U2 And R.E.M. Engineer Talks Universal Audio Gear

The Irish musician, engineer, and producer Garret “Jacknife” Lee is probably most known for his work with worldwide rock stars U2 and R.E.M. But he also recently did the radio mix for The Black Keys single, “Tighten Up,” and mixed the great Walkmen track, “Juveniles.”

In an interview with the iconic gear manufacturer, Universal Audio, Lee says it was U2’s The Edge that recommended his services to Michael Stipe. Lee went on to co-produce both Accelerate and Collapse Into Now with the band.

Lee shares insight on both legendary rock acts in the interview.

About U2, he says: “They were very patient, and it was a fun project. Yeah, they’re pretty driven, which is always good for an artist.”

He also reveals the secrets to recording R.E.M. — “Weather is a big factor… it’s got to be warm for recording. It’s got to be a good atmosphere in the city. Food’s got to be good.”

For R.E.M.’s newest album, Collapse Into Now, Lee talks about the different studio locations for the sessions: initial tracking sessions at New Orlean’s The Music Shed and Berlin’s Hansa; mixing at Nashville’s Blackbird, as well as one additional vocal session with Stipe at Athens.

Lee also discusses his aversion to stuffy English studios, preference for rack gear over recording consoles, and how he annoyed the engineers at Blackbird for preferring plug-ins to vintage hardware while mixing Collapse Into Now.