After the interview with Charles Duff (MATRIXXMAN) it came about time to interview another person who was involved in final part of production of newest depeche MODE album – Spirit. Brian Lucey was hired to do the mastering of Spirit. We’d like to present his view of sound of the album and modern problems of sounding & mastering of the records.
Karolleks: What is your definition of mastering these days ? What is it, what is it’s role and importance?
Brian: Mastering on the artistic side, is about connecting the artist to the widest audience in the deepest way possible. Enhancing the production by balancing musical timelessness with immediate impact.
Karolleks: What kind of challenge was doing the mastering on Spirit? Was there anything special about it, anything different that you never encountered before?
Brian: No real challenge, just a great record with a great team, fun work.
Karolleks: Why does mastering on vinyl differ from the one on CD? You did the mastering part of Marylin Manson album and those two were noticeably different from each other. Can we expect the same from upcoming depeche MODE album?
Brian: Vinyl tends to be more dynamic and overall more conservative, by necessity of the physical limitations of that medium. I would expect a couple db more punch on the vinyl, no dramatic changes. Most of the changes are you own playback system getting into the loop.
Karolleks: Does the band have the input in how does the mastering is done? I mean, did they come to you with any objections/ideas or did they just go along with your work?
Brian: Usually I present my work, and the decision makers come back with revision notes. None here. Sometimes I am given a ref track or notes up front. Not this time.
Karolleks: What is your view on the so-called ‘Loudness War’? Why is it present and what have changed throughout the years in mastering to let that happen?
Brian: Humans are driven by fear or love… or some combo of both, usually. Fear of not being as loud as others is not new. Vinyl had physical limitations and digital does not. Louder=better is the ape brain, so we have to learn around that. Dynamic motion is factually better emotionally. I’m usually not bothered by people’s needs for volume as my clients tend to have good taste and not go way over the line. There are interesting challenges when pushing the limits, and I enjoy that element of modern music. This record [MODE2Joy: Spirit] is loud enough, definitely louder than the 80s, but not smashed in a modern/crazy way.
Karolleks: Thank you a lot for your will to talk to us! That’s a great honor and a pleasure!
Brian: Thanks for good questions and I hope You love the record!