Randy Kohrs is a Grammy-award winning engineer, producer, mixer. As a top session musician on dobro and lap steel, among other related instruments, he has played on over 600 albums for artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Little Big Town. A chart-topping artist in the bluegrass/Americana world, he has released five albums of his own.
Randy is the owner/engineer of multi award-winning Slack Key Studio, a full-production facility with high-quality modern and vintage gear in a uniquely hip setting. Whether you are looking to record a full album, a scaled-down song demo, or need to overdub vocals or instruments onto an existing production, we can accommodate. If you would like to have Randy play or sing on your album, he can overdub the tracks at Slack Key or travel to the studio of your choice in the Nashville area.
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Interview with Randy Kohrs
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Jim Lauderdale's "Bluegrass Diaries" and Larry Cordle's "Duets" records. Both have incredible songs with incredible guests ranging from Garth brooks to Alison Krauss. The primary artists being some of my favorite people who I very much admire, sure doesn't hurt, either. The "Bluegrass Diaries" earned the Grammy and let me know that anything was possible.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A record for Shefton Kash, one for Jason Deutsch, another for Josh McKee, Geoff Hamm, Kathy Joy Bell and Heath Loy at the moment.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both because a hybrid rig is capable of so much more than one or the other.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My care button is turned wide open 110% for them and their music.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: It's diverse musically and I get to do music that is challenging to record.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Customer-What does a single cost? Me-How much you got? Nah, in all seriousness, I sit down with them and spend a good solid afternoon letting them know the whole process and how that I intend for it all to go down.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People hire me to sing and people hire me to play. Rarely are those people hiring me for both jobs. Many don't realize I do both.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If your budget is tight, cut fewer songs and do them right instead of doing a full length recording poorly and rushed.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A Telefunken U-47, RTZ 9762 and Telefunken V-72 preamps, RTZ 1549 eq, and a RCA BA-25.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been a touring musician most of my life from age 14 on. I moved to Nashville at a young age and toured the world several times with very talented people. I started Slack key Recording Studio in 2002 and it is now my main focus.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Free floating to produce what the artist/client envisions. I very much like clean and detailed recordings filled with dynamic range and the kind of clarity that you don't get from hyper compression recording tactics.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: The hungry artists that are looking for their sound and leaning on me to help them find it. A hungry artist tends to do their best work when they are hungry for success.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Try to persuade your artists not to use their friends who aren't session musicians. Nearly 100% of the time, those friends cost the artists way more than if they would have called the best and priciest session musician in town.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Country, Bluegrass, Blues and singer songwriter material. I have been able to touch on a lot of genres and keep an open mind to all music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Picking the right session musicians for the job and digging into an artists soul and encouraging his or her best effort.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I try to give a solid framework and cohesiveness and the sprinkles on top of the cake. In a world full of people buying singles, I still strive to make a cohesive record with a method to the madness consistent throughout the recording.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: That varies as much as the artists I produce do.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: A very modern and vintage hybrid digital and analog setup. Modern gear like RTZ Audio, Ingram Engineering, Edwards preamps, Great River side by side with 1930's-1960's preamps, eq's and compressors. A Tango Smart console sits in the middle of my mix position, with the rest of my gear wrapping around me so I don't have to leave mix position to turn a knob. 100+ mic collection of vintage and modern flavors from 1939 to the present as well. I am in the process of restoring a late 1940's RCA console that will be in commission here soon. It will be converted to stereo and set up much like the Sun console in Memphis was. All the gear can be found here: http://slackkeystudio.com/Gear.html
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Far too many to scratch the surface.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Either simple dobro/slide instrument overdubs or start to finish full production tracks.