Interview with Mike Marsh of Papermill Studio
Tuffgnarl was able to get some Q&A time from Tennessee based recording studio run by Drummer and producer Mike Marsh. Mike made his stand in the music industry while playing drums with Dashboard Confessional. Releasing numerous gold records and opening for bands such as Beck, Weezer, and Bon Jovi. He was later arranged to play on the Avett Brothers album I and Love an You by legendary producer Rick Rubin, became a fixed member early 2013, and is currently touring with them.
Somewhere in his spare time he has tackled the production side of things and launched Papermill studio.
Papermill recently released Radar vs Wolfs self-titled debut album.
Here’s a bit of what Mike has to say
Where did the name Papermill come from?
Papermill is sort of a pun on my solo projects name “Paper”. I recorded most of my last record there and I’m working on my new EP now. Papermill seemed fitting.
What got you wanting to produce others?
Wanting to produce records came to me when Dashboard Confessional started using big names for their records. I came to understand the title more and found it to be fascinating. I’ve really developed a passion on the sonic side. Engineering is an art form that can really be intimidating but once you get your first signal to come through it’s really addicting.
What producers do you pay attention to for tricks?
Working with Daniel Lanois on a DC record was a huge eye-opener. Most musicians know who Danny is and what a huge impact he’s had not only sonically and aesthetically but he’s an exceptional musician. The interesting part of being in the producers chair is that most of the big guys have their own engineers. Those are the real magicians. The guys with the know how to provide any producer with the color that they are on search of. Working with Mark Hewitt who is Rick Rubin’s engineer is always exciting to me. I got the pleasure working with The Avett Brothers on “I and Love and You” then again on “Volume III” their live record. I really think for me as an engineer, I really learn a lot from him. His roster is so huge! So many colors.
What was the first album you produced?
The first record I produced was The Agency “Turn” in 2005.
Are any of your artist touring? Or do you have plans for them to?
I believe Radar vs Wolf are making plans to tour very soon.
What was the first album you bought?
The first album I bought was Rush 2112 in 10th grade. That seems late but my mom and brother had tons of records. My mom listened to everything from Billy Squire to Diana Ross. My brother was also very eclectic with music preference, Led Zeppelin to Wasted Youth. The very first record I owned was “Who’s got the 10 1/2 inch Black Flag’s live record. That changed my life at 12.
What was your first band?
My first band was in 9th grade called S.I.N (strength in numbers) we thought we were a punk rock band. A bunch of skate punks with student model instruments. We were badass!
Do you have plans to record again with the Agency?
The Agency is such a big part of my life. It was the first musical identity for me. It’s always kind of alive for the three of us. It’s very possible but it’s all about time for us. Life is busy right now for everyone involved.
How did you line up with ‘A Penny for Jane’ and what was your position?
APFJ came by way of my very good friend and Paper bassist Craig Schlesinger. I was living in LA for a sad year and he was in Vegas starting this new band. They wanted a producer for their EP and also needed a drummer. It really just worked out perfectly.
Outside of music – do you handle any other mediums?
Once upon a time I liked to draw and paint.
Would you be interested in scoring a film?
I would love to score a film. It would be a huge bucket list item for me.
Have any drum companies picked you up as one of theirs?
Over the years I have been lucky enough to have been busy enough to acquire drum endorsements. It all started with Resurrection Drums. Then Truth Custom Drums. Both which I paid cost for. It wasn’t until Dashboard started climbing pretty high in 2002 that Gretsch, Zildjian, Gibralter, Toca, Vic Firth and Remo reached out. Great Drums but they were a tough company to feel passionate about as far as people once my A&R guy Tim O’ Neal stepped away. I spent a couple years at Ddrum which almost more for the press I was offered and received. However, my good friend Kevin Packard now with Ludwig was my guy at DDrum and he is awesome! Again, once he left… I followed his lead. That company was a mess! I have always been a fan of Sonor drums. Jeff at Resurrection Drums always made a big deal about the holy trinity… Gretsch, Ludwig and Sonor! I’m now a Sonor endorsee and couldn’t be happier. Jeff was right!
I am a proud endorser now of Sonor, Zildjian, Vic Firth and Evans heads.