I'm obsessed with books, podcasts, interviews, etc about the creative process. Anything from articles on sleep habits, chemical consumption and other commonalities in creative people though the ages, to artists like Jack White discussing the benefits of intentionally imposed limitations, actor and comedian round table discussions, etc. Anything where the focus is on the journey and the intellectual and emotional tools of creation. Questlove has put together a great one here.
My first "studio" recordings were done using two stereo cassette decks, bouncing back and forth and adding takes with each pass. Moved on over the years through 4 track cassette, 6 track cassette, 8 track 1/4”, 1/2” 16, 1” 24, 1” 16, 2” 24 and probably other formats that I’m forgetting. That being said I’ve never had a particular allegiance to analog tape. I recognize the things that are good about it, but also that the mythology around tape spans from the well informed all the way to downright nonsense. I spend a lot of my spare time experimenting with gear and techniques, including a lot of blind testing to separate the useful from the fallacies. One area of the analog world that I do still find a lot of value in is recording and mixing with analog effects; tape echo / spring reverb / plates / physical space re-amping, etc. The built in inconsistencies, randomness, and tactile nature of a lot of these can add something really special. Once you get to know the way the knobs on a Space Echo or a particular spring respond it starts to be like an instrument in itself. And something about that process can steer you into making more defined choices and sticking to them.
This is the first album I ever purchased (back when Meijer Thrifty Acres had a record department). My musical knowledge up to that point pretty much consisted of my parents record collection (The Beatles, Helen Reddy, Nat King Cole, Nancy Wilson) and the mix tapes I made listening to KC Casem’s weekly top 40. If you’ve ever recorded vocal harmonies in the studio with me there’s a good chance I placed this glorious gatefold on a music stand in front of you as a part serious / part tongue-in-cheek source of inspiration. Most people see a track labeled "BG vocals" and assume that means background, but deep down I know what it really stands for.