It’s no secret that we here at Gear Gods are huge fans of Kurt Ballou’s engineering and musical work (see last year’s CreativeLive Studio Pass course with Kurt that we presented, for example). I have a very personal relationship with his music, and feel that he’s done some of the great records of our time over the last few years at his God City studio in Salem, Massachusetts.
In a time where on one side of the coin you have cookie-cutter tech/spreadsheetcore bands, and on the other you have insane overbranding by “cool” metal and hardcore bands, Kurt and his studio stand apart. What’s so phenomenal about his recordings is that although you can break them down by their component parts and say that this or that thing makes a Kurt Ballou record, his style as a whole is always in service of the voice of the music itself.
Kurt’s story itself is also pretty inspirational. More and more about it has trickled out over the years, but the short story goes that Converge were a band for more than ten years before they started to do “big things.” Kurt was working a 9-5 average joe job as a biomechanical engineer and was laid off after corporate restructurings, right around the time that Jane Doe came out. He took his severance package and used it to open God City, and over the next ten years honed his craft and built up a formidable discography.
Our friends at Party Smasher Inc. took some time recently to talk to Kurt about his life, career, and outlook, and the result is must-watch content. Check it out: