In this year’s first episode of #HorrorStories, Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer and owner of Nashville-based mastering powerhouse The Hit Lab, Nathan Dantzler (Niall Horan, Teddy Swims, Kelsea Ballerini) speaks about the time when a record he was working on was sabotaged by an A&R manager.
#HorrorStories is a series where the world’s biggest producers, songwriters, and engineers unveil the most outlandish blunders of their careers — providing a much-needed reminder that even the greats make mistakes.
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That whole weekend I remember going home and just being so defeated because I thought we had made this beautiful piece of art, I thought it was amazing, and then it just wasn’t resonating.
Years ago when I was producing, there’s this band signed to record label that was about to get dropped. I knew the president of the label and so I told him, let me produce an album for this band, cheap. He gave us the green light and so then through the course of the next few months of making this album, every day the A& R would come to the studio and he would ask us to burn him a CD.
And then he was going to keep updating the president of the label. So we’re almost finished with this album. We’re super proud of it. We’re really pumped about this album and then I get a call from the president of the label that says, we’re pulling the plug. We’re not going to do the album and we’re all devastated.
We can’t figure out what’s going on. So then finally, I get a call from the president and he’s like, listen, man, can we get in the studio and maybe just see if we can salvage this thing? And so. he says, pull up this song. We pull it up. He’s like, huh, go to the next song. So we go to the next song, same thing, same thing.
And I said, can you play me what you’ve been listening to? And the A& R guy sabotaged the album and gave him day one tracking roughs and told him those were the, he never sent the president anything until the very end. And then he sent him our day one and so then I burned a new CD to the president of the album finished and he’s like, no tweaks, completely done.
Then it went on and sold a bunch of copies. And that was a emotional rollercoaster.