Ask A Producer: KURT BALLOU On Differences Between Producer and Engineer

One of the most important distinctions in the art of recording has, over the last fifteen-or-so years, done a total 180. As album budgets sank, recordists have adapted by gradually taken on multiple roles. Tape operator, recording engineer, studio proprietor, producer, mixing engineer, mastering engineer – with the exception of the latter, these jobs have been morphing into one.

Kurt Ballou, one of my favorite modern recordists (Converge, Kvelertak, High on Fire, etc), still believes in the old distinctions. He rarely considers his work as “producing” an album, despite his sonic imprint. So we trecked up to his God City Studio in Salem, Massachusetts, to discuss the differences between engineer and producer, along with other topics.

Kurt and Converge recently re-released a redux version of You Fail Me, which is available now.

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Max is a senior editor and producer of Gear Gods and member of the collective Party Smasher Inc. He studies jazz composition and improvisation in New York City.