We sent field correspondent, Plez Jay, out to catch up with record producer, Skud Harris, & briefly talk production techniques employed during The Humms’ recording sessions for Pelzer Fuck Club.
PJ: You keep odd hours.
SH: Yeah, I don’t think the band (Humms) were too excited about early morning sessions at first.
PJ: Well, the proof is in the pudding, yes?
*long pause, as Harris searches his pockets for a cigar lighter.
SH: Everyone’s got appearances to keep up. You’ve got to tend to the garden or shovel the walk. Do you understand what I’m saying?
PJ: I think so.
PJ: How did Bleech (John Bleech, drummer) & yourself approach recording drums on this record?
SH: I had to sneak up on him (Bleech).
SH: On the song Singing Pines for example, he wasn’t even aware that we were rolling. I’m not sure any of them (Humms) were.
PJ: Tell me about the microphones.
SH: I’m horrible with names & numbers. I left a lot of that to them.
SH: They know what they like to use & usually have it set up already. I remember the broadcast mic (Electro-Voice RE20) hanging around a lot for vocals, guitar/bass cab & kick.
SH: I did like the Audix i5 & used it quite a bit, actually.
SH: And that was running into an SSL channel.
PJ: What did you find yourself using it on?
SH: Everything! Literally. One song on PFC was entirely recorded with i5 microphones.
PJ: Which one?
SH: I’ll never tell you.
*Harris fills the small interview area with a cloud of cigar smoke as he erupts into laughter.
PJ: Could you elaborate on the guitar sounds? specifically the distortions on PFC?
SH: There were different devices that we used. A Viking preamp ripped from an old reel-to-reel machine, blasting the input stage of the SSL directly was a favorite & I had to keep them from over-using it.
PJ: What does a record producer do, in your mind?
SH: I help artists paint themselves out of a corner.
PJ: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Skud.
Harris stabs out his cigar with one hand, reaching into his jacket pocket with the other, offering up a surprise, in true “more-than-you-can-chew” fashion.
Unfolding the faded, yellow slip of paper, he admits:
“This is one of my little lists of Life-Savers”
“Things that help counter down the time between any unforeseen issues that may crop up during a recording session, but use at your own risk.”
Steel Spring Clamps
For those times when you needed three hands & you’ve used up all your tape on the drummer’s mouth.
Several applications. Aided by the previously mentioned spring clamps. Take a couple mic stands & make your own safe space.
This can be as simple as bringing an extra pair of socks. Don’t come at me wearing flip flops in February.
This will fix everything from noisy door hinges, to stubborn band van lug nuts. Spray away from any microphone grills. Better yet, cover those grills. Just go outside.
This handy device streamlines the trouble-shooting process, & some offer a variety of tools for testing, like a Tone-Generator (Behringer CT100).
Go ahead & remove any old batteries in gear that isn’t going to be cycled on for a while. Clean up old battery acid once, & it gets easier to remember these simple things.
Mini-screw driver set
You may need to open compartments that use super tiny fixtures and no one needs a stripped screw.
These have gotten me out of a jam more times than I can count.
Some bulbs can effect certain people & remember, not every one likes lava lamps.
They come in handy, in more ways than one.
The Humms, Pelzer Fuck Club (produced by Harris) is available now from Gypsy Farm Records on vinyl, cassette, & where all fine music is streamed.