Drummer Mark O'Connell of Taking Back Sunday“That guy is seriously a genius,” says Taking Back Sunday drummer Mark O’Connell. The “genius” O’Connell speaks of happens to be Eric Valentine–the producer of Taking Back Sunday’s third album (and Warner Bros. debut), Louder Now–whom O’Connell notes as the source for the disc’s stunning drum sounds.

Spending three days in Los Angeles tracking the drums with Valentine was a memorable experience for the New York–based drummer. According to O’Connell, Valentine placed four different microphones around and in the bass drum and utilized other seemingly unorthodox engineering techniques. “He put me in this place that he calls the torture chamber,” says O’Connell. “It’s this really echo-y room, and I recorded the last song of the album in there. The effect that the room gave the drums is insane.”

O’Connell is also quick to credit Valentine for his recent improvement. “He definitely pushed me to push myself,” the drummer says. “He made me a much better player than I was.”

With Louder Now, O’Connell has proven himself as a forerunner in the genre, and he intends to keep his momentum running high. “This is something I’ve always wanted,” he says sincerely. “I really don’t know what I’d be doing with my life if I didn’t have this.”

Waleed Rashidi