Al Kent Interview
Paper Recordings – Are there any parties that stand out or have influenced what you do?
Al Kent – Probably the biggest influence is one we did in Glasgow at a place called The Big Joint which is tiny and holds a maximum 100 people (and that’s pushing it!). We put Theo Parrish on about 2 years ago which was a revelation! I hadn’t heard much of Theo Parrish other than online stuff and he did a disco set for us.
Paper Recordings – Did he play records differently?
Al Kent – He was on vinyl so everything he played was straight disco records. I don’t know what he did to them but he played them so well and it sounded almost like new stuff. Then you’d look at the label and go “ah right” and it was an old record
Paper Recordings – Was he working the EQs?
Al Kent – He was but he also had 2 CDJ’s and 2 turntables that were always turning. You’d look and think “that’s about to finish” and then it didn’t, it was a record that was playing! It was just all over the place! It turned into one of those times when I was just stood in the box watching him, I just couldn’t help it, it was awe inspiring!
Paper Recordings – How was it recording the Million Dollar Orchestra?
Al Kent – It was hard work but immense fun!
Paper Recordings – I can imagine, how did you do it?
Al Kent – Initially it was just me, some drum beats, a guy playing keyboard and someone else playing bass who jammed along. Then I would edit the keyboard & bass parts until I had a groove going. A guy would also come in to play guitar and I would do the same thing with him until I had the backbone of track.
I developed it until we found ourselves in the studio. I met someone who had a full analogue studio and we were going to mix it there but decided to record another couple of parts until eventually it just snowballed! There were two guys who could play sax and could pick up any instrument and they also knew loads of musicians so we were able to get people in to do stuff.
The rhythm section was recorded traditionally with everyone in the room then everything else after that. Strings and horns were played afterwards and we just over dubbed them, each track was about 15 minutes long! Most of the process was editing which was to try and bring this stuff together but it was great fun.
Paper Recordings – Are there any producers or records that you would say have had an influence on you
Al Kent – The person I admire the most is Walter Gibbons. I take influence from him but don’t think I could ever get something to sound like that. Sometimes I think “I can get a Walter Gibbons here” but no matter how hard I try it just never seems to sound like him. I don’t know if he was a genius or insane or just really lucky but he has a certain thing.
Tom Moulton was more of a producer and therefore quite melodic and musical whereas Walter’s stuff was more aimed at the dance floor. But Tom’s stuff you can listen to at home it was more soulful.