by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
Westend Recording Studios is releasing its second compilation showcasing Kansas City music – this time stepping away from hard rock and heavier sound to give way to the local indie rock scene. “Amplify KC Vol. 2” debuts May 22, and features bands The Conquerors, Toughies, The Whiffs, Momma’s Boy, The Cave Girls, Rev Gusto, and Katy Guillen & The Girls.
“Amplify KC Vol. 2” was produced, recorded and mixed by Justin Mantooth at Westend Recording Studios and mastered by Mike Nolte of Eureka Mastering. With “Amplify Vol. 1” highlighting the heavier side of the Kansas City music scene, Mantooth said the focus of Vol. 2 was more of dirty, indie, garage rock sound.
Mantooth said the main goal with these compilations is to highlight the area talent and promote Westend Recording Studios as well as the diversity of his work as head engineer and producer, working with bands such as Bummer, Radkey, Mac Lethal, and Hyborian.
The decision to shift gears for Mantooth was one of necessity, not wanting to be tied exclusively to one genre or sound.
“I enjoy a lot of music,” Mantooth told CMN via email. “More than that I really enjoy how a lot of different music sounds. I don’t want to be pigeonholed into being the ‘heavy-only’ producer. I do really enjoy making things big and nasty for sure. But I also really like working on different styles. I’m a fan of old school-sounding records, particularly things of a dirty or garagey nature. So what I plan on doing with these compilations is show my diversity as a producer.”
While Vol. 1 had more than 40 submissions to be featured, Mantooth said he contacted bands he thought would fit the esthetic he was going for sonically on Vol. 2. The recording process was quick, with bands recording their tracks in six to eight hours.
The seven-song compilation features very unique songs, and the quality is astounding. Mantooth described the process of going from the studio to the finished product as a combination of gear, skill and what the bands bring to the studio.
“Well first you need a good band with a good song. Period,” he said. “I love nice equipment and it makes a difference for sure. That being said, you could give someone the most expensive carpenter tools available and they might not be able to build a simple box. So the tracking and mixing engineer is crucial. Another thing that is overlooked is the sound of the actual rooms things are recorded in. A real acoustically-designed studio will make a difference.”
With each “Amplify” compilation he produces, Mantooth said he hopes it helps expand the music community in the area and displays the talent and diversity of smaller cities like Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas.
Westend has been in operation for nearly 30 years. Mantooth said he has a focus of trying to reintroduce up-and-coming musicians, and these compilations are a big part of that, along with his sense of humor.
“I’ve been doing this for nearly 15 years and I am still relentless in my goal of just making the best sounding records I can for my clients,” he said. “Oh and yes Mantooth is my real last name.”
The recording, mixing and mastering was offered free to all of the bands. The compilation will also be free in digital form on Bandcamp. Download and stream “Amplify KC Vol. 2” here. Visit the Westend Recording Studios website here. Visit Mantooth’s website here.
Check out “Amplify KC Vol. 2” below: