From Successful Artist to Producer: Hutch Harris

Vortex Music Magazine

As The Thermals began to wind down, Hutch Harris found himself producing records with Victor Nash at Destination: Universe! Working swiftly and on the cheap, he's already spent time behind the board for Deathlist, King Who and many more.

Victor Nash and Hutch Harris at Destination: Universe!: Photo by Jason QuigleyVictor Nash and Hutch Harris at Destination: Universe!: Photo by Jason QuigleyFifteen albums a year is an impressive track record for any established producer. Hutch Harris did it in his first year on the job.

As frontman of successful indie-punk band The Thermals, becoming a producer wasn’t really part of the plan. “It was something I’d never considered,” Harris muses, “then randomly three people asked me to produce records for them all at the same time.”

Working with engineer Victor Nash at Destination: Universe!, Nash, whose band Point Juncture, WA had toured with The Thermals 10 years prior, encouraged Harris to keep the records coming.

“Victor was like, ‘We should keep doing this,’” Harris recalls. “‘You can bring in artists and bands who want a record done. You produce, I’ll engineer.’”

The timing seemed right. The Thermals hadn’t released a record in more than two years, and in April, the group officially disbanded. “A lot of the business came from me just posting on The Thermals’ social media saying, ‘This is what I do now, and I have access to this studio.’”

Destination: Universe! is a cozy, science fiction-themed studio in a barn on the south side of Johnson Creek. “There’s probably a thousand or so paperbacks on the shelves,” Harris says. “That’s what he uses to deaden sound... piles of sci-fi novels!”

For Harris, workflow is everything. “These are budget records done quickly,” he says. “The band unloads, and we’ll have drum sounds and be tracking usually within an hour.”

At this pace, preproduction is essential. Harris encourages bands to make full demos before coming in. “Write, and then rewrite like I always did,” he advises. “Practice as much as you can, because it’s free. Anything you don’t do before you go into the studio, you’re paying for in the studio.”

One year in, Harris and Nash have already produced records for King Who, Scarves, The Permians, and solo efforts for two members of Summer Cannibals, including Jenny Logan under her Deathlist moniker. Here’s to the next 15.

Listen to sounds from Deathlist below that were recently recorded at Destination: Universe! by Hutch Harris and Victor Nash. Then explore the economics behind running a studio in a changing city while reading about notable spaces, producers and engineers who span all genres of the local scene in our Recording Issue.

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