Los Angeles, CA (September 20, 2017)—Foo Fighters’ latest album, Concrete and Gold, hit the street last Friday to acclaim from fans and critics. While the group’s last two albums found it recording each track in a different city, or in Dave Grohl’s garage, the new album was done the old-fashioned way: by heading to an L.A. studio and getting on with it. Helping make that happen were producer Greg Kurstin and engineer Darrell Thorp, working at EastWest Studios in Los Angeles; aiding in the effort were in numerous guest musicians, including the likes of Justin Timberlake, Dave Koz and Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman (not to mention a little-known drummer named Paul McCartney).
“We had a massive setup for recording the band,” recalled Thorp, a seven-time Grammy Award-winning producer, mixer and engineer. “Part of the challenge was we had four drum kits set up at once, a bass station, vocals, keys with two keyboards and pianos, and over 20 guitar amps, some in the live room and some in Iso-booths. I was using a lot of Lauten Audio mics.” Some of those included the Atlantis, Eden, Clarion and the new Series Black LA-120, LA-220, and LA-320.
With guest background vocalists like Timberlake onhand, “For a sonic clarity difference, I was having all the background vocals recorded on the Lauten Audio Eden mic,” said Thorp. “It’s a bit of a sweeter sounding mic, and I was using the ‘Forward’ switch so they would always sound breathy, and open and airy, around the lead vocal.”
Guitar sounds are always key to a Foo Fighters album, even on songs that don’t bring the rock. Thorp explained, “On the song ‘Happy Ever After,’ which is the quietist, most acoustic track on the record, Dave Grohl was playing this Harmony solid body acoustic guitar, which is super quiet but it has a ‘sound,’ so I grabbed a Lauten Audio Atlantis mic and switched on the +10 dB gain switch. I was barely rocking my mic pre, so I had plenty of level to Pro Tools and I was able to get a really good guitar sound. I was also using the Atlantis and LA-320 on guitar amps a lot; sometimes the LA-320 was on room guitar amps as well at about 15 to 20 feet from where the amps would sit in Studio One at EastWest; the room is huge and sounds amazing.”
The Series Black LA-220 mics were used for some of the main tom mics, said Thorp, noting, “They were amazing, they worked so well. I used the LA-220s on the Gretsch ‘George Lake’ kit with a 13-inch rack tom and a 16-inch floor tom.”