WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
Will Putney is one of the busiest people in heavy music today, having worked on some of 2019’s biggest releases, including albums from: Knocked Loose, Stray From The Path, Counterparts and still finding time to release one of the best deathcore albums of all time with Fit For An Autopsy’s The Sea of Tragic Beasts. It’s amazing how he finds the time to fit everything in, but he feels like it’s a much easier process when he’s recording his own music than working for other bands:
“I used to worry about the perception of being judged harder because it’s my own art and my own production work at once, but over time I’ve learned to use those sessions as an outlet for [me, and not really care about how it will be perceived.”
“I used to worry about the perception of being judged…”
Despite perhaps finding it easier however he is still constantly busy, having had 4 days off in total in 2019, because “It’s just one of the waves right now where I have these great opportunities to work with bands I love, so I just had to go full on.” It certainly shows, with many of the albums he’s worked on in 2019 being up for various album of the year nominations, especially A Different Shade of Blue by Knocked Loose, and his own Fit For An Autopsy’s The Sea of Tragic Beasts being lauded as one of the best deathcore albums potentially ever.
In terms of Will’s involvement in the entire recording process he says he prefers being part of a record from the earliest possible stages, but “it’s also nice to just mix a cool band that’s already completed their album, and learn from outside production of my own.” His view of the role of a producer is as someone who can completely make or break a record – albeit not for every single band, because some have “their own extremely impressive visions for records where [an excellent producer] is not a necessity,” but for a lot of bands “an outside mind with the right understanding and skill set can really take a song from good to great.”
“an outside mind with the right understanding and skill set can really take a song from good to great.”
As one of those producers with a long history of taking songs from good to great Will has worked on albums with Counterparts and Stray From The Path so many times that he has become an honourary member of both of them, and in his own words: “I get called the extra band member a lot from some bands.” It is a flattering position to be in, but also “It comes with responsibility, I live and die with my guys. Our successes and failures are intertwined.”
Despite being an incredible producer, everyone has to take inspiration from somewhere, and Will Putney’s is an ever expanding sphere, but he said some of his earlier ones were Andy Wallace and Converge’s legendary guitarist Kurt Ballou – especially his approach to extreme music. His feeling around inspiration is that “if it affects you and it’s good, you try and understand the how and why, you learn, you improve, you apply.” Incredible advice for all creatives from one of modern music’s best producers.