Maor Appelbaum the mastering engineer behind Faith No More's 2015 record Sol Invictus speaks to us about remastering the classic album We Care A Lot.
Were you a fan of the pre Mike Patton albums before mastering the reissue of WCAL?
I knew some of the pre Mike Patton era songs. But working on this reissue gave me the possibility to listen in more depth to what they first created and rediscover some lost gems.
The process was very educational and interesting for me as I could imagine myself travelling in a time machine, hearing the local music scene and the influences that made it into what it later became.
What are favorite tracks from the album?
We Care A Lot, Why Do You Bother, The Jungle, Greed, Pills For Breakfast.
How do you approach working with a remastered album differently than a new recording such as Sol Invictus?
When you are Re-Mastering a project you've got to remember that the fans have a certain picture in mind of how it already sounds. So the first thing is to do as little damage little as possible, and then improve the sonic outcome as much as possible without alienating the sound to a place where the fans feel like it's going against the production. It's not as a easy task as it might seem. It's very easy to go overboard in just a matter of small changes.
When working on a new album, the audience doesn't know what to expect so you can start from a fresh pallet and bring a new perspective without the need to compare to what the fans already know. So they respond differently with more options for being creative.
Did you want the listener to experience this record as in the present day or as if they were back in 1985?
The goal on this remastering was, to make it sound better and give the fans an opportunity to enjoy the songs even more. Today we have better tools to work with in order to enhance the older recordings and give fans the possibility to enjoy the songs they know more.
Holding such a amazing piece of musical history in your hands as the original tapes must have been rather exciting?
Billy had found the original tapes in great condition so they had them transferred to digital and we worked off that. I personally didn't hold the tapes in my hand - Billy did - That being said, it was still exciting for me to actually work from the original transfers. Today it's very rare that remasters are actually taken from original mixes or original masters, so this was a very rare occasion where I got to work from the actual original mixes transferred to digital.
This record stands out in FNM's catalog due to its raw sound. Did you try to retain as much as this authentic sound as you could in the remaster?
The music and the energy are the most important thing for me to keep. On a sonic level I can keep it raw but enhance the energy and open up what was missing back then.
I didn't want to cut frequencies for the sake of cleaning it but rather emphasize the aggression and the musicality. The remaster is clearer for sure but the rawness is still there and its even more kicking on the low-end and the mid-range.
Were Matt or Bill involved in the mastering process for this record? With it being quite a special release did the band have particular expectations?
Bill and I have been communicating during the remastering process and made sure it met with the band's sonic expectations. Once everyone was happy and approved it was sent to pressing.
Do you ever feel pressure knowing your work will be the last treatment on a record?
Yes. It comes with the territory, and yes there is always the inner pressure and not knowing if the artist will like it or not. I am always hoping for the best and working hard to make it fit with what the client wants.
To me its all about communicating and getting it right - we need to make sure it works within the realms of what we have, meeting expectations, figuring out whats the best thing to do and to deliver it on time.
You have now mastered the very first FNM album and the latest! Can we expect this relationship to extend to future FNM releases?
It's been a great blessing to me, I am very appreciative of this and honored. I would love to continue working with Faith No More on mastering and remastering everything they will release in the future.
I can just wish for that and hopefully they will be interested in doing so as well.
Check out Maor's website
Musicians interested should contact Maor here.