Section TOOL


Genre isn’t really important for this Canadian record producer who prefer to work on music that has a strong identity and shows elements of originality. So he has done lots of different styles of music in studios all over the world for diverse artists such as Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Muse, Kid Rock, Stone Sour, and of course Tool on Ænima, Salival and Lateralus.

Salival: First, can you tell how you started your career?
David Bottrill: I started in 1983 at Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton, Canada. It was owned by Bob and Daniel Lanois. We had mutual friends and I obtained an interview. We agreed I would intern until a job became available, which it did in about 6 months. When Dan went to England to work with Peter Gabriel, he took me with him to assist on the sessions. When we finished that record, I stayed working with Peter for the next 9 years.

And one day, the Tool guys sent you some of their music. As this was more direct and you weren't familiar with that kind of music then, what made you decide to meet them anyway?
At first, I thought they had me confused with someone else, but when I heard their music I thought they were a great band. They had been inspired by some of the work I had done, and they thought we would be a good working match as they wanted to do something a bit more unique than a standard Los Angeles metal record.

What did you think when you first met them?
They ran me through a rehearsal. I loved both their new music which was to become Ænima and their strong work ethic.

Did the combination work from the start?
We got along right away and had very few conflicts while working together. It was a great experience. As with every relationship, there's a building of confidence and communication, but that happened quite quickly and we began the recording soon after that.


Did they really work everything out before getting into the studio?
I know they rehearsed and wrote for a long time before going into the studio, and most things were crafted before. When it came time for each musician to do their parts, they were prepared and came to work promptly and ready to play. That's not the case with a lot of bands.

I've read that for the recording of Danny Carey's part, he chose carefully the different elements he used with each song, and disposed them following certain mathematical precepts, etc. Was it a hard job for you?
I don't know what you read, but though he may have some of that in his mind, we recorded the drums and electronics in the usual fashion.

And can you speak about Justin Chancellor's beginnings, as he was new in the band?
Justin, though he was first a fan of the band, is a talented and creative musician in his own right. From very early on, he was contributing to the compositions.

About Maynard James Keenan, his lyrics are as meaningful as Tool's music is powerful. Did you discuss with him of his writings?
Maynard would tell me his concepts and his lyrics, and together we would record the vocals in a way as to realize his vision.

Five years after that, you came back with Tool for Lateralus. Have you been quickly aware they were about to go one step further with this opus?
Yes. When I heard the songs for the first time, I knew they were creating something special, more than just an album of songs.

Before Lateralus, Maynard also asked you to work on the first album of A Perfect Circle, but it didn't happen. Do you remember Billy Howerdel's project as he started to worked on it during the production of Ænima?
Yes. He's a very creative musician. He was working on a few projects at that time, and one of them finally became A Perfect Circle.


It wasn't the same budget for Lateralus, and there was more time for it. What did that change compared to the previous album?
We worked much in the same way. The money was not an issue.

How did the pressures from all the litigations they knew at the time affect the recording?
It put a bit of a strain on the band, but as many would have given up, Tool seemed to come out of those troubles stronger.

Do you remember suggestions you made, accepted or not?
On Lateralus, I helped more with the structure of some of the songs. I remember campaigning to lose a section of the song "Lateralus" that Danny liked a lot. I think he still is a little sorry it didn't' make it into the song.

Lateralus is a very complex album. Did any elements block the process, and did you have to drop some of them?
Actually, Lateralus was in some ways easier to record than Ænima. The lines of communication were open already between myself and the band, and it was generally a smooth process.

And are all references and artworks surrounding Tool something that appeals to you?
Generally, yes. Adam works very hard on the visual representation of Tool.

Both Ænima and Lateralus are considered as the best albums Tool made, and are still at the pantheon of heavy music. Did you anticipate how they were going to be received? And how do you consider them with hindsight?
I had no idea, but they are two of the projects I've done that I'm most proud of.


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