With a resurgence of his country music hits from the 1990s, singer/songwriter/producer James House is keeping busy with a new album and a sold-out 16-show tour throughout the UK. While recording tracks for Broken Glass/Twisted Steel, James says he wanted to achieve the classic “API sound” from the comfort of his home studio in Nashville, Dream On Studios. To attain the specific sound he had in mind, James rented API’s THE BOX from Blackbird Rentals for the summing of the album’s final mixes.
The project began at Ben’s Studio in Nashville, where each of the tracks was recorded on 2-inch tape through a classic API 3232 console. The tape was then sent to James’ home studio, where he recorded the vocals, overdubbed guitar parts, and mixed. While he was at Ben’s Studio, James heard tracks that were cut for an early demonstration of THE BOX. “It sounded like classic, warm API,” James recalls. “I’m a big fan of API in the first place, which is one of the reasons why we cut at Ben’s Studio.”
Noting the design and layout of THE BOX, James says he appreciates how the small-format console is portable, yet creates a classic API sound. “Without it, I would have had to rent a studio with an API console to sum the record. With THE BOX, I was able to rent it for two or three days and take my time summing and getting all the versions of the mixes. The size and design fills a gap between tracking in a commercial studio and in a smaller home studio.”
James recalls that the 16 summing channels were a key factor that drew him to the console, as well as the overall quality and clarity it helped him achieve. “I just A/B’d the record with one of my earlier records, and it has a punch and presence that I love.”
The first single off the album, titled “Every Time It Rains,” has already earned airtime on top country stations, and the song’s presence is growing with the release of its music video.
“I knew THE BOX was a smart idea,” James says. “The mixes gelled exactly like we hoped they would.”