The Melvins were one of the bands that influenced the dirty Seattle sound known as the grunge explosion of the mid 80s. The band just recently working on its 25th album, Nude with Boots, and still maintain their distorted, grinding characteristic sound.
Engineer Toshi Kasai has been with the band since 2002 and has used Shure microphones to capture the buzzing tones on every album since Hostile Ambient Takeover.
"When I was 20, I stopped wanting to be in a band because I liked various kinds of music," Kasai recalls. "But, I still wanted to make music somehow, so I thought being an engineer and producer was the perfect job for me. After I worked at several studios and on a number of projects, I became chief engineer at The Hook studios in LA. While there, I became a good friend of Adam Jones, and he introduced me to the Melvins.
"The music they create appeals to me, because it mirrors my own taste. We all lean toward being a little more catchy, but still experimental. Despite what you may think, the Melvins' approach is precise in its method. All of their actions lead to a finished product without much waste. I believe that's a better way, as it gives the project more concentration, and lets me focus more as an individual as well."
Kasai frequently uses Shure’s Beta 56A, Beta 57A and Beta 87A models frequently used during The Melvins sessions. "The great advantage of these mics can be found in their polar patterns," Kasai confides. "Being supercardioid by design, you get great isolation, especially on drums. The Beta 87A is a great high-hat mic."
A Shure SM57 was also used to capture frontman Buzz Osborne's vocals "It's able to capture a very aggressive sound," he adds. The mic allows him to feel like he's onstage in the studio, because that's what he uses live.
"I use Beta 98s as my effects mics," he reveals. "I've placed these mics in all kinds of weird places to get what I'm looking for, like inside an empty water tank for example. That turned out really silly but I liked the sound. I also put one into a metal pipe once and recorded drums and vocals. It made a natural flange effect. You can hear the results on Buzz's vocals on the song 'The Stupid Creep' off of Nude With Boots."