Foo Fighters go back to basics with API for Grammy-winning album.
Foo Fighters took home five little gold gramophones at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, sweeping the prestigious Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance honors. The group’s Wasting Light album was produced entirely using a 32-channel analog API 1608 console by Automated Processes, Inc. Working with engineer James Brown and producer Butch Vig, the band went back to basics, switching off the computers and tracking and mixing to tape via the all-analog API console.
Wasting Light debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart in April 2011 with first week sales of more than 235,000 copies.
“The API sound is great for rock,” said Vig, who had last worked with Grohl on Nirvana’s Nevermind album two decades ago. “We drove the 1608 and colored the album with the pleasing sound of its subtle distortion.”
Less than a year later, the album made a clean sweep of every major rock category at the Grammy Awards.
At Brown’s request, the API 1608’s expansion slots had been outfitted with sixteen API 550A three-band EQs, eight API 550b four-band EQs and eight 560 graphic EQs prior to recording.
“The 1608 had a way of gelling the mixes,” Brown said. “I can’t exactly put my finger on why or how, but the reality of it was pretty undeniable.”
Nominated in a total of six categories, Foo Fighters won for Rock Song: ("Walk"), Rock Album, Rock Performance, Hard Rock/Metal Performance ("White Limo"), and Long Form Music Video for “Foo Fighters: Back and Forth.” Band leader Dave Grohl perhaps best summed up the group’s attitude toward the creative process and embrace of analog in his acceptance for Best Rock Performance. His full speech follows:
“This is a great honor, because this record was a special record for our band,” Grohl said.” Rather than go to the best studio in the world down the street in Hollywood and rather than use all of the fanciest computers that money can buy, we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine…
“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do.
“It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”