Ryan Walter Wagner A cursory look at Vancouver's Black Mountain would have you…
- Posted on Sep 3rd 2010 3:30PM by Jenny Charlesworth
The usual players are still involved, of course -- vocalist Amber Webber continues to delight with her trembling wail and Jeremy Schmidt is once again coaxing vintage laser-like sounds from his keyboards. But things are very different behind the scenes. For the first time, the band brought in outside producers to work on their record -- namely, Dave Sardy (Oasis, Band of Horses) and Randall Dunn (Sunn O)))).
"When we're working we get deep into our own bubble world, and it becomes really hard to hear things outside the box," Webber tells Spinner. "That's exactly what a producer does, though, he's sort of like the ears that you need, so we wanted to see what it could be like.
"We wanted to see how a producer could turn our record into something that amazes us."
Summoning the faith to hand over the reins was a gradual process, though, according to the Vancouver-based singer. First, the quartet had to wrap their mind around letting someone from outside their ranks mix their last disc, 2008's 'In the Future.'
"It was really weird for us," Webber admits. "We had no idea what we were getting into and felt like it was a huge risk, like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe we're letting someone else mix our music.' It turned out awesome, though... which inspired us to go one step further [this time]."
With two men on the job -- Sardy kicked things off with the band at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles before they headed up to Seattle to work with Dunn at London Bridge Studio -- Black Mountain wound up with a head-turning effort that puts their calling card stoner jams on the back burner in order to showcase a much poppier vibe.
Webber credits both Sardy and Dunn for helping to shape the band's classic rock-indebted aesthetic. But while she's pleased with how the album turned out, she notes that working with producers isn't always a walk in the park for the ego.
"It was tough at times," she says. "They'll tell you exactly what they think of something, and you're like, 'You can't not like this part! It's like my baby.' Other than that, I think it was a really good experience for us."