Foo Fighters took home five statues at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, including prestigious Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance honors, winning for an album produced entirely using a 32-channel API 1608 console. For its Wasting Light album, the band went back to basics, switching off the computers and tracking and mixing to tape via the all-analog API console, with the help of engineer James Brown and producer Butch Vig.
Nominated in a total of six categories, Foo Fighters won for Rock Song: “Walk,” Rock Album: Wasting Light, Rock Performance: “Walk,” Hard Rock/Metal Performance: “White Limo,” and Long Form Music Video for “Foo Fighters: Back and Forth.”
In his acceptance speech after the band received the Best Rock Performance award, frontman Grohl said, “Rather than go to the best studio in the world down the street in Hollywood, and rather than use all the fanciest computers that you can buy, we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine.” Commenting that winning the award “shows that the human element of making music is what’s important,” he continued, “It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer, it’s about what goes on in here” – pointing to his heart – “and it’s about what goes on in here” – pointing to his head.
Wasting Light debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart in April 2011 with first week sales of more than 235,000 copies. Vig, who had last worked with Grohl on Nirvana’s Nevermind album two decades ago, said, “The API sound is great for rock. We drove the 1608 and colored the album with the pleasing sound of its subtle distortion.” Less than a year later, the album made a clean sweep of every rock category in the Grammys.
At Brown’s request, the API 1608’s expansion slots had been outfitted with sixteen API 550A three-band EQs, eight API 550b four-band EQs and eight 560 graphic EQs prior to recording. “The 1608 had a way of gelling the mixes,” said Brown. “I can’t exactly put my finger on why or how, but the reality of it was pretty undeniable.”