Producer David Bottrill, who's helped shape albums by Godsmack, Tool and Mudvayne, is a little uneasy about his growing powers, which now include the signing of bands.
"I feel a little like I'm being seduced by the dark side," he joked of his deal with Republic Records to distribute his new Main Station imprint. "But I wouldn't do it unless I could trust the people I was working with. We had mainly the music and the musicians' best interests at heart, so we're not just a company machine that's putting everybody through the meat grinder trying to get something out on the market."
He was offered the deal earlier this year by execs impressed with his production work on the label's band Flaw and his successes with Godsmack and Tool, both of whom reached #1 on the Billboard albums chart.
The first Main Station signing is V Shape Mind, a precise, pounding and melodic band from Decatur, Illinois, whose singer, Brad Hursh, has been friends with Mudvayne's Chüd since childhood. The group's first single, "Monsters," features Chüd on backing vocals and goes to radio July 29. The album, Cul De Sac, will follow September 9.
"The sounds David gets from his records are f---ing incredible," said Hursh. "I knew we needed someone like him to take our music to the next level, and that's absolutely what he did."
V Shape Mind would fit nicely on a bill with Tool and Godsmack, but the band isn't necessarily indicative of the artists Bottrill wants to sign in the future. Since 1985, he has produced such diverse acts as Peter Gabriel, King Crimson and Silverchair, and he has no interest in limiting himself to metal.
"I want everything to have a strong identity and be varied," he said. "I'd like to sign lots of different things because I've done lots of different things over the history of my career."
Bottrill hadn't worked with any metal bands before Tool brought him on board for Aenima. The bandmembers were all fans of the work he had done with King Crimson, then after the success of Aenima, they brought him back on for Lateralus.
"I thought they were out of their minds when they asked me to do Aenima, Bottrill said. "But those guys decided they didn't want to do that record with a regular rock guy, they wanted to bring a different sound to what they were doing, and they liked the sounds on some of the records I had worked on and felt I could bring something that somebody who cut their teeth doing rock records for years would not be able to bring."
While Bottrill was in the studio with V Shape Mind, Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan asked the producer to work on the next album by his other group, A Perfect Circle, but their schedules didn't mesh. Bottrill said he's looking for additional bands to sign to Main Station and that he'll likely produce the next Mudvayne album.