Joe Barresi is the sonic mastermind behind some of the most rocking records of the past two decades. He’s produced records by the Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, and Tool, among others. What makes his records stand out is the crushing wall of sound he gets which is perfect for rock records. Barresi is particularly known for his guitar sounds.
It’s worth mentioning how he got to the top of his game. For Joe, there is no substitute for getting the right sound at the source, choosing the right microphone, and placing it correctly. That is the core of his approach and will never be eclipsed by changing technology.
He also brings a massive collection of gear, including an assortment of amps, pedals, and microphones to achieve incredible sounds. The take home lesson is to focus on sounds and microphones. If you nail it at the source, you’re halfway there when it comes to mixing.
This Sound on Sound interview talks about one session in particular, for Lullabies to Paralyze by Queens of the Stone Age. But that doesn’t mean this is specialized information. Take this, for example:
For each track the group and Barresi would experiment until they were happy with a combination of certain instruments, amplifiers, pedals, microphones, and their placements. Then, says Barresi, “We went for it and tracked the song. We cut drums, bass, and two guitars completely live on all the songs.”
How simple is that? You wouldn’t have to put a gun to my head to play around with sounds before I record a band live. To me, that is really one of the magic components of recording and I have a difficult time understanding why someone would skip this step of the process.
In this column, we look at some of the best producers in the game right now and the selection process is entirely based on what we like. If you think we’re missing the boat, shoot us a message and we’ll take a look at one of your favorites.