Scott Kahn on Working with a Legend

August 1, 2009
How did you end up working with Ron Nevison?

I sent our demo material to a handful of producers we thought had the right musical background to be a good fit with Days Before Tomorrow. Ron had the right history, especially his work with Jefferson Starship before they went pop, and it seemed like our music would really resonate with him. To our pleasant surprise, it did.

What was the most important thing you learned about tracking guitars from him?

Ron’s ideas made an especially great mark on the recording of acoustic guitars, which I had historically approached with a condenser near the soundhole and a good room mic, mixing those with the output from the guitar’s onboard piezo pickup. He said, “I know this may seem a bit unorthodox, but I want you to throw a Shure SM57 on the acoustic guitars.” I never would have thought that a 57 would sound so great on an acoustic, but blended in combination with the other mics, it provided a significant enhancement to the tone. I’ll never record acoustics without it again.

Did Nevison talk about any of the huge bands he’s worked with, like Zeppelin or the Stones?

Ron brought with him an old DAT that he found in storage of rough tracks from the Physical Graffiti sessions. We were sitting there listening to “Kashmir” in a whole new way. It was drums, bass, Robert Plant’s vocals, Jimmy Page’s scratch guitar track, and no keyboards. It was this incredible step back in history, and it sounded like a strong live band with a monster singer just blowing us away with this unbelievably powerful song. Just amazing.

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