Section TOOL


You've been an engineer, a mixer, a producer... how did all this begin ?
I moved to California and started working in studios, and worked my way up the ladder... first as an assistant, then engineer, etc. Sort of the normal way one does in this business.

Are there specific moments in your career that you consider maybe as "transition periods" ?
Yes ; when I stopped engineering for other people and concentrated only on productions and mixing.

How did it happen you worked on 10,000 Days ? What were your expectations before beginning ?
I was recommended by Buzz [Osborne] of the Melvins, and went to meet the band and see what they wanted to do differently... I didn't have any expectations, it was just another meeting with a band to me, and I thought they'd be looking at many people, but I guess I was it. I liked their music, but didn't think they'd want to work with me since my style is so different. I'm glad they chose me, because they're great people and I enjoyed working with them.

The musicians of Tool are very well-known for their taste to experiment, and so are you. What did you suggest in particular, and what were their reception ?
Things such as how to capture the sounds they were after, and making the general process of recording easier... I brought in many pieces of gear and encouraged them to try different things, and they were receptive.

And what about their perfectionism ? Was it a problem sometimes ?
One must realize that it's not my record but the artist's record, so if it takes longer, or if someone wants to spend some extra time on a part, then so be it... Better to be a perfectionist than one who doesn't care or has no desire to better themselves.


You're said to be more focused on guitars, and first Danny Carey was even a little worried (tough he told he got the best sound with you). How did you manage with all his acoustic and electronic percussions ?
It was a challenge, but a great drum room, great drum techs and drums, and some time to experiment... That and a great drummer made life easy for me. He makes the drums sound good, so it wasn't hard to capture his power and intensity.

What's the difference between this work and the past albums of Tool ? What's your opinion about what Sylvia Massy - who you worked with - and David Bottrill did before ?
They both did excellent jobs with the band ; I personally wanted to make "Stinkfist" part two, and bring in some of the dirty vibe of Undertow... sort of a hybrid of the past records... that's why we went back to Grandmaster (where they did the first two records)... to bring back those memories.

You wanted an "Undertow on steroids", but Tool called it their "blues album". Now, how would you describe the results with a backward step ?
The blues came from "The Pot", I guess. To me, it's their most complete work. All the songs seemed to fit together, and they were so well rehearsed that the only challenge was to make the recording rock as much as they did live. I think we achieved that. This was also a personal album, and it was great to help each member achieve what they wanted to do with their parts and performance, sounds, etc.

Pictures of Buzz Osborne, Josh Homme, Aaron Harris, etc., with Tool and you were posted on the net ; can we consider there a kind of artistic family away from the musical business ?
L.A. is a small town when it comes to music, and it's good to see people supporting each other.

You worked with many great bands, like the Melvins, Kyuss then Queens of the Stone Age, Isis, etc. Which projects among all did you prefer ? On the contrary, did you have any regrets ?
I only try to work on records with people and bands I like, so they are all cherished and memorable. I only have a few regrets, and those will remain nameless...

Do you have some examples of good and bad times that leave their marks on you ?
There are fond memories on every record... When you are in a room for 12 hours with someone for weeks on end, then you develop a routine and friendship, and when the record is over and everyone is gone, it's like a depression. There are way too many examples of the good times... and very few bad.

Finally, can you speak about your "Evil Drums" ?
Evil Drums is a sample library for programmable drum software products like BFD and Superior Drummer. I recorded the kits at two of my favorite studios, and they were made available for people who own that software to purchase as an expansion pack. They can get the sounds I recorded, and program them to sound like a real drum performance.