Audeze catches up with musician and producer Butch Walker

December 23, 2022

Audeze catches up with musician and producer Butch Walker

When asked to describe himself for this interview, Butch Walker said "Well I’m a singer. A songwriter. A producer and performer. And a dad and husband. :-)" Looking at his credits on Wikipedia, which include a veritable who's-who of American pop and rock since the late 90s, you can see he's being very modest.

 Butch Walker in the studio with his Audeze LCD-XC headphones

"They’re very true and balanced and not hyped. I hate hyped headphones..."  - Butch Walker
Here's our chat with Butch:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Hmmm. So many! I am proud of most of the records I’ve made for myself and for others. I’m particularly proud of the work I’ve done with Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Taylor Swift, but also and mostly records I’ve done that most people have never heard :-)

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

I’m a football coach for the criminally insane when I work with bands. I’m a therapist when I work with solo artists. And I’m my own worst enemy when I make my own records.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

I started with metal. That was my gateway to music. That opened the door to MTV in 1981 where I saw and heard every kind of music and was in love with all of it. Especially being a bored kid in rural GA. Later as a producer, I kinda used all of that diverse influence to make other people's records. It trained me for all styles of music production.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

So many. First concert was KISS. Then Van Halen. Then my guitar teacher was my inspiration. Then my band moving to LA when I was 18. Prince was a huge influence. Rick Rubin. Then a slew of singer songwriters like Petty, Springsteen, Billy Joel, Elton John, Elvis Costello! He was big for me lyrically.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

I think chasing a sound and not getting it is a big one but I’ve learned to change course and redefine it if I can’t find what I was going for. If you’re open to change, you won’t be as disappointed if you can’t get the one specific thing you were going for.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

I love all my guitars. Each one gives me a different source of inspiration when I pick them up. And my favorite Yamaha C7 grand piano named Blondie... I love my OX Box from UA. It changed guitar recording for me. It’s so good!

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Be patient. Be nice. Don’t be frustrated if it doesn’t hit right away. I was like 30 before I ever made a dollar doing music and I was 40 when I really started to figure it out. And don’t get any tattoos until you're 30.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I’m not scared to do most of my work on a song in headphones. I love hearing the stereo field right in my ears and I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing that when I take them off my speakers are going to translate pretty close. It makes me have a more intimate experience with building a song by myself. Also I like to have them on when the room is full of people. I don’t like working with people over my shoulder. I work best sometimes alone in my headphones :-)

Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?

I’m excited to tour on my new record. I’m also excited to be working out of my new personal studio space at our farm. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a big barn studio ever since I recorded at Bearsville in Woodstock NY many years ago. Dreams eventually come true!

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

Well I like the fact that I literally put them on after listening to my PMC speakers and I hear NO DIFFERENCE in the eq curve. They’re very true and balanced and not hyped. I hate hyped headphones. It makes me anxious to listen to music with all the highs and lows jacked up to make people hear music that wasn’t intended to be heard that way. Call me old fashioned but I would rather be in control of that myself.

Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I’m working on a great solo record for Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast.

Also have a record coming out for Morgan Kibby (M83, White Sea) and it’s called “Sue Clayton”. It’s incredible and dense.

Also toured my new record “Glenn” this fall and will jump back in the studio with more artists!

Out now:
Records from Wallflowers, Matt Nathanson, Jewel, Train.

Butch Walker's Audeze LCD-XC headphones