It’s been quite awhile since we heard from Jeremy Ferguson, aka Battle Tapes, aka one of Nashville’s hardest working recording engineers, studio wizard and extremely active local music champion. If you have even the slightest doubt about any of that praise, I think you’ll be entirely swayed to my way of thinking after you read what he’s been up to for the past six months. You’ll also discover quite a bit of substantial news regarding loads of acts around town and their forthcoming releases. Long story short, it is more than a worthy read..
Since last we spoke (January-ish?), things have been nutso.
In February, I helped Mock Orange mix their new album, Disguised As Ghosts, at Black Bird Studios for a few days. They recorded it themselves in Indiana, where we grew up. It’s a really great record in their tradition of making each record more-so of what the last one was (or completely different). The following week, Slow Claw came into the studio and did about a week of tracking with Joel Dahl co-producing with me, and finishing overdubs and mixing at his studio, the Dahl House. The CD is out now and it’s really cool and kinda reminds me of a band I used to love called Karate. That following weekend started tracking on the Action! album, Friend Weakend. This one had a few weekend tracking sessions with music being tracked almost entirely live, if I remember correctly, and the two of them together in the piano room. I know WOTT has talked up this album a bit, and they should… it’s fantastic. CD is out now, AMAZING sounding vinyl out in November. The next week, I started a new group called The Dead Towns for about a week of tracking. They’re new and not “in” with all the “in” bands but they’re an awesome new group and you should definitely check them out when you can… Really solid, timeless rock music. They’re releasing three 3-song eps of the material. The weekend following THAT (February was kinda busy), I started the second Timbre album, Little Flowers, which went into March. This album had us recording at Battle Tapes as well as the Cathedral on West End for a live song and more 16-18 piece choir (I forget). At Battle Tapes, we did the normal thing for her, which was recording a whole lot of instruments. It’s another really cool album.
The day after we started the Timbre record, Candice got her cancer diagnosis so that hit us pretty hard. I had commitments through March, which had me finishing up the records I started in February and finished with a few days recording some experimental hip-hop with Matt Rowland and some of his friends from Chicago. Most of April and May was spent doing doctor stuff and spending time with Candice and starting to organize some benefits for her with Joel Dahl setting up their Tigerlion CD release show as a benefit, Janet Timmons organizing a show at Exit In that saw the return of Hotpipes with a preview of some of the songs we’ve been working on (more on that later). Ben Todd/PUJOL/Nashville’s Dead set up a third show that I also took Candice’s 388 1/4″ recorder to and documented the show. There are plans to put that up on Nashvilles Dead but I just haven’t found the time yet to finish the mixes and make proper files of everything. The benefits were invaluable to help with both medical bills and morale.
Somewhere in there, we finished the Tristen album, Charlatans At The Garden Gate. After finishing our mix of the album to everyone’s satisfaction, we mastered and then Tristen’s manager got us the opportunity to have Jason Lader (Julian Casablancas, Jacob Dylan) to do a mix in Rick Rubin’s studio on a Neve 8068. Well, obviously those mixes were pretty tough and, with a fresh ear, we decided to let Jason remix the whole album on that desk and it’s amazing. After working on a record for nearly a year and a half (not quite, really, and definitely not every day or even every week or every month a lot of times, as I got busy with other records) and recording 20-something songs, having someone with Jason’s talent and that gear… it was kind of a no brainer. The first fruits of that will show this fall on a 45 and then, around January, the album will be released.
In June, I did a day with Eileen Rose, who does traditional Lower Broad style country music. She and her band played through like 24 songs in something like 9 hours… Crazy stuff. They were like machines, playing take after take of those songs. The days following, I started some ‘try-it-out, let’s-have-fun’ recording with PUJOL. This group of songs that we started on have gone momentarily unfinished as, starting in July, we switched gears to work on his Infinity Cat full-length, X-File On Main Street. Some of these songs will be on 7″s before the LP is released and get ready for some heady shit. The record is super catchy while still being strange as fuck at times. It features Dillion “Angel” Watson and Ben Todd. It’s great, either way, as is most PUJOL. July also brought Nashville’s Superbowl Rocketship into the studio, playing their angular metal. It was probably the heaviest thing I’ve recorded in a while and it was a lot of fun to hear that kind of volume again. Birdcloud came in and we cut a version of their song “More Indianer Than All Y’all” for a video they’re making. LYLAS was back in the studio working more on their new 10″, tentatively titled “Snow Day” (can’t exactly remember when we started it but it was one of the rare snow days in Nashville). Shrieveport, Louisiana’s Electric Dollhouse Groove Buggy came through for a day while out on tour and we cut a whole album of 11 songs in like six hours, with all music cut live and vocals cut in one, or two takes at most. We also picked back up on Hotpipes new record. At best, we work every couple weekends, so sorry that it’s not out sooner but, you know, it takes time. (#it’saprocess). I also started working with Matt Moody on a third A Country Gentleman record, done only on the 388 with all instrument bouncing internally… it’s a lot of fun and similar to how i first made albums on my yamaha cassette 4-track, only with a much better front end. So far, we’ve done like 4 songs through to September. So Jazzy came in to track on their first full-length (due sometime 2011ish on Infinity Cat). They’re good kids and real young and the songs are really cool and could have totally come right out of early 80s post-punk scene.
August had me working a fair amount on a new series of 7″s for Turbo Fruits and their new Turbo Time label. The plan is to release a single every month for a little bit… so far, we’ve got the first four done and it’s another great series of Fruits tunes…. Jonas just keeps writing better and the new rhythm section (formerly of the Tits) are a great fit. We ended up doing unique mixes for the 7″s (mostly mono mixes) and the digital download stuff (all stereo and a lot more slammed from tape).
September has been kind of a mess of work on a number of different projects, finishing some stuff up, doing some random things, and recording PUJOL’s second release for Turbo Time (the first being a record called Alive At The Same Time, which Daniel recorded himself).
During all this, I’ve been going with Candice to Chemotherapy treatments and doctor’s appointments and, as of writing this, her last chemo treatment is tomorrow. She’s doing great and getting healthy and will probably outlive me. The following day, we will be getting on a plane headed for Brussels, Belgium, where I’ve been hired to produce a Belgian band called Lucy Lucy, based at least partially off of the Turbo Fruits Echo Kid album’s favor in their ears. We’ll be there for 6 weeks at Swimming House Studio doing a record that, at least from the demos, should be a lot of fun and really great. It’s also kinda nice to know that I can’t be talked into fitting in another session in an already busy week here in the States til November (not that I’m complaining!…). Hopefully the airline doesn’t lose any of my gear.
I’ve already got some stuff in the books for November and December but I’ll get to that another time.
Also, for any bands wanting to contact me in late September/October/Early November, my phone will be off in Europe most likely so battletapes at gmail dot com is your best bet for setting anything up.