Luke Combs Recalls Strict Studio COVID Protocols While Recording New Music


It's been an unprecedented time for many people, including the entire music community. Artists, producers, tour crews and many others have all been doing their best to make the music go on, including Luke Combs.

Combs just released the deluxe version of his 2019 album What You See Is What You Get, with several new songs, calling it What You See Ain't Always What You Get. The new deluxe version includes all 18 songs from the original album, plus five brand new songs including "Without You" featuring Amanda Shires and pandemic-inspired "Six Feet Apart."

Luke was recently a guest on iHeartRadio's "Inside The Studio" podcast, during which he opened up about what it was like to record new music during the COVID-19 pandemic while trying adhere to social distancing restrictions. He said that after writing his new music, and getting a good response from fans from having shared a snippet on social media, he was eager to get into the studio to properly record. Combs recalled, "I was like, man, we should just record this thing, with nothing else going on."

Combs' producer, Chip Matthews added, "Because there was a recording moratorium from Sony, we weren't supposed to be doing anything. And so I had to kind of go through and express to A&R what you wanted to do. And then I had to find a studio that was willing to let us in, which was really strict at that time. It was very insanely strict. And I think it was really, honestly, that I had been working with those guys and been with them in person. And I was like, 'Hey, can I get in to do this thing?' And when we first started talking about it, it was small, and they were like, sure. And then when we showed up that day, the owner came down and he's like, 'This is a lot more than I thought you were bringing in' ... We had a very lean crew and we were never in the same room with the musicians."

Luke remembered, "We never even entered the same room as them either."

Matthews added, "We got a separate space for Luke that was not even part of the main studio. And then, we had to submit protocols to the label, into the studio and then really kind of had to go on the down low because I think people were still kind of coming to terms with that we shouldn't be doing that. And, you know, all it took was somebody getting infected in that window. We would have been shut down on that for sure."

Combs also talked about his wedding to wife Nicole Hocking, which almost happened in a hotel conference room. He explained:

"We had to change our venue a week before the wedding, which was very interesting. And we actually didn't know ... we had two different venues and we didn't decide until the morning of the wedding. We were going to get married in Key West, and the city imposed harsher COVID regulations the week before the wedding. And so we were going to invite, it was going to be about 175 people at the wedding, and they wouldn't allow any gatherings over 50. So we had to cut from one 175 to 50, like the week before the wedding [and] find a new venue, find new hotels, get everyone that we still needed to be there, there. And then when we got there, there was a hurricane coming to the area, which up until the night before, I guess it was Friday evening, it was like 50/50. This hurricane [was] either gonna come over the right exactly where we we're at or it's gonna veer off."

He added, "It was either going to get married at this outside place or get married in the conference room at a hotel, which would have been terrible. So, luckily it missed us and we didn't have to do that."

Listen to Luke Combs' full iHeartRadio "Inside The Studio" episode on iHeartRadio

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