums through the 1073, Bass through the Reds and we used 2 channels of the TG and didn’t test anything else. We just knew those were going to work, and the room just sounded great.
There are just fewer places and facilities for the 'band recording way' type of thing these days. We very nearly went to State Of the Ark with The Who and there’s also a place called Fish Factory which I’m hoping to go to soon.
KMR : Are you a fan of plug-ins and is there any software that you couldn’t do without?
DE : Well the UAD-2 is the thing that enables me to work at home, whether or not I could do without it - I’d like to think I could! But UAD-2 was the thing that allowed me to build my mix room, their plug-ins are so good. The Lexicon 224, Neve 33609, Fairchild, the AMS RMX, they just sound jaw-droppingly good.
KMR : I like their different emulations of the 1176’s and LA2’s so to me it's like I’m running multiple hardware versions rather than the same instance all the time...
DE : They’re amazing, I’m not so much of a Luddite now! - But I do believe in analog summing and a good analog compressor on the mix bus chain.
KMR : What’s your mix chain these days and working method?
DE : It's a hybrid system. I send my drums out to a bunch of parallels, it’s a Smart Research, Transient Designer, and then an 1176 and an old CBS Radio compressor then those are summed in a Thermionic Culture Fat Bustard before coming back into Pro Tools. Then the whole mix gets summed through the Dangerous 2Bus with the Dramastic Audio Obsidian.
KMR : The Obsidian is a great compressor isn't it? I remember taking the first one in the UK to Sean Genockey and he didn’t give it back! I think the make-up gain is really special with the transformers.
DE : Yeah, it's just astounding, it's ridiculous, and the high pass filter is just brilliant it’s perfectly tuned. There's a reality thing to the way you hit it. Then I go into the new Thermionic Culture Swift EQ which is astonishingly good before coming out into a pair of Roger Mayer 456's.
There are some UAD plug-ins on the mix, usually the Studer, the Manley Massive Passive, sometimes the Pultec, the Shadow Hills, never doing more than half a dB of compression until the final piece is the ATR-102, which I don’t put on until the end of the mix. I do have to shift the drums the entire system delay but I do the majority of the mix chain stuff from the start as I feel it’s better mixing through it.
The other thing that changed my life recording wise was the Little Labs PCP, as it changed everything about the way I record guitars as all of a sudden I can now have 3 amps in the room, in phase with no fuss at all, that’s brilliant. We were going to get a guy to make something for us, and we were showing off our idea to a TapeOp and he went, "oh you mean the Little Labs"...haha
KMR : Do you re-amp guitars a lot?
DE : Certainly, in the mid-2000’s everyone was wanting to do that and record completely live. We would track with guide guitar sounds but with real performances and then reAMP afterwards. Sometimes entire records with no overdubs, but very intricate guitar sounds that were achieved after the event. It's a very powerful thing.
KMR : What advice would you give to engineers/mixers if they’re trying to make a career these days?
DE : There’s no substitute for just doing it. You’ve just got to do it whether you’re getting paid, unfortunately. These days, you’ve got to work for free, you’ve got to mess up a lot. Every success is built on failure. Like I mentioned before, that first Manic session I turned the tape over, counted the tracks incorrectly and wiped the drum ambience.
KMR : I guess it’s that thing of being able to think on your feet that help makes you as an engineer isn’t it?
DE : The only way that you’ll do that is by things going wrong, so the more sessions you do the more boxes you’ll tick off. The first multi-track edit I ever did was after the tape machine had screwed up the 2inch, at Hook End Manor, we'd just gone 48 at that moment and they’d just done their vocal. The A800 just went mental and ripped the tape. So I had no choice but to copy the first chorus on another 2inch and jam sync the tape, none of which I’d done before and I just had to work it out and learn it on the job.
The only way to learn is to do loads and loads of sessions, and it’s almost better to sometimes start with crap bands as it’s gonna’ happen where the drummer is crap but they have great songs and you need to make it work. In the beginning, just say yes to everything and say goodbye to social life!
KMR : Do you find a balance now with your social and family life?
DE : Yes, the biggest art of the balance is the mix room at home, that changed everything. This has enabled me to see my family and work at the same time, in a separate building and a place of work but I can come in and have a relatively normal life. That's the closest thing I’ve got to balance. I mean it is it an odd job, isn’t it?..as you know when you’re recording you're working 14hr days.
KMR : What or who inspires you?
DE : I meditate, I've been doing that for over 20 years, and just to take 20 minutes to switch off a couple of times a day is great. Books and Films inspire me, physics inspires me, Star Wars inspires me!
Production-wise I do like Albini, I love Rich Costey's mixing, Andy Wallace, Glyn Johns, George Martin, Flood…all those people have inspired me in certain ways, I definitely spent a few years trying to emulate Albini though...haha
KMR : Good to take inspiration from, but still do your own thing?
DE : Exactly, I tried and then did it in my own way and really it's still the bands and the players. I've had this ridiculous privilege to record James Dean Bradfield and Pete Townsend and when those guys are in full flight, is there a better job in the world? There can't be!
That's when you're really inspired, you set the scene and people are comfortable and they just do their thing that makes you love them, that's just amazing. Those bands come along so rarely, and what a gift it is to us -because they know what they want to sound like. They just might not have the technical knowledge to say it. When we did ' Tolerate ' James said he wanted it to sound like a comet going through the sky.
KMR : Then you're interpreting their vision?
DE : Yeah, but you're still really pulling it out of their head, sometimes you have to give bands something, but I found the records that really resonate are those that come straight out of the artists mind.
KMR : I guess it's finding those kinds of artists, not saying they're not out there - but the opportunities are different these days...
DE : Absolutely, and unfortunately, and this is the 'Grandad Statement', kids aren't going to be as obsessed sitting in their bedroom playing the guitar and writing songs as they were in the '70s and '80s because there was fuck all to do!
No one had any money, there was nothing on TV as we only had 3 channels, hardly any Films, and Films cost money, there were all these great bands from the North because the weather was shit! - so what were you going to do?
KMR : I bought a second-hand guitar, and a Boss OD-1...
DE : Exactly, these days you can have a noodle on the guitar, play video games, go online etc but never be that obsessed to be those type of guitar players. The passion for music from the consumer has obviously changed as well, it sounds so cheesy and old but we used to go out and buy 4 albums with your mates, and then go round and listen to them all with each other from start to finish.
KMR : And admire the artwork, and read the notes...
DE : And talk about the lyrics, reading and seeing all these names and where it was recorded. The Manics said to me recently that maybe Rock n' Roll was a small blip in time. I do think there is still a hunger for it and if you put something out there that people really love, look at Adele she sold 30 million records because people connected with her. It's just different these days.
KMR : What are you most proud of?
DE : I am going to say 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next' by the Manic Street Preachers because it was a record about the Spanish Civil War and went to number one. Certainly, this song definitely changed everything for me and was from the album This is My Truth Tell Me Yours.
Your studio is burning down, what 3 things would you save ?
1. Roger 456 box
2. 1959 Les Paul Special
3. Korg Ms20 as I used this on 'Tolerate'
Thanks for the chat Dave!
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