Band of horses and a studio legend’s old-school wisdom

Ahead of tonight’s big show at Metropolis, Band of Horses guitarist Tyler Ramsey spoke to us about working with classic rock producer Glyn Johns

Band of Horses

Seattle’s Band of Horses have settled into their sparkling Americana sound like it’s long-loved vintage leather. In the making of their latest record, Mirage Rock, their fourth, the quintet had studio assistance from producer Glyn Johns. If that name sounds familiar, it could be because he’s worked with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Eric Clapton and other major classic rockers.

“It’s hard to resist wanting to hang out with that guy for a while and hear his stories,” says guitarist Tyler Ramsey, speaking to me during a day off in Madison, WI. last week. “After spending some time and getting to know him, we started to learn about records that he was a part of by bands we’d never heard of. I’d go and listen to them and get into what they were doing, and some of them just blew me away. It was like being in a room with a living rock documentary.”

Johns’s influence is all over Mirage Rock, from the guitar sound (Ramsey was encouraged to rely less on effects than he had in the past) to the intrinsic sonic texture produced by his analogue technique.

“I’ve always preferred going to tape — there’s just something about it,” says Ramsey, who’s recorded solo material the analogue way. Band of Horses also flirted with tape on their last LP, Infinite Arms, recording a few songs live off the floor. In Johns’s hands, they had no qualms about going analogue all the way. (That sounds way dirtier than it was intended to.)

“[Johns] was involved in the actual development of some of those techniques, recording those classic albums that people over the years have tried to reproduce.

“He does things the same way he’s always done ’em, and getting to watch that, the simplicity of it… He’s got it figured out to the point where it seems like an easy process. But it’s not.” ■

Band of Horses play with opener Jason Lytle at Metropolis (59 Ste-Catherine E.) tonight, Thursday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m., $32

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