Podcast Episode #187: Crafting Recording Experiences with Chris Hoisington
Chris Hoisington joins the podcast to discuss crafting a recording experience, redeeming the compilation record and the beauty of working with long-established artists. Jason gets blocked on Instagram.
We were so grateful to have Chris join us on the Worship Artisty Podcast.
Here are some highlights.
On doing a tribute album to Rich Mullins
Everybody knows the random Rich Mullins song because he has so many of them but they all have the sound of whatever the record label was trying to chase at the time. The Jesus Record that was released after his death had these simple tape demos of him at the piano or on the guitar and I really connected with that sound and started thinking about doing a tribute project where we recorded his songs in that demo style. At the same time we found a friend of his was still at his old house in Bellsburg and dreamt about the idea of recording it all in that space. As artists rallied around the project we just let them each pick a song they connected with and recorded in that house.
On the challenge of a compilation record
It’s very hard to create a compilation record and have it not feel like a bunch of one offs. We really wanted to redeem the idea of a compilation record and recording the songs at the house in that demo style allowed it to have the same feel even though it was a bunch of different artists interpreting the songs.
On crafting the Bellsburg sound
We used a couple of Neuman mics and placed them in a way that created their own mix. Artists would have to set up at different distances and move depending on where they should be in the mix. Lead singers would step closer to the mic when it was their turn to stand out and then back away when they were supposed to be in the background. We also had a tape recorder running at all times, sort of as a tribute to Rich that got mixed into each song. I wanted to have the lo-fi option without it be my only option.
What made it special
It had such a homemade, communal feel. People would come and perform their song and then hang out all day and need a ride home at the end. Rich’s manager for years baked all this banana bread that Rich’s mom used to make for him and gave it to everyone involved in the project. It wasn’t just a recording. It was an experience and that’s really what I want about making a record.
On working with long-established artists
I really loved the Rick Rubin Johnny Cash albums that took an established artist and did something completely new with it. I think artists that have been around for a long time like Kevin Max and Cindy Morgan really have a weight to the words they write that you don’t always get with a younger artist. There’s also a lot more expectation for a young artist who is trying to make it while an established artist has more freedom and less expectation around how an album is received.