Queen's "Somebody To Love"
There was never a doubt that this song - possibly Freddie Mercury's proudest songwriting accomplishment - had to be included. After all, it's the track that changed the course of my career, when my audition for The Queen Extravaganza went viral. I've been eager to get back to work with producer John Fields (Pink, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Switchfoot) since our last endeavor, my 2013 solo album, Impersonator. My trust in his instincts is practically implicit, and I knew he could slay this song. And slay it, he did. I gave him the piano and vocal arrangement, and he basically went to town with it. This one represents probably the farthest departure from its original counterpart. I knew we had to do something fairly drastic with "Somebody To Love", because otherwise, why bother?
An insider's take on recording with John Fields
Jordan Valeriote of Hardcore Music Studio highlights John Fields' production techniques on the Jonas Brother's sophomore album.
Mix Regional: Midwest U.S.
John Fields at Creation Studios, Minneapolis: Producer/Engineer Comes Back From L.A. [www.mixonline.com]
How did John Fields become involved with the album?
SL: He was brought in by Steve from Aware to do a few things, "major [label]" it up a bit. Nothing bad intended by that, by the way - he's a great, kooky, talented player. Played bass on "Closer to Mercury" and "Some Days." It was a blast working with him - the opposite of Fridmann, really. Breakneck-speed tracking/mixing, whereas Fridmann is a bit more reserved and Zen at the board.
BH: Yeah, there were a few songs that just didn't seem to jump in the right way, and so he came along and we busted ass together and made them great. Cool dude.
How did Glen Phillips and Andy Sturmer end up singing backing vocals on the album?
SL: Steve managed Glen, Andy was a friend of John's. Plus, I liked me a Jellyfish song or two.
"John Fields was instrumental in making this all fall into place... He's one of those people who when you meet him you understand why he's been able to have such a versatile career in music because he's the most versatile musician ever. He plays everything! He plays in bands, he makes records... he just lives the music dream. And he f***ing loves it. He'll go in there and he'll play a song for us - he'll find some song on YouTube and just love it, every second of it." [www.clashmusic.com]
The Role of the Music Producer (with Matt Willis, Busted, London Real)
Matt Willis of Busted on the London Real
"[Fields] is an insanely genius musician and producer. It was the most fun I've ever had in the studio... One of the things I'm most proud of is I feel both sides of my personality (the classical pianist in me and the pop guy) are represented." [www.popdust.com]
The Summer Set
"He's a phenomenal musician and producer with a legacy of records... John really made us push for better and different at the same time... it is a record I am so proud of... John made us so much better. It's such a pleasant surprise, this many years later, to realize some of the things that I do in the vocal booth and some of the things I've learned as a musician - I probably learned from John Fields."
On the production side, you had a little assistance from Mr. John Fields?
"Yeah, John is great... John is incredibly musical in a way that
he can just pick up a bass or a keyboard and the whole time he's
doing it, he's doing the recording, sitting at the console. He's
really great at multitasking, so between me, John and Michael,
we can really get a lot done." [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Peter Cincotti What was it like in
the studio with [John Fields]? "One of the reasons why I
loved working with him is because he is spontaneous to a degree,
and it was the right amount of spontaneity. I've never made a
record like that. We were making mixing decisions before we even
recorded certain instruments. Somehow on every track, we always
maintained that bird's eye view and it formed in an interesting
way... It was as if we were throwing it against a wall and there
was no formula. That's the way he works and I loved recording
that way." [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Parachute What was it like working
with John Fields? "It was amazing. He was such a great producer
and exactly what we wanted in a producer. He understood our vision
but didn't stomp on it but made it better. He was exactly what
we needed at the time, which was someone who could take what we
wanted to do and make it reality for us... He's always been someone
we respected as a producer and loved the bands he's worked with.
So the chance to do a whole album with him was a dream come true."
"I think [Fields] is just really unbelievably musically talented,"
Anderson said. "To have somebody who knows so much and can play
every instrument that we're playing was great. He has brought
a lot of detail and understanding of what works and what doesn't."
Goo Goo Dolls
"We finished the record
with [Palmer], he mixed it, and then we sat down and really analyzed
it. Something wasn't fitting right in my stomach about it. I was
lucky enough to have the luxury to go back in the studio and redo
a bunch of stuff that I really wanted to work on. I wrote a couple
more songs and recut a bunch of tracks... Also there was John
Fields -- a monster talent. My money is on that guy becoming humongous.
He's pretty big already." [www.billboard.com]
"John Fields, the guy who produced 'The Beautiful Letdown,' was the first guy who was able to realize what we were trying to do as far as heavier tunes. I remember we did "Meant To Live" first, and it was the first time where it finally felt like 'that's what we've been trying to sound like for a while.' " [www.whowritespod.com]
“Producers? Labels? Why? I will say that John Fields, who I did my record with, is a genius. Guys like that will always have a place, because they add something that artists can't do themselves. He actually provides something that's unattainable without him -- and there are a lot of producers out there who also do that. But the ones who don't, the ones who are basically leeches with an overinflated salary, they're gonna be f***ed."