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You already had such a highly developed sense of what guitar gear to use, like your boutique Trainwreck amps, and how to get what you want out of it. But producing on your own, without longtime producer Frank Rogers, was new to you, as was working with Pro Tools. Did you find it at all limiting, or was it the opposite?
“It was limiting for a little while, but it was also very inspiring. It made the first part of recording that album a horrible, stressful time. I wouldn’t trade any of the things I learned for anything, but it was very hard. This time isn’t like that, because now the learning curve’s gone. One thing I realized in that process is I don’t like producing. It’s not fun to me. I don’t like being in charge of that. So I’m not doing it that way this time.
“Frank is involved. He’s not co-producing. He’s basically, for a lack of a better word, I’d call him ‘executive producer’ at this point, because he has other projects as well, but he stops in. And then I’m co-producing with Luke Wooten, who is one of my best buddies and mixed the last couple records, basically. Co-producing is a whole different thing – it’s better.
“I love the aspects of writing and playing, and I’ve always been hands-on. But you know what? It was really important to do last time. Those things I learned were things I needed to know.”
Are you making the album in your studio again?
Last year, you mentioned that you relished not only the fact that you don’t have to pay by the hour when you record at your own place, but also that you’re recording a physical space that hasn’t been recorded before.
“Oh, yeah. It was duct-taped together for the last album. It was like those scenes in World War II where they’re taping things on the bombers and going, ‘Take off!’ This time it’s a whole different thing. We’ve had a whole other year of tweaking it and getting to know it even better. It’s great now – it’s a wonderful space.
“I brought in Luke and said, ‘Here’s what I’m thinking, and here’s what Frank’s thinking his role will be. I need a partner in this. I need your input. I need your song advice. I need your sound advice. I need your production advice, your arrangement advice, all that.’ And Luke goes, ‘I don’t ever have to set the drums up. I don’t have to figure out how to mic the drums. This is unbelievable.’ Because once you mic it, once things are sitting there, it’s such a sweet process.”