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Southern Culture on the Skids rocks fast (“Whip It on Me”) and furiously (“Certain Girl”) throughout Kudzu Records Presents. Covers transcend (“Devil with the Blue Dress On”). We recently spoke with SCOTS front man Rick Miller.
“We actually have two new records called Kudzu Records Presents and At Home with Southern Culture on the Skids,” Miller says. “Kudzu is half a reissue. The first six songs already were a box set of singles – three forty-fives on press-on vinyl.”
Alt-Country Specialty Chart: Explain how you recorded Kudzu.
Rick Miller: We recorded it on sixteen track two-inch tape, mixed it down to two-inch tape, which I edited. Then I drove the tape to Nashville. I had a guy there with an old Neumann lathe who cut the laquer masters from the tape right there. Then I took it to United Pressing and they plated it that day. That was an education in vinyl production. Everything was analog.
Vinyl keeps regaining popularity.
Yeah, We only did a thousand and those records sold out immediately. People started asking if it could be available as a digital download or a compact disc, so we added seven new recordings and put it out as a full-length album. We used the same artwork as we did back in 2003 except the insides.
Talk about who you worked with in Nashville.
His name is Randy Kling. Randy has this tiny place right on Music Row where we dubbed the tape on an MCI two-track. I sat there and watched him cut it, which was amazing. He was close to retiring, but his sons might do something now. I said, “Randy, you’ve cut vinyl and made masters for so long. What do you think the best sounding vinyl was?” His answer wasn’t what I expected.
And his answer was...
I thought he was gonna say, “It was those big, old 180-gram vinyls we used to make back in the fifties.” No. He said, “The best sounding vinyl is that really flimsy stuff we used to have back in the eighties.” He said the formula for making vinyl was perfect then. There may be people who say, “I don’t know about that.”
Like how some artists listen back through crappy sound systems on purpose.
Exactly right. That’s why NS-10 (amplifiers) are in every studio. You’ll have these beautiful speakers and really high tech monitors with two crappy NS-10s sitting on top. It’s like how we always had a CD player in our van, which was our final go-to (when mixing albums). We would burn a CD, pop it into the old Econoline van and listen on speakers that had coffees spilled on them. That was our bottom line.
I had an old Sony cassette player with RCA inputs for the longest time. I would hook up our big MCI board into it to listen to our records. People listen to music that way. Well, now they’re listening on crappy sounding ear buds.
You guys have always done vinyl, right?
Yeah, we did every record on vinyl when nobody was doing it, but now we can’t really afford it. Vinyl costs so much money and takes so long to make and sell because it’s way more expensive. I don’t know if people really listen to vinyl so much as collect it. Records all come with digital downloads now. I still listen to vinyl, have a huge collection and a nice turntable. Some people like me still listen to vinyl.
– Brian T. Atkinson
Artist: Becky Warren
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Album: The Sick Season
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Record Label: Self-released
Artist Website: beckywarren.com
Key lyric: “Me and these jeans, we’re out on the town – if the town is my house. If it’s not, then we’re back on the couch.” – from “Me and These Jeans”
- Brian T. Atkinson
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