We recently had a privilege to sit down with producer/engineer/mixed Sean Beavan, known for his work with such top acts as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Maynard James Keenan, Slayer, Guns N' Roses and more.
We wholeheartedly recommend checking out the full chat here for a string of neat behind-the-scenes stories. As for the attention-grabbing bits, Sean discussed working on Slayer's "God Hates Us All," remembering what was it like to work with Rick Rubin and the entire team Slayer.
"Slayer is heavier than heavy," he kicked off. "It's one of those bands where you have to do it right or else the fans will frickin' kill you, haha. So it was fun."
He continued, "It was really, really fun working with Rick. He's a genius. You can understand why he has done so much great stuff. Working with him, he doesn't bog down on minutiae details. It's always about what's actually important. Whenever he's not hearing something in a song, you sit with him for five minutes and listen to the song and you go, 'I know exactly what it is. I'm gonna fix it. Here we go.' It's pretty amazing.
"He listens like a fan. He's one of those guys that's amazingly able to maintain proper perspective. Working with him is really cool. It's like you never feel like you're being nickel and dimed over something stupid or if it doesn't matter. Everything he hits you with is like, 'Oh my god. Yeah, that will make it way better.' It's really good. It was really fun and I was really proud of those mixes."
Sean concluded, "My idea was to try to make it the follow-up to 'Reign in Blood.' I think we did pretty good with that."
Switching to NIN and the recording sessions of "The Downward Spiral," Sean shared some amazing details, saying, "They were crazy, all-night sessions. We'd work all night long at the Tate house [the Sharon Tate house where the actress and others were murdered by Charles Manson acolytes] and in the morning Flood and I would drink coffee and talk about stuff watching the sunrise 'cause we'd been up working all night. Every day was like that. You'd get up in the afternoon, played Prisoner of Zelda for several hours and work like maniacs all night long."
He continued, "It was intense, crazy and fun. I was working with Flood and Chris Vrenna and it was just a blast. Every day, Jimmy Iovine [Interscope record label executive] would send something new over to the house. One day it was John Lennon's Mellotron. I'm like, 'That's awesome.'"
Discussing frontman Trent Reznor's approach on "Hurt," Beavan noted: "Oh, man. Incredible. He's like a three-take only guy. He'll do three full takes of the song and then you're supposed to pick the one you like the most. You never go in and replace words. It has to be an entire phrase or an entire paragraph. He wanted the emotion to be pure."
Once again, it's way better to check out the whole chat rather than snippets. Full interview here. Also, if you're interested in some of our previous chats with renowned producers, engineers and mixers, check out Steve Thompson (Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Korn) and Dave Jerden (Alice in Chains, The Offspring, Jane's Addiction).