Mark Neill Produces Black Keys Brothers In Muscle Shoals
Mark Neill--a Valdosta, Georgia, native--stands as a heavy in the music community. He used to play in a great band called The Unknowns. He runs Soil of the South Studios. Neill uses only vintage and state-of-the-art analog equipment, which conjures his own trademark sound.
Neill produced The Black Keys' latest album, Brothers, in Muscle Shoals at the legendary 3614 Jackson Highway studio. The R & B-blues based Brothers sounds killer, and to me it ranks as their finest collection. Neill has also worked with Rip Carson, Los Straightjackets, Deke Dickerson and Big Sandy and The Fly-Rite Trio among others. Look forward to an upcoming Swampland interview with Mr. Neill. Neill recently said this about recording Brothers in Muscle Shoals:
“Everything that you’ve read so far about this album, about it being heavy and dark, their best record yet, that’s not spin, that’s not jive, those were honest assessments from people who were involved. If I have any clout in all of this, which I hope I do after making really good records for a long time, I really do believe The Black Keys are unique in their being brave enough to make a record that is this emotionally raw. I will say emotionally raw, sonically it’s no more raw than ‘Keep It Hid’. This record can be summed up very very easily: they are more emotionally raw than they’ve ever been captured. Don’t think as a record producer I didn’t notice that that didn’t scare the crap out of everybody involved [laughs].
"Everybody involved is still like ‘Oh my gosh!’ Because it is that good, it is a good record. Maybe people will listen to it and say ‘Oh, I don’t know, I think Chulahoma is just as good’ That would be a compliment [to be compared to Chulahoma]. That’s what I was trying to go back to secretly. Just between me and you, it’s the truth. I mean, I can’t say that stuff out loud in front of their people because that will make you feel creepy, but that’s what I was thinking when I was doing it. If they could get as tactile, and raw, I mean really to the point where you’re right there within feet of their craziness and feel the heat of that craziness I would have done my job. Sometimes that is not fun to do [laughs] but it’s fun where I hear it later, I love it."
We look forward to the Mark Neill interview…