Sunday, July 15, 2012

Van Halen engineer talks about mixing latest album

When Van Halen prepared to create “A Different Kind Of Truth,” their first album with David Lee Roth in 28 years, they surrounded themselves with a new production team.

Grammy-winning producer John Shanks headed up the project, and engineer Ross Hogarth handled the mixing stage.

Hogarth spoke with Guitar World about his role on “A Different Kind Of Truth.”

Van Halen is a very three-dimensional band,” explains Hogarth. “There are incredible dimensions to each and every aspect of the instruments, the people, the dynamics and the history. There are all these dimensions and you have to live inside of them. It’s not a simple task of ‘go mix a record.’”

“Starting with the sonics, Alex loves John Bonham’s drums and wants his to sound like Led Zeppelin, but Led Zeppelin never had the amount of distortion and the amount of size and the guitars that Eddie has, so right off the bat, just getting the guitars to fit into a drum sound that sounds like John Bonham — because we all know that Alex is like the torch that John Bonham left, and there’s an element to Alex that’s like a mixture between Keith Moon, John Bonham and Elvin Jones or some jazz kind of thing. They’re coming from the same place,” Ross continues. “He plays a double-headed, 26-inch kick drum, and that’s a lot of resonance, so how do you get that to speak through heavy guitars but still not sound like heavy metal, where all you hear is the front attack of the beater? When we listen to modern, heavy rock music, kick drums are like the sound of tack-tack-tack, and that’s not Van Halen. So you have to have an articulation in the sound, and that’s a challenge. Anytime there’s a double kick drum, that’s a challenge to get it to speak, and to record it and to mix it. It’s a challenge to record rock guitars, heavy rock guitars, and have low end but not too much low end, and have mid-range. These are always challenges, period, as an engineer, so to get those things captured and have the band’s opinion, when someone specifically says, ‘I want it to sound this way,’ you have to live within the confines of what can and can’t be done. John Bonham’s literal drum sound would never work with Van Halen because of the size of the guitar, the size of the bass, the amount of distortion on the bass. John Paul Jones never had that amount of distortion. So those are interesting challenges.”

There’s lots more – check out the full Ross Hogarth session at Guitar World here.

Van Van Halen

See also:

VIDEO: Van Halen’s David Lee Roth – Love Train
Eddie Van Halen explains origins of A Different Kind Of Truth
Van Halen addresses Super Bowl rumors
VIDEO: Van Halen soundcheck with soundboard audio
Van Halen in talks to tour Australia this fall
RUMOR: David Lee Roth to address Van Halen Super Bowl rumors
Van Halen dates officially cancelled
VIDEO: Van Halen – Watch complete Los Angeles concert
VIDEO: Van Halen talk about the rock lifestyle
VIDEO: Van Halen – Japan tour commercial
Wolfgang Van Halen thanks fans for North American tour
RUMOR: Van Halen to play Super Bowl 47
VIDEO: Van Halen – Watch complete Manchester, NH concert
Family dies in car crash on way to Van Halen concert
VIDEO: Wolfgang and Eddie Van Halen interviewed on CNN
RUMOR: Van Halen – Japanese tour dates
Van Halen to appear on CNN this Friday
Van Halen to tour Japan in November
VIDEO: Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen talk music
AUDIO: Van Halen perform Light Up The Sky at soundcheck
VIDEO: Van Halen play Bottoms Up! for first time in 30 years
Sammy Hagar: Eddie Van Halen owes me an apology