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Elliott Brood, ‘Work and Love’

To be clear: The roots-rock band Elliott Brood is actually a duo, neither of whom is called Elliott. Juno-winners Casey Laforet and Mark Sasso made their latest record last spring in the Tragically Hip’s Bathouse Studio with producer Ian Blurton (Weakerthans, Skydiggers) and engineer Nyles Spencer. Bathouse is built into an 1840s house, where the group miked up drum kits, amps and vocals in multiple rooms and hallways to capture different room tones.

“They started with a live band scenario,” says Spencer. “We overdubbed on top of those basic bed tracks and things got replaced. For vocals we used ribbon mics—BK 5Bs, an old RCA unidirectional mic. Those RCAs are popular for guitar amps, but they’re really cool on vocals as well. And we were heavy-handed during [vocal] tracking. We went for it, for sure! There was an old gray-face [Teletronix] LA-2A in the chain, and oftentimes an 1176—sometimes post LA-2A, sometimes pre LA-2A. Also a dbx 902 ended up in that signal chain—maybe only one or maybe a pair of them on either end of the recording chain.”

Spencer says they also spent a fair amount of time “collecting effects for vocals and various instruments,” and it’s these embellishments that make Elliott Brood’s tracks pop. “That’s one of my fortes, I guess, doing what I call ‘tangent-based mixing’ or ‘tangent effects collection’: tape slaps on drums, or in-line effects where you take the mono room mic from the drum kit, send that to the tape machine, send that to the plate reverb, and then send that to something else. Those kinds of things where you’re only listening to one source, but we’re using five different effects.”