Interview: Madball Guitarist Talks Production, Hardcore Touring

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Seemingly, for most hardcore bands, constant touring is the way to build your following. And for years, New York’s Madball has been following this blueprint to a T – taking their explosive live act to audiences worldwide. And since 2001, Madball’s guitarist has been a chap who simply goes by the name of Mitts, who is also making a name for himself as a producer of other artists. Here, he chats with Alternative Nation about how he got involved in production, the latest band he is working with in the studio, and Madball’s future plans.

Besides playing in Madball, you also produce bands. How did you get involved in production?

After high school, I went to school to learn audio engineering. So after school, I worked in a studio for the first 3-4 years of my 20’s. It was a top class facility, one of the top 2 or 3 in New York City back then. The list of stars who came through there was insane. Aside from working there, if one of the rooms was empty, they would let you do your own projects, for learning purposes. So there I was, 20 years old, getting access to literally millions of dollar’s worth of the world’s cutting edge technology. I engineered and produced a few demos for friends of mine from the NYHC scene……Sub Zero, Darkside NYC. Being at that studio made me realize I’m more cut out for the musical side of the recording process. I didn’t have the discipline to put in the time needed to become a top notch engineer. I was more interested in playing at that point, which makes sense cause after that was when I ended up playing for bands…..eventually ending up in Madball when I was 29.

Who are you currently producing?

I’m currently working with All For Nothing, who are really cool hardcore band from the Netherlands. We’ve toured with them over the years, and their manager is a friend of mine. He recommended me to them, and they were open to the idea. It’s going really well so far. We’re about 80% done with tracking, and we’re gonna finish up next month when I can get back over there, after our next Madball tour in Europe.

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Are you always on the lookout to potentially produce other acts?

I am definitely on the lookout for more projects. I always say “there’s only one Rolling Stones”, meaning that I’m not gonna play on stage into my 70’s. We have no plans to stop Madball at this time, in fact we’re going full steam ahead right now, but it’s not gonna go on forever. Producing is something I can see myself doing well after I’m done with playing and touring.

Do you strictly produce hardcore, or would you be open to producing others?

Hardcore and metal is what I know best, but I listen to all genres of music, so I would definitely be open minded to working with other styles.

How can artists get in touch w/ you to talk about possibly working together?

As far as getting in touch with me, my social media is pretty accessible……I answer anyone who would message me. On instagram I’m mittsmadball That’s probably the best way to follow me, cause I don’t need to approve a connection, anyone can follow and/or message me.

Madball continues to be a hard-touring band. How is life on the road?

Life on the road with Madball is about as good as it could get for a band at our level. We’re certainly the working class of touring acts. There’s no charter jets or champagne parties, shit like that. We’ve done this a long time, so I think we’ve found the balance between comfort, and overspending on tour. We are very lucky to be able to make a living doing this, so we’re not gonna be frivolous and blow our money on huge fancy tour busses, or first class airline flights. We leave that stuff for the pop stars…..

Future plans w/ Madball and otherwise?

Future plans for Madball? We’re currently working on what will become our 9th full length album. There’s ideas going around, and I’m thinking that in the new year, we’ll start getting together and bringing those to life in the form of completed songs. Aside from that, everyone knows where we’ll be — on the road, coming to somewhere near you!

First photo courtesy of Sponge Pix.
Second photo by Joost van Laake.

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Bio: After having his articles posted from other outlets on Alternative Nation (and before that, Grunge Report) for years - heck, he was even interviewed by GR back in 2009! - Greg Prato finally began contributing articles to the site in 2014. He has written for various sites/mags over the years (Rolling Stone, All Music Guide, etc.), and is the author of quite a few books. And as evidenced by such titles as Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon, and Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets, he also has a deep fondness for alternative rock n' roll music. You can check out info on all of Greg's books here, see what he's up to on his Twitter page here.