Eric Mosher, assistant engineer for Black Ice album, for H2ACDC.COM
My name is Eric Mosher. I work at The Warehouse Studio as an assistant engineer. Basically what my work consists of at the studio is to make sure that all sessions, whether it be mixing or recording, progress as smoothly as possible.
My daily role during the recording of any album is to try and foresee the next move. Putting all the microphones up, making sure they’re properly cabled, taking the recall notes so that we can always come back to a specific sound, controlling the tape machines… basically doing any work that the producer or the engineer doesn’t want to do… haha. For instance, while working with Brendan O’Brien and Mike Fraser, my goal was to make transitions between songs, different takes and various overdubs completely seamless.
In short, if Brendan asked Mike to dial in a new sound for Angus’ solo, I was doing my job if all elements were patched in and ready to record without any delay in workflow. Nothing kills the spontaneity of creativity like having to wait for the assistant. In short, if my name isn’t mentioned during these transitions I’ve achieved invisibility and I’m happy!
My general memory of the Black Ice recording is sheer astonishment. The accumulative talent between the band and everyone working in the room was indescribable. With Brendan’s production and Mike’s sounds, AC/DC’s full energy was unleashed from the first note. It was amazing to say the least. Every new session that I work on brings in new experiences and personalities therefore I never know what to expect until the tape starts rolling. In this case, I was speechless.
I couldn’t say if the composition was completely finished before the arrival of the band. All I know is that Brendan created a highly productive flow and everyone kept busy. The workload was great and there was never a dull moment but then again, who wants to be bored. Idle hands are the devil’s tools.
By the end, there were more than 15 songs recorded. It’s usually the case. I guess that some songs, as great as they may be, just don’t mesh with the final sequence of the album.
This was the first time I met the band and it was quite surreal. We had the room at the studio ready for them when they walked in. The signal path of each microphon was thoroughly tested, the instruments were tuned up and even the vibe was taken care of. A few introductions were made with the band and off they went to get comfortable with their weapons. A bit of banter was the first sounds picked up on the mics followed by a cable brushing up on guitar strings as they put on their headphones. Mike Fraser gave me the okay to roll tape and then it happened. An explosion of sound. It was over the top. I couldn’t believe that these five guys were making such a huge sound. Phil was a human metronome and teamed up with the rock solid foundation implemented by Cliff and Malcolm the groove was larger than life. A few seconds later, Angus’ guitar came screaming in and that’s when I looked around the control room only to see open mouths. Mike made a couple minor adjustments on the console then walked over to me and said “Do we have the best jobs on earth or what?!” I was dumbfounded.
It was a breeze working with these guys. Never were there hurt feelings, bruised egos or pressure to perform. I don’t have to tell anyone that this band knows how to put down a song. Before hitting record, Angus and Malcolm would go over the song’s structure a few times with Phil and Cliff to find it’s pocket. Brendan would then sit with them to talk about the direction of the hooks and other elements of the tune. We would then roll tape. Between takes, we’d stop and they would all talk about its flow. We’d all stop a few takes later after “the one” was captured. It was quite obvious that they had reached the song’s pinnacle and that nothing could possibly top it.
Malcolm and Angus seem to fuel one and other. They both have unbelievable drive and motivation on their own… but teamed up, it ends up being awesome. One of the brothers would come in with a riff and the other would then get sparked up and add to it. This would then snowball into a flurry of sounds. Malcolm and Angus are obviously cut from the same cloth.
It most certainly is true. There was never a bad vibe during the whole session. Things can get pretty heated in the midst of it all but these guys were all laughs. One of the things that I’ve learnt working at The Warehouse is that the bigger they are, the nicer they are. And they don’t get much bigger than AC/DC.
As I said previously, most of the time it seems to all come down to whether or not a band has something to prove. Attitude usually comes from insecurity. AC/DC was incredibly personable and easy to communicate with.
I think that Black Ice is a great album. You could say that I have a biased opinion though. I loved every minute working on this record. Not only for the music but also for the people involved. All and all, I believe that Black Ice is very creative and young sounding. AC/DC’s gone through decades without succumbing to the fads. My general thought is that Black Ice is very refreshing and a great addition to their amazing discography.
Brendan O’Brien most certainly is a fantastic producer. He managed to capture the essence of each song within seconds, which seemed to throw the session into high gear. The productivity and morale would stay high. This is possibly why, as I previously stated, my opinion of Black Ice is that the album is refreshing. The songs were never overworked. I’ve witnessed other bands contemplate a song’s structure to the point where it’s life was choked away. We’ve all bought albums after seeing a killer show of a new found band only to be utterly let down by a recording that didn’t do justice to the performance that had just been witnessed. Brendan caught this performance and for this reason, Black Ice feels real.
My top 3 AC/DC albums would have to be: 1-High Voltage because I feel that this album has set the tone for the future of the band. It’s the album that introduced me to AC/DC and to that style of music that never veered too far off it’s path. In addition, I’m a huge Bon Scott fan! 2-Back In Black definitely contains the highest concentration of my favorite AC/DC songs. If I were to make a compilation disk, it wouldn’t differ too much from Back In Black. 3-Black Ice for obvious reasons, it’s the only album where I’ll keep memories of the band. It’s a great record but it pales in comparison to the visions I get when I hear each song. Smell is supposed to be the most heightened sense to trigger off memories but no odor could possibly give me flashbacks like this Black Ice can… well possibly cigarettes.
I think it’s great that AC/DC has such a huge French fan base. I truly believe that music is the common denominator to brink the gap for all languages and cultures. Websites like highwaytoacdc.com really put this into perspective.