Recording and Producing “nearLY: reminder”

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Recording nearLY
For “nearLY: reminder,” Dillon maintained the creative direction and focus on composition while co-producer and engineer Brett Pierce kept his eye on the technical aspects of the recording. The entire record was recorded through an Apogee Rosetta 800 interface into a Power Mac running Pro Tools.

“Apogee converters have always sounded better to me than just about everything else, unless you spend 10X the money,” says Pierce. “And Pro Tools is the only program that could handle the high track count some of our songs had without a hiccup. It also does not have the latency of all the other programs. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.”

They didn’t use any other applications like Reason or Live and kept their plug-in selection pretty lean. “We sometimes started with a drum machine to keep tempo while Jerome was working on the initial idea,” explains Pierce. “But we moved quickly to guitars and drums. It was always our intention to keep this album very organic.” lashes

For EQ, Dillon and Pierce used the Waves Renaissance EQ, and used the Bomb Factory 1176 for compression. “I like the way it sounds, and it is scalable,” says Pierce. “When I compress, my first choice would be the Waves Renaissance Compressor because it is so musical and versatile. If I wanted to do something off the wall I might use the Bomb Factory 1176. There are a couple things no other plug-in can do for me. And occasionally I will use the Bomb Factory LA2A. As with the 1176, sometimes it is the only one that sounds right.”

For reverbs and delays, they relied on a Lexicon PCM 91 and a TC3000. “I am not a fan of plug-in reverbs at all,” says Pierce. “They are getting better, but even the ones that do sound good chew up all your processing. For texture, I have found my Sansamp to be an awesome bag of tricks. That is pretty much it. I have LOADS of plug-ins, but other than those plug-ins, I generally like to get my sound with the mics.”

Recording Dillon’s Drums
Dillon played all the drum parts for the record using just two kits and no triggers or samples. “We primarily used the touring kit from the last NIN tour (Fragility) and it was recorded in various rooms with Brett’s arsenal of microphones,” explains Dillon. “We also used a small toy drum kit on a few tracks for texture, which I looked completely ridiculous playing because I’m so goddamned lanky.”

But despite being the visionary driving the rhythms, melodies, concepts and arrangements for the record, the toughest part for Dillon in producing “nearLY: reminder” was deciding when songs were actually done. “It was always a challenge to know exactly when to walk away from a song,” he says. “You ask yourself, ’How many individual tracks is enough? When is it actually done?’ It got easier as the process went along, but it’s hard to know when something is truly ready for mix down. I lived in constant fear that I would get to the mixing facility and suddenly hear another guitar or piano melody in my head that needed to be there — just to realize it was too late.”

Next page: Dillon’s nearLY Project Released


1. Jerome Dillon’s Producing Debut
2. Recording and Producing “nearLY: reminder”
3. Dillon’s nearLY Project Released

Monitoring The Mixes
Not enough can be said for cross referencing and the nearLY producing team was no exception, using three different sets of monitors through the production process on “reminder.” “We used Mackie HR824s, Tannoy Reveal Active monitors, and Genelec 1029s,” reflects Pierce. “For most purposes we used the 824s because they sound great, and have good imaging, good low end extension and plenty of air. However, they can be a little too forgiving in the bass and the mids.”

So they would switch to the Genelec 1029s to make sure they were not driving the bass too hard or to check if they were using too much reverb. “The Genelecs were much better at revealing those issues,” he says. “And the Tannoys would be our final sounding board. Those are in between the HR824s and the Genelecs as far as bass goes, with a slightly softer sound in the highs.”

Continued on next page

Useful Links

More NIN Interviews
Recording “With Teeth”
Sound Design for NIN
Producer Alan Moulder
Remixer Chris Vrenna

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