I've been sitting on this interview so long that a new CD, attagirl, has already been released. Check out any of their albums to hear the best band in The Netherlands!
Is Log 22 the first record you produced for the band?
Yeah. One time, at one point we did a live show with only Velvet Underground songs. [Bettie Serveert Plays Venus in Furs] That was the first, "How can we make that into an album?" It was recorded in the Paradiso in Amsterdam, and they had a 24-track machine upstairs a recording the thing. A lot of work. And then we got to Hilversum and there was a guy [Hans Bunt] who we wanted to mix it with. Herman [Bunskoeke] and Carol [Van Dyk] and I went there, and he started off with the drum kit [makes whooshing noise] and the bass ['whom' noise] and the guitars totally soft and vocals in echo and all that.
On the Velvet Underground stuff?!? [laughing]
Yeah. That's how it starts. And so we said, "Well, let's do it different. Let's turn the drums into like a jazz kit almost." And he said, "You can't do that" Why not, just give it a shot, you know? And finally, after a couple of hours, he really got into it and then we got it the way we want it. I'm still really pleased with the sound of that album. After that, we did the John Parish [produced] album, Private Suit. We go through ten years and watching and paying attention — we thought, "Let's do it ourselves." First of all a producer, that's a lot of money, you know and that's a lot of budget, and second, the really horrible thing about studios is it's so expensive and you have to work in the hours that the people tell you from 12 to 12 or whatever. You can never do something in the moment you feel like it, because you have to wait for the drums 20 times over then the bass guitar then the guitars then the vocals. The studio we recorded Private Suit, a great studio [E-Sound], it's in Weesp near Amsterdam and they have a lot of that vintage stuff like Moog synthesizers — a lot of stuff. But then, every day after a drum was on tape and the vocals were there and all that stuff, I said, "Well, I prepared some weird freaking keyboard stuff" and there was never any time, or it was never a lot of time to do it Ð that freaked me out a little bit, because I'm the person who wants to get away from the usual of songs and give them a little edge or weirdness or strange. It was never the time or the place to do that, so that.
Because the time was so regimented?
Yeah. 'Cause when I said, "I have this part. Can we do it?" "Uh yeah, you got five minutes." What's that all about? The drummer had 20 hours to do it? And without the money, poor guy, so I bought this 16-track machine.
What is it?
It's a Fostex 16-track hard disk recorder. I don't know any model number or any. So I bought that, and Carol had said, a half year before that, "I want to do a year off. I want to have a break." Then Herman and I said, "Well it's so cool, you're a songwriter and a vocalist, and a guitar player. You can work with anyone." We were kind of scared that she wouldn't get back to us, to the Betties, you know. The people she worked with, that's a country band in Belgium, called Chitlin' Fooks , those people in that band are like so talented, and we are kind of not like in their same building. I bought the thing that looked the easiest to work with. I just want to play. I don't want to read a lot of manuals — the manual that came with that machine was directly translated from Japanese into really horrible English. I was reading it and it was so dry and not fun and,...
For the last 20 years, Chris Knox's approach to home recording has remained consistently creative and interesting. He has insisted upon approaching the technical limitations of his home studio as a...