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© Gary Pihl
You recorded the album with all analogue gear. Aside from the warmth that many would say digital can’t reproduce, what do you like about analogue?
“First of all, let me emphasize that the sound of analogue gear is, of course, the main reason, and it’s more than just the warmth to me. Analogue gear is very realistic. If I’m listening to a two-inch tape or my mixdown tape in analogue, I can’t tell whether I’m listening to the input or the output. So the realism is what’s important.
“Worse than that, with digital – even with good digital with 24-bit resolution, which I’m forced to listen to [laughs], because I have to deliver it in a digital format at some point – I can listen to a song for months on end on analogue, and it’s always all analogue in the studio, but when I come to the end and I have to listen to it in a digital format, after a day I just don’t want to listen to it anymore. [Laughs] That’s the difference. It grates on my nerves after a while. Digital is really irritating after a spell.
“But there are other things I love about analogue equipment. It’s like the difference between driving a sports car with your analogue steering, accelerator and brake inputs versus trying to control it with a keypad and punching in numbers. You can imagine what that would be like.
“Analogue gear is very responsive. You can go back and forth very quickly, and you can do it by feel. You don’t to look at any numbers; you don’t have to input any data. Your fingers – and in my case, my feet, because I actually run the tape deck with my feet when I’m recording. My hands are busy, so I actually run the tape deck with one foot or another. Things like changing tone with equalization or setting delay and so forth, it’s so intuitive with analogue, where you just move something and the sound changes. Try doing that with digital and it takes forever, so there’s also a speed factor.
“I can do things so much faster in an analogue format, so when I have to do a digital work session for a mixdown or an edit, I always have the program running through my analogue gear as well, because I can find the right frequency, the right amount of level change, of tone change, delay time – whatever you want to do, I can find it so much faster with my ear. Doing this in digital, it wouldn’t have been a 10-year project; it would have been a lifetime project.”