Fabulous B-52 Kate Pierson releases her first solo album, Guitars and Microphones, this month. The legendary vocal powerhouse recorded in Werewolf Heart, the personal studio of L.A.-based engineer/musician Tim Anderson.
“Werewolf Heart is a hodgepodge of things I like,” says Anderson. “I have one good-size live room and a control room, built into the ground floor of a nice little house in Whitley Heights. The studio flow is built around a computer, but we stick as many analog treats and tubes in there as we can.
“Kate had written all these great songs with different collaborators: Sia, Nick Valensi, Dallas Austin,” Anderson continues. “The challenge was to create sonic consistency. I would usually begin by programming drums or having someone lay down a drum track. Then we began replaying or augmenting the key pieces.”
Pierson’s vocals were captured via a vintage Neumann M 49 microphone that the artist brought to the sessions. “Kate’s voice is so iconic; I wanted to make sure we were capturing it as naturally and dynamically as possible—not too much processing or compression, especially on its way into the box,” Anderson says. “We had the most success with two chains: For most of her leads we would run the M 49 through an API 512 into a Distressor for very light compression. For backgrounds, we mainly used a [Shure] SM7 or my favorite mic ever, the SM57, through an old Martech tube pre or an Ampex tube pre, through a TLM 100.”