Dave Eringa’s journey began at 21 - he was a tea boy, and met a young band called The Manic Street Preachers, who were recording their first indie single.
“It was a very old school way of hitting it off,” he laughs. “They needed someone who knew where a D chord was on a Hammond, and that was me! [laughs] So when I say I played keyboards on it, that’s probably a slight extension to what actually happened. In retrospect, the Manics were enormous outsiders: make-up splattered punk from the valleys at a time of Manchester, really; and I was a sort of long-haired, clueless metal kid from Essex, working in a cool studio, and not realising it was probably inapprorpriate coming in with Kiss and Guns N’ Roses t-shirts. Maybe they liked the outsider element!”
Eringa recalls the time that The Manics wanted to record their second record; they wanted it to sound very polished.
“They were after a half Guns N’ Roses, half Public Enemy sound, but Nirvana’s Nevermind had kind of hit, and everything in the rock aesthetic had changed,” he reveals. “That had been bad luck for them, and they were quite happy with how [the album] Generation Terrorists sounded. I think they wanted someone they felt was a peer, and could be a team member. I had continuously lied to them about how much engineering I was doing, so they asked me to do a track, which went well, and that led to demos. It seems weird in today’s environment, but Sony then asked me to produce the record!”
Eringa is a producer who sees himself as an extension to the band, rather than the ‘60s ‘elder statesman’ type.
“That’s very much my school of production: I am trying to realise the vision of the artist, and immersing myself in becoming the fifth or sixth member of the band,” he says. “The idea of an album being a snapshot of a band in a moment in time... It’s quite a romantic old notion, now, but if you can capture that moment of excitement, of recording, then you can really connect.”
I ask Eringa if there was a moment during that journey which particularly stands out to him.
“The watershed was when James [Dean Bradfield, Manics’ frontman] played me the monitor mix of A Design For Life, which I hadn’t produced, of course; I remember thinking, ‘holy shit, this is another level!’
“And then when we did If You Tolerate This, we all loved it, but none of us thought of it as a single; it’s about the Spanish Civil War, it’s jerky and weird, with no electric guitar until two-and-a-half minutes in! We made it as a b-side, actually; and then Rob Stringer - their A&R guy at the time, and now President of Sony – came down to Rockfield [Studios] in Wales, we played it to him, and he said ‘that’s the single!’ I remember thinking ‘you’re mad!’; I always loved it – but it’s still an odd single choice!”