My Time with Stone Sour on Audio Secrecy

It all began with a call from Nick Raskulinecz that set the stage for an unforgettable journey into the heart of music-making. “Hey,” he said, “we’re going to do a new Stone Sour record at Blackbird Studios in Nashville.” The excitement in his voice was evident, and I knew I was about to embark on something special.

Nick was already knee-deep in pre-production with the band when I joined the fray. The decision to rent a sprawling house in Heritage near Mt Juliet for our rehearsal space was a smart move. It provided the perfect backdrop for the band to dive deep into their music, allowing them to explore every nook and cranny of their song ideas. The band and Nick were compiling more options for the label, ensuring they had a solid foundation to build upon.

This would be my first time recording at Blackbird, and Blackbird Studios was a haven for music enthusiasts, thanks to owner John McBride’s impressive collection of vintage gear. Nick and I were like kids in a candy store, raiding the gear locker for treasures like the Neve Racks of 1073’s, Vintage API, Helios, and even my first encounter with the Shadow Hills mic pres. It was a playground of sonic possibilities, and we were determined to make the most of it. Nick was adamant about having U67s on all of Roy Mayorga’s toms!

Our setup in Studio D was nothing short of epic, boasting the largest API Legacy built with a whopping 96 channels. As the band loaded in, we dove headfirst into the intricacies of our setup, ensuring every piece of equipment was in perfect working order.

Taking the luxury of time, we meticulously listened to and experimented with every microphone and preamp combination available. This allowed us to finely tune the guitar and bass sounds in collaboration with Jim Root, Josh Rand, and Shawn Economaki. Each day was a testament to our dedication, filled with long hours of hard work. But more importantly, it was an invaluable opportunity to not only explore all the sonic possibilities but also to deepen our understanding of each band member’s preferences and style.

One moment that stands out vividly in my memory is when Roy Mayorga was tracking drums. In the midst of a particularly intense take, his drumstick slipped from his hand and ended up lodged in the grooves of the room treatment, all the way across from his drum set. We couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the absurdity of it all. We took it as a sign of good fortune and left the stick in place for the rest of the recording, a quirky reminder of the magic that happens when creativity and spontaneity collide.

Amidst the whirlwind of recording sessions, troubleshooting, and late-night backups, I found a true companion in Nathan Yarborough, our dependable assistant. His steadfast support and camaraderie added an extra layer of warmth to our journey. Additionally, a standout presence was Jim Root’s guitar tech, Martin Conner, whose mastery in keeping all guitars in perfect intonation, tuning guitars or basses, and occasional comic relief, made a significant difference.

Working with Stone Sour on “Audio Secrecy” was more than just a job – it was a labor of love, a reuniting with touring mates, and a testament to the power of music to inspire.

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