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SoundCheck: A heavy metal band from Springfield, Missouri pours their energy into the studio

Matt Loveland

For October’s SoundCheck, we’re bringing you a fun and spooky treat in the form of Transylvania. This heavy metal band features Trent Wilson, Chris Blades, James Craven, Mike Rumsey, Reed Herron, and Ran Cummings, the band’s vocalist who also works at KSMU. KSMU’s Jess Balisle sat down with Trent for a talk about the recording process for the band’s new upcoming record and Ran provided commentary later, which has been mixed into the interview.

'We made a decision that we weren’t going to rush this one.'

Wilson: So, when you walk into Nick Sibley Music, it’s sort of a picture of what you would actually identify as being a traditional recording studio. The control room is elevated and it looks down into the live room, which is this expansive, gigantic room with every instrument you could possibly imagine being in it.

Cummings: There really is every instrument imaginable in there. It’s not hyperbole.

Wilson: And the sound that you get when a live band is recording in there is just unpatrolled. You can’t reproduce that in a sterile bedroom. You just can’t do it. A lot of the personality of our recordings have always included the sound of the room that we recorded in because we do record primarily live.

We did a lot more production on this particular record than we have in the past.

Cummings: Tell me about it.

Wilson: Just because A) we wanted to, and B) we were afforded, I don’t know if should say afford the opportunity or forced upon the opportunity to have so much time on our hands in the last few years with gigs being so scarce and the world kind of being up on its head.

Balisle: I think that’s made a big difference for a lot of musicians.

Wilson: I think so, too. I think so, too. And we made a decision that we weren’t going to rush this one. We were going to work on it and do it slowly…

Cummings: Nailed that one.

Wilson: …and capture the best possible versions of these songs. And I feel like we’ve done that.

Cummings: God, I hope so.

Wilson: We definitely have, we’ve put a lot work into it. One song had over 600 vocal takes in it.

Cummings: The lead singer of Transylvania would like it to be known that that was sheer animal cruelty that was otherwise put upon him.

'It should be fun.'

Wilson: You know, working with Blades and I is not easy.

Cummings: No. No, it is not.

Wilson: He’s got probably the most accurate ear of any musician I’ve ever worked with and some of that’s rubbed off on me. I may not have the particular vocabulary to express what I’m wanting, but he can fill in the gaps and vice versa. It’s not easy recording with us.

The studio is my favorite part of being in a band. Period. It always has been, it always will be. I think that’s why I take it probably a little more seriously than a lot people do. And yes, it should be fun. It definitely should be fun.

Cummings: Six hundred takes!

Wilson: And Paul Carabello, the saint that has worked with us on these last two sets of recordings, he’s very patient with us, as anybody would have to be in order to work with the level of perfection, because, let’s be honest, we’re a local heavy metal band from Springfield, Missouri. Yes, I said that out loud. We are a heavy metal band from Springfield, Missouri. And, it can be a little taxing at times, especially whenever we’re like, “Oh, well that’s just a little out of tune, that’s just a little out of tune.” I imagine that Paul has left more than one night contemplating whether or not he made the correct career path.

Cummings: I am very much looking forward to hearing this record. One day.

You can catch Transylvania live on Studio Live Friday, October 14, 2022 at noon on KSMU.

Jessica Gray Balisle, a Springfield native, grew up listening to KSMU. When she's not wrangling operations and compliance issues, she co-hosts live music show Studio Live and produces arts and culture stories. Jessica plays bass in local band the Hook Knives. She and her husband Todd live with their two cats, Ellie and Jean-Ralphio, and way too many house plants.