As we head into the Fall preview season, one of the most anticipated releases will be coming from The Rolling Stones, who are due to drop on October 20th. This is the Stones’ second record in as many years. After a few false starts and a 17-year release hiatus, they’re going back-to-back and it feels like it’s going to connect.
I’ve been reading up on it, and there are many lessons to learn from their process. First, they brought in fresh blood in the form of producer Andrew Watt. I’ve known Andrew for over a decade. He is a very talented artist who knows how to make remarkable music, as evidenced by his recent track record and winning the Grammy for Producer of the Year in 2021.
As a newcomer to the group, Andrew didn’t have any of the baggage that comes with a band that’s been together for 60 years. He set deadlines and kept the takes to a minimum with a focus on finishing and shipping the project post haste. After all, if this summer’s mega tours are any indication, the larger strategy of being on big stages is the core of the business now. It will be remarkable to see The Stones doing it at 80!
Andrew is a true student of the game and a superfan of The Rolling Stones. Proving that, he showed his enthusiasm at the recording sessions wearing the band’s old tour t-shirts as well as those of their spinoff projects like Richards’ X-Pensive Winos and Wood’s New Barbarians.
From a technical side, Watts also sourced vintage equipment from the band’s past to stoke the nostalgic vibe. Retro works.
For the studio nerds, Watt intentionally placed Richard’s guitars on the left and Wood’s on the right, the opposite of what a concertgoer would see but the exact way the band would hear itself on stage. He wanted the sound of this album to resonate in stadiums because that’s the audience they play for and, as I noted, that’s the whole shabang right now.
It’s all pretty poetic. The band hasn’t released music since losing their beloved bandmate Charlie Watts. Their solution was to slot in a young Andrew Watt, making him an unofficial member. A coincidence, I’m sure, but one which could make the creation and release of “Hackney Diamonds” that much more endearing and memorable.
Also published on Medium.