Rush producer’s fight with fandom
Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz admits he had to fight against his own passion for the band in order to get the best out of them in the studio.
But the results – their upcoming release Clockwork Angels – was worth the effort, he believes.
Raskulinecz tells MusicRadar: “Yes, I’m a Rush fan. I fucking love Rush. But if I let that get in the way I’m not doing my job. I can’t let that taint my objectivity as a producer.
“Sometimes it’s hard, especially when you become friends. Things get more emotional when you know the guys. But you have to do what you’re supposed to do, with the right amount of passion.
“I do just that. I feel this music. I feel it in my heart. There were definitely moments when I had to walk in the room and tell Alex Lifeson that his guitar part could be better. There were other times I would stand in the drum room with Neil Peart, a drumstick in my hand, and I’d talk to him about certain fills and licks. Same thing with Geddy – I just did it.”
Having made the decision to remain professional, however, he says things became easier: “The bottom line is that, as a producer, you know in your gut when something is right or wrong. You don’t have to think about it too much. You just know.”
The tables were turned when it came to the mixing process, says Raskulinecz, who also worked with the Canadian three-piece on 2006 album Snakes and Arrows.
“Talk about nerve-wrecking,” he comments. “Mixing is so different from recording. When we record, I’m judging what they do. When we mix, they’re judging me! It’s a whole different ball game.
“Basically, I’ll work on a song for seven or eight hours, and then I’ll call the guys in for round one of comments and tweaks. Sometimes it can be as simple as, ‘Turn the snare drum up’ or, ‘Turn the guitar solo up.’ Or it can be ‘You’ve totally missed it. Start over.’ And everything in the middle.”
Ultimately Raskulinecz feels he managed the tight-rope performance well. “There a certain responsibility you have,” he says. “You want to help the band make the best record they possibly can. With Rush that can be a very tall order.
“Rush fans hold the band very dear to their hearts. You want to honour that, but you also want to push the band forward and allow them to be the best they can be right now.
“Of course, that stops when we’re done for the night. That’s when I sit down with the guys and go, ‘All right, let’s talk about 1977!’”