The rock group Primal Kings chose United Recording to create the digital masters for the group’s self-titled debut album.
After recording and mixing in full analog, iconic producer and engineer Lenise Bent and Primal King’s lead singer/songwriter Chris Wilson took great care when choosing the right person to shepherd the five-year, fully analog labor of love across the digital divide.
“It was critical to maintain the warmth and feeling of these analog mixes,” said Wilson. “We needed someone who truly understood our vision. Mastering engineer Warren Sokol not only maintained the spirit of the mixes, he managed to highlight the best qualities. As much as we look forward to a vinyl release and a truly all-analog product, we are grateful to Warren for the incredible work on these digital versions of our mixes.”
Primal Kings project began five years ago when Bent visited Los Angeles’ legendary live music venue, The Mint, and was impressed by the band’s performance and Wilson’s original songs. A year later, after watching the documentary, “Sound City,” Wilson was determined to capture the band’s music in an all-analog format and reached out to Bent, due to her successful track record with the format. The two immediately bonded and embarked on a mission to create an indie record with a big budget sound.
“We were determined to produce the best all-analog recording possible. The budget was tight so we were quite judicious. Primal Kings is the perfect band for this type of recording,” said Bent. “The songs were strong and most tracks were first or second takes. The key to recording analog and staying on budget is to prepare with ample rehearsals and then commit to a performance and move on.”
To achieve the analog album, Bent and Wilson went so far as to construct their own plate reverb units.
“Many of the great records I’ve worked on used EMT 140 plate reverb for part of their sound and I wanted that on this record. We looked to possibly buy one for our recording/mixing space, but it was beyond our budget,” explained Bent. “With the guidance and original EMT electronics provided by legendary audio equipment designer, Paul Wolff, the guys created not one but two units for my mixing/reverb needs. One was larger and set with a longer reverb than the other smaller one. I was thrilled with their individual sounds, which were used all over this record.”
Primal Kings sessions were recorded to ATR Master 2″ inch tape on a Studer 827 24-track tape machine and mixed to ATR Master 1/2″ tape on an Otari MTR 10 2-track with 1/2″ heads. The playback machine for mastering at United Recording was an Ampex ATR-100 1/2″ 2-track.
Wilson added, “The mixes translated perfectly. Being able to create such a satisfying record with the budget limitations and the unforgiving nature of analog/destructive recording just made the whole process and final results even sweeter.”
To listen to a Primal Kings preview, visit https://youtu.be/q7ZO0JCLsJc
United Recording is one of the world’s most recognized music studios, with more awards than any other recording enterprise. Music produced at United has generated more than 1 billion in record sales worldwide. More info: http://www.unitedrecordingstudios.com/