The Foo Fighters’ newest, “Drugs at Midnight,” just isn’t a product of the pandemic. Though the band was holed up in a home recording it — a rented property within the hills above the San Fernando Valley — COVID didn’t play a task for the reason that album was accomplished forward of the March 2020 lockdown. And whereas followers needed to wait extra-long for its delayed launch (the final Foo Fighters album, “Concrete and Gold,” got here out in 2017), they received in return the shortest full-length within the band’s catalog, clocking in at 36 minutes.
One would suppose that having the good thing about time would possibly immediate one other go at music making — with the intention to handle the difficult, restrictive and, for a lot of, lonely instances. However as producer Greg Kurstin tells it, the Foos didn’t change a factor. What that they had in “Drugs” was a ready-to-tour onslaught of arena-friendly rock, accentuated by the addition of three feminine backing singers (together with frontman Dave Grohl’s daughter, Violet, who contributes vocals), percussion by David Bowie collaborator Omar Hakim and the occasional string ensemble. It’s not precisely new terrain for the Foos, however the album doesn’t undergo from being overly acquainted, both.
Kurstin, a seven-time Grammy winner (twice for producer of the 12 months), who’s labored with Adele, Maren Morris and Beck, amongst many others, talked with Selection about how the album took form.
Are you able to describe the arrange in the home the place “Drugs at Midnight” was recorded?
We received to essentially experiment with all these bizarre areas in the home — we’d arrange the drums in the lounge or, for “Disgrace Disgrace,” within the stairwell in like a three-foot-by-three-foot house. We performed with the sounds, attempting the guitar amp in a single room or the snare drum in one other; the blending console was up within the bed room. … You’d arrive at the home and a few folks could be hanging exterior. We had a kitchen there. It was actually enjoyable to have this relaxed surroundings.
Taylor Hawkins in a stairwell will need to have been loud as hell.
You would hear him by the floorboards. However sonically, it was actually cool — the best way that the drums mirror off the couch; and the image on the wall; and the railing; going up the steps, the place we positioned the mic. … All these little issues gave it a novel drum sound, which you’ll be able to’t actually get anyplace else.
How had the strategy on this album advanced from “Concrete and Gold,” which you additionally produced?
I really feel like we’ve gotten to some totally different territory on this album. In my expertise from the final one, Dave would herald a guitar riff and that might be the seed of a music; we develop it from that. However this one was coming from the drums quite a bit. Like “Disgrace Disgrace” began as a drum groove. Dave would say, “I need to do one thing like this,” and he’d drum on his legs together with his fingers, or type of sing the beat. Then he would develop that into this wonderful music. It was actually cool to see that evolution. … We additionally had Omar are available and play all this cool percussion. So we received into lots of layering of the rhythmic components. There’s virtually a dance component to a number of the beats, that feels very totally different from earlier albums.
That sounds virtually old fashioned.
It was type of old fashioned. A whole lot of us come from that — the punk rock days. To squeeze the band right into a home has its challenges technically. However having the ability to layer lush choir vocals — these are the issues that Dave needed to get into. The vocals are like a principal hook of the music, slightly than the guitar.
Barbara Gruska is without doubt one of the vocalists, and he or she’s additionally an achieved drummer, proper?
She’s unbelievable. There are at least three good drummers in that band. They’re lined.
And there are three guitarists, too — Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Grohl.
Three nice guitar gamers. For individuals who love the Foo Fighters and their sound, the guitar is simply such an vital component of that. However “Disgrace Disgrace” really has the least quantity of guitar most likely on the entire album.
Guitar gross sales grew massively through the pandemic, and now you possibly can hear riffs throughout songs by the likes of Machine Gun Kelly or Blackbear and even Harry Types. Are we experiencing a comeback?
For certain. And I simply labored with Nice Van Fleet, too. I’ve observed that in pop and rap music, there’s this emo guitar component, and I’m actually pleased about it as a result of, for a second, it was such as you have been taking this enormous danger by including a guitar.
The album’s delay and the COVID-impacted dwell business hasn’t appeared to decrease pleasure for this mission.
I’m very pleased about that. However it could have been attention-grabbing if the Foos got here out a 12 months earlier, as a result of I really feel like they’re such a dwell entity. Having the ability to carry out these songs is a crucial a part of the puzzle. Hopefully we’ll get there, however for now, I feel we’re simply ready patiently.
You’ve been on a streak of Grammy triumphs and nominations for a lot of the final decade. The place do you retain the seven you received?
They’re on a shelf within the bed room.
Wow, that’s a reasonably intimate relationship together with your Grammys.
Yeah, I prefer to cuddle; watch a film collectively. It’s all very romantic.