An Exclusive Interview with Artist, Musician, and Uber Producer Logan Mader
There’s some sort of quote out there in the world that basically says, “Everyone puts on their pants one leg at a time, but once that task is done, a few people out there spend the rest of their day doing epic levels of awesome shit.” That’s Logan Mader. He’s a very accomplished musician who has been in Machine Head, Soulfly, and Medication and has done some incredible production work with everyone from FFDP, Dommin, Gojira, and many more (Wiki has all those goods for you so go look.) I recently sat down with Mr. Mader while he was in Denver for the day to find out what he is currently up to:
What are you working on right now?
Logan Mader: As far as recent projects I’m working on there’s the Gojira EP, I worked on their last record as well, and it’s really interesting because it’s a charity project. It’s just a four song EP and its Gojira songs with guest vocalists and all the proceeds will go to Sea Shepherd, all the money goes to them and everyone is doing it for free. Sea Shepherd is a save the whales foundation and they had a show called Whale Wars it’s those guys: Paul Watson, who was one of the founding members of Greenpeace. Sea Shepherd are really militant protectors of sea life and they put their lives in danger. It’s really cool because some of the crew are Gojira fans and are all about Joe’s (Duplantier) activism. He bought a new boat, it’s really badass, it looks armored and it’s called Gojira. It’s a really cool project because it’s nice to be a part of a charity working for a good cause that I believe in. Gojira is amazing, I’m a huge fan, and I always like to work with them and I really love Joe as a person he’s a really nice guy. It’s cool because Max Cavalera is a guest vocalist, Devin Townsend did some amazing parts and Randy from Lamb of God did parts on one song. Everyone loves Gojira and everyone loves Joe so it was really easy for him to pull this fabulous dream team together.
You were speaking about Channel Zero earlier before the interview. What’s going on with them?
Logan Mader: Mikey Doling from Snot and Soulfly is their new guitar player. It’s a weird thing that the band has never played in America. They have never broken out of Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. They have toured Australia and have a following there, but they are a really really amazing band. They disbanded many years ago and got together for a reunion show and the ticket sales went crazy. They sold out six nights in a row at the AB in Brussels which holds over 2000 people so they sold 12,000 tickets in two days and this is after being gone for ten years. It inspired them because a lot of the fans in the crowd were kids who weren’t even old enough to go to their concerts when they were playing before. They are a really great group of guys. Some jobs are just like going to work and getting it done and then from time to time you get projects that are really just amazing life experiences like working with Channel Zero.
What band are you in Denver for?
Logan Mader: It’s an exciting project that I got to work on recently called Murder of Crows. It’s amazing. I think a lot of big things are going to happen with this project. It’s got everything and its all ready to go. It’s a sick line up, they look amazing, they sound amazing, the singer is a star he has a really great voice and a unique look and a strong presence. Yeah so that’s why I here right now, I am going to watch their showcase and see about taking it to the next step.
So before you take on a project what are you looking for?
Logan Mader: Well like I was saying, some jobs are great life experiences, and the reason I am in music and the reason I love doing what I do is because you get to meet great new people and make new friends and be a part of magical moments in people’s lives that really mean a lot to me. A lot of the work I have done lately is like Murder of Crows, Channel Zero, and Gojira. I’m very lucky to be doing what I do.
What can a band expect when they are working with you?
Logan Mader: They can expect nothing but the best. (Laughs) I do all my own engineering, all my recording, editing, mixing and mastering. So they can expect high quality of performance across the board with all aspects of recording based on what I do and you can tell what I do. Another thing you can expect is that I don’t try and make a band sound like me in the production. I like to make a band sound good, but like themselves, and I think I do a pretty good job of that because when I listen to different projects I don’t hear a common thread of similarities through all of them. I don’t try to attempt to just put my stamp on something; I try to go freestyle when I am working with sounds, or what the song feels is necessary, I let the music tell me what to do.
Is there any sort of process you use when working with bands?
Logan Mader: I have a way and a process when I am working with bands that aren’t signed. First you get the songs, you get the production and you make sure the band is all good live and has no weak links. It sucks because sometimes I have to come in and say, “Your drummers not going to cut it, I mean you can keep him, but I’m trying to take things to the next level and everything has to be right.” I’m not an A&R guy but I know how they think and I know how they see so I have to look through their eyes and listen through their ears at a project and think about if they are going to buy it.
What’s your take on where the music industry is headed?
Logan Mader: I’m starting to shy away from the traditional record label thing in some ways and I’m trying to look at some other ways to go. There’s other ways to do it. You’re probably not going to sell very many CDs, but people are always going to want to see live music and want to buy merchandise. There are companies like Red Bull who are doing a lot of creative investment into music and they’re not a record label but they have tons of money. More money than any record label does right now. There’s interesting new ways to evolve with the changing industry, the dying industry, and instead of just surviving and extracting blood from dinosaurs that have been bled to death find new ways and find new blood.
Okay so where will the music industry be when all the hands are played out?
Logan Mader: Well I think the giants are going to come crashing down eventually or they are going to morph into something other than the traditional distribution warehouse, CD marketing, music sales and content sales. I think it really depends on the future of physical content and I kind of suspect that big companies are going to lean towards membership driven streaming music to where you don’t possess the MP3 or CD. You get to be a member which gets you a login code, so you can listen to their entire catalog or whatever they let you listen to, whenever you want. But you don’t get to have possession of it. I mean that’s one way to stop piracy but I really don’t like that idea too much. I don’t see how it can work yet, maybe someone is working on it, and I kind of get the sense that someone is. I heard Apple might be trying to buy Pandora which started out as a pirate site and then became so big that they made deals with all the copyright owners and now it’s a big platform. But I’m sure CDs will be obsolete soon, and DVD players will be gone and all your music will be played from a device either hand held or on your computer. I don’t know where it’s all going to go but I think that artists need to think about new ways to generate revenues that don’t necessarily have anything to do with selling their music. Build up a community and artists can really do a lot on their own. If they are really motivated they can make shit happen. Like an unknown band getting a big placement on a TV show or something like that can happen for an unsigned band. That coupled with a really good feeling of community online. A good fan base, a good database and a community that follows them the bigger it gets is a valuable asset to have. You can sell ad space and become sponsored to make your money and do your music. You will get your money from Coca-Cola and Red Bull instead of a record label. And then touring: if you’re good enough you will make money. The music will go on and on and on and there will always be good artists coming in and old ones dying but how it monetizes in the future nobody really knows. It’s an interesting time, kind of revolutionary.