The Pete Schweir Interview
Music producer and mixing and recording engineer Pete Schweir’s work is truly prolific. Having already worked on classic albums for The Who, Thin Lizzy, Paul McCartney and Wings, Elton John, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, and Kim Wilde, to name but a few… he was approached by EMI Records to co-produce Kim's first solo album - Kim Appleby - and the following months saw them work closely together to bring the songs she had written with Mel to fruition. Here Pete shares his memories from the project.
For myself and George De Angelis (who I co-produced the album with), our priority was purely to make a good pop record for Kim, and I was focused on supporting her vision for the album and nurturing her belief in herself.
I was always aware how difficult the process must have been for Kim, and I had this at the back of my mind throughout the project, but we had a lot of fun during the recordings and the mood was really good.
From the very start of the project, we all knew that we wanted to use as many real instruments as we could, rather than replicating the synthesised sound of the Mel & Kim tracks. (For example, on Don't Worry, we used the kick horns section, rather than using synthesized brass), and, looking back, it helped that we spent a lot of time in pre-production.
I don't remember exactly, but I think we spent two or three months working on the songs in George's basement studio before we went into the Metropolis Studios London... which was great as it meant that we were able to experimented on the sound and make sure that all the songs were in good shape before we went in to record the final masters. We really wanted to be confident that the album was ready before going into the main studio, and it was important to us that Kim was happy, and that we didn't feel any time pressure, George’s basement did the job (laughs)! That said, some of the tracks were more challenging. For instance, with Downtown Clown, I remember that George and I couldn't work out the best way to start the track off. Eventually, we tried the fade-in and it seemed to work musically, especially with the bass line going round. It just seemed more unusual. Also, with I’ll Be There (which was planned to be a single), I always liked the rough mix I did at the end of the recording, but we moved studios for the mix, from studio 'D' to studio 'B', in Metropolis. Halfway through mixing it in 'B', I wasn't happy with how it sounded, and so I reverted back to the rough mix, then did some "tweaking" to it.”
I wanted to give Kim success as a solo artist, and it was important to me to make sure that she had something to be proud of – and, of course, to then get the album into the charts - and I’m still really proud of my work. It’s tough for me to pick out a favorite track but, from a mixing point of view, the single, Don't Worry is definitely up there.