Posts Tagged ‘Christian Cummings’

Recording Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

July 14, 2008

Recording Nirvana Part 4: Smells Like Teen Spirit. Deconstructed by Butch Vig
July 7th, 2008 by Christian Cummings

The “coupe de grace” that killed crappy metal, this song and the recording of Smells Like Teen Spirit changed the face of music. In part 4, Nevermind producer Butch Vig again solo’s out sections of the multi-track, showcasing the vocals, the solo, and the energy. Truly awesome insight into an infamous song. Also, I dig how Kurt’s voice sounds like he’s been gargling acid by the end of the track.

Even though Pro Tools seems to be up in the mix, I’m glad to see Butch is still working on his SSL.

The video for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Nirvana-the recording of “Something in the Way”

July 13, 2008

A big tip of the cap to Christian Cummings who saw that I had posted one of his earlier Nirvana recording blog posts and he let me know some more were up. Be sure to check out his site: He’s got some great videos of different artists in the studio as well as tips on how to make your own recordings sound much better.

Recording Nirvana Part 3: “Something In The Way”
June 16th, 2008 by Christian Cummings
In part 3 of this series of YouTube videos, Butch Vig again addresses what it was like to record and produce an album for Nirvana. Well worth a watch for Nirvana fans and recording professionals alike, it gives us another deep dose of insight into the world of recording a classic record, and what it was like to be part of their creative process.

I find it interesting how Butch really doesn’t dive into much of a technical conversation about the process, which is something that seems to be common with many great producers. Not that they’re not concerned with it, but they seem to devote more energy into focusing on the soul of the song, and finding a way to make it translate.

As a producer myself, I believe it vastly more important to focus on the song itself, what makes it special, what the artist is hearing in their head and what emotions they wish to convey. It’s only by understanding this vision that I’m able to then correctly apply my technical knowledge.

Nirvana performing “Something in the Way” on their MTV Unplugged special from 1994.  Audio quality isn’t very good, but it was a great performance.