You've been an engineer, a mixer, a producer... how did all this begin ?
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.