The longtime engineer of the legendary rock band, AC/DC, Mike Fraser has talked about their upcoming album, ‘PWR-UP,’ and unveiled the creation process of the project while signaling what the fans may expect from the band’s new music.
As you know, AC/DC is getting ready for their great comeback 6 years after their last studio album, ‘Rock or Bust.’ The band officially confirmed on their social media accounts that the departed members, Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd, and Cliff Williams returned, alongside the lead guitarist Angus Young and the rhythm guitarist Stevie Young.
After they’ve revealed the lineup, as well as the name of the album, AC/DC has released a teaser on their YouTube channel from their new song, ‘Shot in the Dark.’ The video, which includes the appearances of all the members, got over 40k likes and was commented by more than three thousand fans.
As each day welcomes a new update about the band’s new music, the Canadian record producer, engineer, and mixer, Mike Fraser, has opened up about Angus Young’s ideas for this album and said that its style is highly similar to ‘Rock or Bust.’
Fraser explained that Angus and Malcolm Young had written tons of songs before Malcolm passed away. So Angus’s got a whole treasure trove of ideas and riffs and all that. He added that Angus Young has probably spent a few years before he came in to do these record pooling ideas together.
Here’s what Mike Fraser said during the interview about the band’s huge comeback idea:
“At the end of the ‘Rock Or Bust‘ tour, I figured that was kind of gonna be it — they were gonna hang up their hats. They had kind of done a tribute to Mal [Malcolm Young], but it ended up kind of funny.
So I didn’t think they’d be back at it again. But Angus has got a lot of fire in his belly, and if he could possibly put it together again, he would have been the guy that did it. And he did.”
Fraser also revealed how they’ve stepped into the studio:
“I remember I got the call for this record, but no detail. I had no idea, walking in the first day of the studio, what was gonna happen — who the personnel of the band would be.
As far as I knew, Brian had retired, Cliff had retired, and with Phil and some of his problems he’s had in his home country [of New Zealand], who knew if he was even gonna be allowed out of his country.
So walking into the studio here in Vancouver the first day, I had no idea what was gonna happen. When I got there, none of the band had arrived yet, but a lot of their techs were there getting things moved into the studio and set up.
And one of the guys said, ‘Hey, you know what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I have no idea. I just know we’re here and we’re setting up.’ And he goes, he says, ‘Well, the whole band’s here: Brian, Cliff, Phil and Stevie, and they’re here and we’re ready to rock another record.’ So, man, it was such a shocking, awesome surprise. It was great.”
He continued and talked about the style of this album:
“I think Angus kind of came into this with a lot of ideas and riffs and not too many completed songs. But that was similar on ‘Rock Or Bust.’ ‘Cause him and Malcolm had written tons of songs before Mal got sick and eventually passed away.
So he’s got a whole treasure trove of ideas and riffs and all that. So he’s probably spent a few years before we came in to do this record pooling ideas together and all that, and then when he came into the studio here, he just sat down with a whole suitcase full of little demo things he had done.
And him and Brendan O’Brien, who produced the record, would sift through all the ideas and say, ‘Hey, that’s great. That’s a really good song. Let’s put that riff here.’ It’s just mostly all these great riffs and ideas Ang had. He had — I don’t remember exactly — maybe three or four songs sort of completed that they maybe adjusted, added a chorus here or something like that.”
Fraser added that:
“But yeah, it was just basically from a stockpile of all these riffs and stuff that Angus and Mal had put together over the years. So they had to sort piece the songs together before we’d record them. They’d probably spend a day or so doing that, and we’d come in, blast off the song.
And like these guys work, it’s pretty much live in the studio. What you hear is what they did, what you get. They fire up pretty quick. They all work really good together, ’cause they’ve worked together for so long; they’re a unit.
They try and get as much energy into the song as they can live in the studio, ’cause that’s what they are — they are just so great live. So, yeah, it was [pretty] much the same as ‘Rock Or Bust.'”
Mike Fraser also revealed some information about the sound:
“We never really discussed the sound, because they just have an iconic sound. So each record we just kind of try and do the same thing. Every record I’ve done with them, it’s always been the same amplifiers — Marshalls…
It just depends on what comes out. And sometimes a certain key or turning of the guitar will sound a certain way. We don’t try and overthink things. You’ve just gotta get thing ready, sounding as great as you can for when they come in and play.
They don’t sit there and play it for hours while you’re tweaking the sounds. You’ve gotta be ready to go, ’cause once they start playing, they can’t help but kind of just kick in. So you wanna get that on tape…
As an engineer recording it, I’ve gotta be ready for whenever they go, ‘Step up there in the studio and just push ‘Go’.’ So we don’t really put too much thought and planning into the sound, because they have a sound. It’s just a matter of capturing it.”
You can check out the rest of the interview here.