According to the band, Raskulinecz always had a drumstick in his hand throughout recording, conducting and conveying his instinctual rhythmic ideas through spastic, onamonapiac outbursts, the kind of non-technical musical communication you may not expect from a producer who's coached such legendary drummers as Neil Peart or either of the Foos' famous stickmen. Arejay Hale was more than up for the task, rising to the occasion and pushing his own boundaries into new territory the whole band got behind.
"We started in the studio with him with nothing and ended up building up this amazing record."
Hard Rock Producer Brings the Noise and Grammy Cred to Music Row
Music Row has sounded a little noisier and more raucous in recent weeks since pre-eminent hard rock and metal producer Nick Raskulinecz set up shop inside the venerable recording studio built for Roy Orbison in 1968... Raskulinecz is looking to shake things up on Music Row, where country music is still the unquestioned king but musical diversity increases by the day.
Atlantic Records Senior Vice President for A&R Steve Robertson, who specializes in rock music, said it's good for Nashville to have Raskulinecz in the thick of Music Row. "I personally love it, because being on Music Row, you're still surrounded largely by country music... To have Rock Falcon Studio and Nick right on Music Row, it helps expand the perception of what Nashville is."
"We went in last January with Nick, and we were, like, 'We don't know what to do. We don't have any songs or anything.' And he's, like, 'It's cool. It's cool.' That's his forte," Joe explained. "He did it with KORN, he did it with RISE AGAINST, on their new one, he did it with DEFTONES. This is what he does. He was, like, 'When was the last time the four of you got in a room and wrote together?... Let's start there.' And we were, like, 'Okay.' So we would get a riff and we'd just start jamming, and he'd pop in [and go], 'That was cool. Do that again.' And we were, like, 'Okay.' And [we'd] just start building songs from nowhere. It was great."
"And just sonically, I think it's gonna be the first time that you can actually hear what everybody brings to the table in our band instead of it just being kind of, like, 'Oh, okay, Lzzy sings and there's something going on in the background,'" she said. "Especially considering my little brother [Arejay Hale] as a drummer. Nick is like the drum whisperer. He just loves him, and he's such a drum nerd. He did the last two RUSH records, and he just brought some stuff out of Arejay that we were all in the control room, like, 'How did you get him to do that?' It takes a lot to surprise us with little bro, 'cause we know him so well. He's at a whole other level and he finally has a producer that has the patience and the... I don't know... I wanna say the psychological [laughs]... how to bring that out of him."
Halestorm has been working with a new producer for its next album. Producer Nick Raskulinecz has brought out the true grit of the band.
"He's just a rock dude," Hale said of Raskulinecz. "For the first time, I'm not having this conversation with a producer like I have on nearly every record we've made. I would kind of sit down with the producer and let them know we're a rock band and we wanted to keep that intact. I'm not dogging any of our other producers or what we've done. I've just enjoyed not having those conversations going into the studio with Nick."
The new music is "genuine" and "not contrived," according to Hale.
According to frontwoman Lzzy Hale, Raskulinecz "inspired" the band "a lot, because when we got off the road, we didn't really know what we wanted to do with the record, so we kind of came in with absolutely nothing, the four of us in a room. And he just kind of turned to us, and he was, like, 'When was the last time the four of you were just kind of in a room writing together and not afraid to be yourselves?'" she said. "And I'm, like, 'Man, that's been a long time, I think.' So he really gave us this renewed trust in ourselves and what we enjoy in the music that we like and not being afraid to wear our influences on our sleeves, that kind of thing. And he's also... he's just so energetic. Arejay will tell you; he's bouncing around with a drum stick. He's, like, 'Coach Nick' right now."
"Nick is super-nimble in the studio... He can dial up great guitar tones better than anybody. He knows what this amp does, what that mic does - there's no guesswork. You just know you're going to be in good hands with a guy like that."
Speaking about the powerful production of KORN's latest album, 2016's "The Serenity Of Suffering", and the band's plans for a follow-up effort, [Brian "Head"] Welch said: "A lot of that was Nick Raskulinecz. All these bands that you guys hear out in the world, without the producer, we would not be at the level that we're at, as far as sound and how you feel the music - from all the bands. Producers bring it together. They're like the next bandmember. And so we look forward to working with Nick Raskulinecz again - hopefully this [next] record."
"We were so incredibly honored to work alongside producer Nick Raskulinecz. He truly helped us bring these songs to life and find a way to make them HALESTORM's."
"Metal has gone through an evolution. We went down that road a few years ago, but think with Nick being a producer and a fan, he focused on what we're good at and steered the ship back onto that course, like, the scat Jonathan [Davis, vocals] does, he does that heavy-metal scat. Nick just encouraged all that." [www.blabbermouth.net]
"We needed Nick's help to focus our energy... [Nick] kind of put his neck out there in the sense that we may not like what we're about to hear. He was willing to take that chance and be honest with us. Some of it was difficult to hear, but he was right." [www.loudwire.com]
Dream the Elecric Sleep
"Producers wear many different hats; [Nick]'s like a coach, but is somebody who can listen to what you're doing and say "as a listener, that doesn't make as much sense to me. Why did you do that there?"... Somebody like Nick can come in and say "Yeah, you're right. That is good. But this part needs work." Then just work us through the process of how we make the best album we can make. Working with Nick, we were able to just focus on performances. You end up trusting somebody like Nick... So you say "Nick knows what he's doing. Let's focus on capturing the best of what we can do." That's what Nick brought to the table... It's to take what we thought were good songs and make them better.
He's an immensely positive influence... and he wants to make the best damn album he can make. That's the kind of person I want to work with. Somebody who's going to push me to my limits, but not make me feel like sh*t." [www.crashandridemusic.com]
Black Star Riders 'Heavy Fire'
"Nick's a great guy, he's a musical genius. He's sonically very together, has great ears. He's got a great passion for music 24/7, he never switches off."
"The second time around... we know what kind of input he's gonna put into this thing... we know that the equipment is gonna be great."
"We had a lot of respect for Nick (going in to the 2nd album) because of his resume. But the big difference this time is now we trust him."
Black Star Riders 'The Killer Instinct'
On working with Nick Raskulinecz...
"[Nick's] a top-class producer... he's a really inspiring guy... he has a lot of technical skills. So he has the tools to make a high-class production. We did [the album] in seven weeks in the Nashville mountains. We were living there in a small hut close to [Nick's] studio... like some kind of scary-movie kind of hut in the middle of nowhere. It was an ispiring place to make an album." [www.blabbermouth.net]
Rush's recent work has been affected by the influence of 'Clockwork Angels' co-producer Nick Raskulinecz, who also worked with the band on 'Snakes & Arrows.' "Nick is a very bad influence," Peart told Classic Rock Magazine. "He wants us to be more Rush than we are, it's wonderful, he pushes me in ways I wouldn't dare..."
"Nick is a true passionate rock fan and rock producer," Lee says. "He really pushed the band forward... To get everyone primed for recording Raskulinecz convened a kind of band camp... We started to sound really good, and it gave us the confidence to make the album."
Amy Lee: "My favorite records that came out recently were from Alice in Chains and the Deftones -- and [Nick] produced both. We love working with him -- he makes it so fun. Writing with the band and working with a heavy rock producer has made it more of a rock record."
"Nick, he's cool, man... He's very hands-on. He's very involved with everything from the beginning until the end... he gets you pumped up and he gets you excited about what you're doing... and he's a little bit precise and if shit isn't sounding good we'll go back and do it and do it until it does.."
"Nick is one of the first people who believed in the potential of this band.... and he outdid himself on this one... His enthusiasm is contagious. The main thing about Nick is, he sits down with you, sees where you want to go, and he'll do whatever it takes to get you there. He'll push you, he'll throw ideas at you, but he doesn't try to make your record his record. He wants every band to be the best band around but to still be themselves."