“This came about because of my work with Mother Love Bone and Michael Goldstone. For our first meeting, we all went to see the Lakers play, and that’s when I finally got to know the guys a little. Music at that time was still dominated by metal and glam bands from the Sunset Strip scene. When Nirvana and Pearl Jam happened, they immediately killed the hair metal bands, but at the time we actually started this record, I wasn’t really familiar with the Seattle sound at all.
“This record was mixed in about 10 days, very instinctively and with no pressure. The band flew over to England and was with me at Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey, where we mixed. Part of the reason why it was so non-pressurized was because the label wasn’t expecting too much; I think they were maybe hoping to sell 100,000 or 150,000 copies, which by today’s standards would be a lot, but back then, that many sales was considered a build-up.
“I wasn’t shy about using big drum sounds on songs or using effects like backwards reverbs on Eddie’s vocals; I was allowed to be as creative as I wanted to be. The band was all there and approved every mix when we met each morning. The simple dry sound of a raw band playing together in a room became something of the Seattle sound later. When we made the record, this had not happened yet.
“While the band might look back at their first album and say it was too wet or affected, they are looking over their shoulder; when we made the record, it was perfect. Radio lapped it up.
“You can move on and evolve, but you can't change your haircut in your high school yearbook.
“It's true that the record sounded big, but it still had some traditional rock elements to match. When you hear Mike McCready’s solo at the end of Alive, it almost has a Freebird-type thing at times. This all really helped rock radio to embrace the band. It was new and alternative, but there was still a bridge to a lot of the heritage bands they were used to playing.”