Jahr 2002




Moulder at Apple 

Sound Moulder

By Stephanie Jorgl


Folgender Artikel wurde auf der offiziellen Seite von "Apple" veröffentlicht. Iim Grunde sehr interessant, weil man viel über Alan's Arbeit erfährt und welche Geräte er benutzt. Natürlich ist viel Werbung für Apple dabei, aber interessant ist der Artikel auf alle Fälle. Leider habe ich ihn nur auf Englisch vorlliegen.

Quelle, so lange es noch online ist: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/articles/2002/03/alanmoulder/

“Before working with a band, I’ll usually listen to the demo and then discuss with them what elements we like and which ones we’d want to change,” explains Alan Moulder, the twice Grammy-nominated producer/engineer behind moody alternative music masterpieces from artists like Jesus & Mary Chain (JAMC) and My Bloody Valentine, to Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins.

“Then in the studio, we’ll build up the song, starting with the rhythm section and adding instrumentation until we’re happy with it,” he adds. “The use of computers in this type of recording really can help this process. You can chop and change the arrangement to try things out in a way you simply can’t with tape.”

Thanks to the influence of his older, music-loving siblings, Moulder got into music at a very early age. “I was hearing all types of bands from Tamla Motown, Beatles, Cream and early Bee Gees. Then I got into playing in bands at around 16,” says Moulder. “But after doing a demo in a local studio, I decided I would rather be an engineer than a guitarist. From the first moment I was in a studio I loved it and knew it was something I wanted to do,” he says.

“I decided this was more for me than being in a band, so I really concentrated on trying to be a great engineer,” he says. “I liked the idea of being creatively involved so production was the next logical step.

First Impressions

Moulder was lured by good production from the time he bought his first album, even though—at the time—he didn’t realize that was what he was drawn to. “When I bought my first album ‘ Electric Warrior’ by T.Rex, I loved the sound of it and thought it must have been a good vinyl pressing,” explains Moulder. “It never occurred to me that it had to do with production or engineering.”

He got his first experience with computer sequencing while producing a solo album with his now wife, Toni Halliday, before she was in Curve. “We did the album together and I had to learn Steinberg’s Pro 24 program to do the demos,” says Moulder.

“I first got into the audio manipulation side when working on ‘The Downward Spiral’ with Nine Inch Nails,” he says. “Trent had a four-channel ProTools 2 set up on which he was running Opcode’s Studio Vision. I was so impressed with what he was doing that I bought the same set up as soon as I got back.

“Although he is considered more of an artist, I think Trent Reznor is an absolute genius producer,” adds Moulder. “I learned a lot from him.”

Home-schooled In Audio

At one point, Moulder pursued learning with the Ministry of Agriculture. But, when he became interested in audio he decided to learn hands-on, sans formal education.

“Studios in London were not really employing people from schools at the time because the graduates would tend to think that after doing a couple of years studying they were proper engineers and were resentful of being asked to assist and get clients cups of tea and fetch pizza,” he explains. “Things have changed now and I think most London studios now only take on people who have done some form of training.”

Moulder himself started as teaboy for Trident Studios, where he tapped into JAMC. “I was very fortunate. When I was an assistant at Trident Studios, where I trained, I was really into ‘alternative’ music and since it was the mid-80’s most engineers were into the Trevor Horn style of polished and—from an engineering point of view—impressive style of production,” explains Moulder.

“I assisted Flood, who was also a Trident engineer, a lot and when he was booked to record a track with the Jesus & Mary Chain I made sure I was on the session,” he adds. “We got on well with the band, who had bad experiences with other engineers who didn’t really appreciate their irreverent style, and they asked me to do some live sound for them and then asked me to engineer their album ‘Automatic.’”

Patience Pays Off

The project went well and Alan McGee, who owned Creation Records and had signed JAMC, asked Moulder to do some mixes for Ride. “He then thought I would be good with My Bloody Valentine—who were also experiencing problems with unappreciative and less than patient engineers,” says Moulder.

“So I went on to work with them. The Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails were big fans of both the Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, and I think I got a reputation for being patient and easy to work with, so I got to work with them as well,” he adds.

Linked Up By Jesus & Mary Chain

“Working with the Jesus & Mary Chain was fantastic. They are responsible for me working in the field of music I am in now, as I was doing a lot of dance music before then. They taught me a lot,” says Moulder. “Jim is one of my all time favorite singers, and William likewise on guitar. What many people probably don’t realize is that both the Reid brothers have a great sense of humor.

“So we had a lot of fun doing those records, and on ‘Honey’s Dead,’ William and I really got into the programming side of things,” he says. “We used a lot of loops and sampling. Since they had their own studio it took off a lot of the time pressure and we didn’t have to worry about anyone else. Most of the time there were just the three of us there.”

Hard-disk Recording Rocks

Coming from a background recording and mixing in the pre-digital days, producer/engineer/mixer Moulder can profess that technology has made a great difference in his life. “With hard disk recording and editing you can concentrate on getting a great performance. If there are a couple of flaws that bother you, they can be fixed rather than having to do the whole thing over,” he explains.

“Like everything, it is a matter of taste as to how you use technology, but I know that I wouldn’t want to go back!”

ProTools, Logic and Reason

Moulder uses ProTools for most of his recording work because he likes the way that it handles audio. “I also use Emagic’s Logic Audio, which is great for MIDIand being able to use VST plug-ins,” says Moulder.

“I also use Reaktor,” he adds, “which I think is fantastic for coming up with sequences and sounds you couldn’t do with anything else.” In addition, he likes Reason for its immediacy and the ability to come up with drum patterns that can be scrolled through loads of different sounds with ease.

Moulder runs ProTools, Logic, Reason and Reaktor on a Power Mac in the studio, and on a PowerBook for remote editing. “The PowerBook is great for all uses and I can’t think what I would do without it now,” says Moulder. “I can use it on long plane journeys to mess around with sounds or sequences and I can expand on those ideas when I get to the studio.”

The Plug-in Shopping List

When it comes to effects plug-ins, Moulder fancies Waves. “I use the L1 a lot for getting things to cut through and sit in mixes,” he says. “The Renaissance EQ I like for digital equalizing and their De-esser works well. I use the McDSP stuff a lot for filtering and their new multi-band compressors and analog channels are good, too.

“Antares Auto-Tune is also a favorite of mine for that little bit of ‘nit picking,’” he explains. “But I never just put it across a vocal. I always use the graphical mode and smooth out any offending notes slightly and bounce them back into the original so I can keep the imperfections I like and get rid of the ones I don’t.”

Moulder is also a fan of virtual instruments and samplers. “I’m all for them,” he says. “I use the virtual Virus a lot. If I want a sound that a virtual instrument doesn’t give me then I’ll use a non-virtual one. With samplers, I think the fact they are built into the computer obviously gives you better timing so generally, the more stuff, the merrier!”

Aspiring Engineers Beware

Being a hot-shot audio engineer does not come without sacrifices. He warns, “Be prepared for a good few years with no social life, no sleep and no money! It can be very tough at the beginning and this tends to sort out the serious ones from the rest.

“If you take one step at a time and really bury yourself in learning as many aspects of engineering as possible, you will find it incredibly rewarding,” says Moulder. “It is one of those jobs where you are constantly learning and just when you think you have got it all worked out something comes along to show you otherwise.”

The Latest Moulder

Moulder recently recorded a new track with the Lost Prophets, mixed an album for Dry Cell, a new American band, and did a single mix for a great new British band, Hoggboy.

“I just did a soundtrack for a new horror film called “My Little Eye,” with two friends of mine, Flood and Rob Kirwan, who are both also producer/engineers,” he says. “It was great fun as we got to do some writing although a lot of it was sound design and odd sounds—so I got a lot of value out of Reaktor.

“I’ve also done some work on some new tracks for NIN that should be continuing at some point,” he says. “And I think I’ll be doing some work with Billy Corgan for his new band Zwan.”