A Deep Dive into Record Production with Stephan Hawkes.

In the heart of North Hollywood, California, Stephan Hawkes has crafted a unique niche for himself as a record producer and engineer. Renowned for his work with bands like Dance Gavin Dance, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo, Chelsea Grin, and Attila, Stephan Hawkes has established a reputation for pushing creative boundaries in the studio.

In a recent podcast, we sat down with Stephan to unravel the intricacies of his work, particularly focusing on his collaboration with Kyle Rasmussen from Vitriol. What emerged from our conversation was a fascinating journey through sonic landscapes, guitar tones, and the art of making records that defy the conventional.

The Beginning: Kyle's Quest for Sonic Extremes
The discussion delved into the genesis of their collaboration, tracing back to 2009 when Stephan first worked with Kyle on a single for his band, Those Who Lie Beneath. Even then, Kyle exhibited a penchant for pushing sonic boundaries, seeking tones that transcended the ordinary.

Stephan highlighted Kyle's obsession with guitar tones, particularly his dedication to achieving the most extreme and unique sounds possible. Whether it was modded Marshalls, intricate pedal chains, or experimenting with unconventional setups, Kyle's vision was clear – to create a sonic experience that went beyond the norm.

Crafting the Wall of Sound
A pivotal moment in their collaboration was the recording of vitriol's album "To Bathe in the Throat of Cowardice." The key to capturing Kyle's vision lay in modded Marshall amps and a meticulous exploration of pedal options. Stephan emphasized the importance of understanding Kyle's desire for intensity and the quest for a sound that felt almost unbearable.

The breakthrough came when a Fortin-modded Marshall JMP, paired with a unique pedal chain, delivered the sonic landscape they had been searching for. The result? An album that sounded insane, a sonic journey reminiscent of the intensity found in bands like 1349. It was about capturing the visceral, the shredding, and the overwhelming.

Kyle Rasmussen

Gear Collection

Evolution and Exploration in Record Making
Stephan sheds light on the evolution of their collaboration, touching on the reamping process, layering of guitar tones, and the meticulous balancing act during mixing. What emerged was not just a record but a sonic experiment, a blend of creativity and technical prowess.

The sonic journey didn't end with "To Bathe in the Throat of Cowardice." The follow-up record pushed the boundaries even further. Stephan discussed the importance of exploring new options, even if it meant deviating from the tried-and-true. The inclusion of different pedal setups and the strategic use of multiple amps showcased their commitment to sonic exploration.

Lessons Learned and Future Prospects
Reflecting on the experience, Stephan emphasized the importance of collaboration and being open to unconventional ideas. He highlighted the need to listen, understand, and translate the artist's vision into a sonic reality. The conversation ended on a note of anticipation for future projects, with the understanding that each record brings its own set of challenges and opportunities.

Stephan Hawkes' journey in record production with vitriol exemplifies the power of collaboration, exploration, and pushing sonic boundaries. From the early days of working together to the evolution of their sound, the podcast provided a glimpse into the creative process that defines their unique sonic identity.

As the music industry continues to evolve, Stephan Hawkes stands as a testament to the importance of embracing the unconventional, exploring new sonic territories, and, above all, capturing the essence of an artist's vision in every note.

- Mel Torres

Stephan Hawkes Engineering the Insane Tone of Vitriol

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