Given the reality of social media, it makes sense to “spread an album out,” says Sour Ops leader Price Harrison.
“Dropping a 10-song album can work,” Harrison adds, “but you always seem to move on a bit too quickly to the next thing. Some of the songs inevitably don’t get the exposure they deserve.”
Harrison moved at a judicious, purposeful pace in 2020 when it came to putting out new Sour Ops music. Last April saw the release of the single “The Sexy Sadist,” and in November, the Tennessee-based band issued its sixth single for the year, “I Want You Around.” Now those six songs, plus four more (among them “There She Goes”), are collected together as X, the latest Sour Ops album, due April 16.
“I have my own studio in Nashville, so I have the luxury of working on songs a few at a time,” Harrison says. “I consciously decided to make this album by mixing one song at a time. Melissa Mattey, who mixed the entire group of songs, is an incredible mix engineer, so we approached each song as an individual project.”
Singer-guitarist Harrison says he follows a specific method when working on Sour Ops music.
“Once I establish the best tempo for the song, I create a guitar guide track, one that captures the energy of the song,” he explains. “I will then mimic that feel on a scratch bass track and do a rough vocal.”
George Lilly’s drums are cut to the tempo and guide track set by Harrison, who says he almost always uses his early vocal tracks. Bassist Tony Frost is typically the last one to overdub.
Harrison references power pop and punk when describing some of the sounds and styles on X, and when it comes to studio equipment, he mixes the modern with the classic.
“I’m a bit obsessed with taking the ’60s garage formula and using current technology to render the final product,” he says. “Sour Ops is not a very nostalgic operation: I’m 100 percent on board with digital recording processes. Having said that, most of the sound sources are analog, including the hand-wired P3 Amplifiers that [technician] Kye Kennedy and I designed.”
While Harrison is looking forward to performing songs from X in a concert venue, he admits, “I think standing around in a tiny, unventilated club is still a ways off.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Photo by Price Harrison