Loic’s take – Five Albums That Influenced Me

Loic Gaillard is The Motor Museum’s in-house engineer, and the newest member of our team.  We thought it would be great to introduce with the five albums that have influenced his engineering approach.

As the in-house engineer, Loic handles all the sessions where an artist is self-producing, and assists when artists bring in their own producer.  If you would like to chat to him about a recording session in The Motor Museum, drop him an email to loic@themotormuseum.com!

Queen – ‘Greatest Hits II’ – 1991

This compilation of Queen’s Greatest hits undoubtedly defines the sounds of my childhood.  The CD used to live in my Dad’s car and would usually get played at least once per road trip.  I remember being fascinated by crazy moving sounds bouncing between the speakers as I watched the landscape pass by.  It’s a really cool panning trick that I’ve started to use myself.

Queen has always been an example of great creativity in terms of tones, effects and harmonies.  I have always tried to recreate this in my work, although generally not quite as “out-there” as what can be heard on some of their tracks.

The second thing that still amazes me when listening to Queen is obviously the vocal performance.  Mercury’s incredible voice was always on point and every element of the mix contributes to making it shine.  This gives the mixes a clearly defined focal point, which helps the listener to stay focus.

Standout Song: I Want It All

Tame Impala – ‘Currents’ – 2015

A little change of vibe with this one.  It feels like a rock record, but Currents was obviously produced and mixed in the way an electronic album would be.

The result is a super wide, modern sound in which you can get lost trying to catch all of the nuances in the mix.  The limits between acoustic and electronic instruments are completely blurred, resulting in complex textures being generated.

This is something I have found to be extremely useful when trying to modernise a section of a song.

Standout Song: Yes, I’m Changing

Metallica – ‘Metallica’ – 1991

The Black Album, which has been widely criticised for being Metallica’s “sell-out” album, marked a drastic change in the band’s sound.  They started moving away from their fast-paced riffs and guitar solos, instead heading towards a slicker production style.

I personally see this album from a different perspective as it has been my gateway to heavier genres of music.  I remember feeling the thump of the floor toms and kick drum in my chest when I played it for the first time through a bunch of speakers thrown together in my childhood bedroom.  The low end on this album is nice and weighty without ever feeling overpowering.

All the elements sound crisp, well-defined and right in their place.  The arrangement is simple, allowing for every instrument to fill up space efficiently.  These are all things that I keep in mind when working on a mix in order to create big walls of sounds while retaining as much definition as possible.

Standout Song: Enter Sandman

Sum 41 – ‘Underclass Hero’ – 2007

This album is a great representation of tricking the listener into thinking that an already full-on song is constantly rising in intensity.  Everything seems loud and “in-your- face” but it still feels like the energy is increasing throughout the record.  Dynamics are artificially created by a multitude of psychoacoustic tricks such as doubling of elements, filtering/un-filtering sounds, sudden drop-outs in order to come back with more power etc…

This album also introduced me to the idea that nothing is too crazy in the world of the recording studio.  Three drum kits set up at the same time in the live room to add a different feel to parts of a song?  Not a problem if it sounds cool!

A special attention to the mix of the snare drum on this record, which has to be one of my top three snare sounds.  Fat, bouncy and jumping right out of the speakers.

Standout Song: Speak of the Devil

Architects – ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ – 2016

All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us is a fairly recent album, but already one of my all- time favourites.  There is so much to it under the first layer of angriness that I don’t even know where to begin.

It’s all about contrasts and balance.  This can be heard in the lyrics, perceived in the instrumentation and it most definitely appears in the production/mix.  For instance, subtle elements are often introduced in the hi-mid part of the spectrum to balance the almost constant low/mid-range intensity of the vocals, guitars, bass and drums.  The tightness of the performance is really well contrasted with the vibe and emotion that shines through the playing/singing.  I believe this is one of the main reasons why I prefer this album to many others in similar genres, it definitely sounds like a modern metal production but doesn’t appear to be lifeless and over-edited.

The big atmospheric sections that can be heard in almost every song play an important role in this record.  Again, it balances the overall intensity and allows for the whole mix to breathe for a minute.  This was achieved with brilliance in the mix of this album and has been an extremely valuable lesson for me to apply to my own work.

Standout Song: Gone With The Wind