Full production, mixing, mastering and session recording (drums, guitar, bass, keys, vocals). Song and album production - anything from simple singer/songwriter vocal/guitar arrangements up to full-band arrangements. Songwriting collaboration, track editing, music consultation services too. Over 30 years of recording, performing and engineering!
I am an independent producer, mix engineer and session musician offering remote services to take your music project to the next level. Top-flight mixing, world-class sounds, great performances. Everything from demos to fully produced album projects. My goal is to deliver high quality tracks that will be competitive with commercial releases in the same genre or style - in essence, a fully finished product. I'm not happy with the result until you are! I can work with many budget levels, please inquire for pricing on your particular needs.
-Mixing, mastering, editing, comping, vocal tuning, drum alignment/replacement
-Real acoustic drums performed specifically for your song or project (electronic sounds and samples available as well)
-Guitar, bass, keys and vocals performed and recorded to support song arrangements
-Songwriting collaboration, music beds for top-line writers
-Recording and music gear consulting
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
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14 Reviews - 3 Repeat ClientsEndorse JD Stefan
An excellent producer, JD is painstaking and timely. I am a repeat client and would readily recommend him to anyone.
An excellent producer/engineer/musician. Able to manage/realise the artist's perception of his work in a clear, concise, and musical master. In my case, this is my second effort with JD. That says it all. I would highly recommend him.
JD worked a 10 song album for me. He worked with me on each song and added what he thought would help the song. When my female singer left he brought in some singers to help complete the album.
He's very professional and completed songs in a timely manner.
I would recommend him to anyone looking for help with their music. He is worth it.
JD is an awesome producer! He has wonderful ideas that take your song to the next level! JD is lovely and super talented! I will definitely be working with him again and would recommend him to anyone. :)
A sound professional. Openminded and accommodating. Would recommend highly.
JD is an extremely talented musician an mixing engineer. He managed to get my song, sounding exactly how I imagined it in my head and also made a perfect sounding mix to boot. I would highly recommend him. :)
Very good to work. listens to what i want on my songs'
JD was awesome to work with! Great studio, quick process, and the editing went smoothly. Everything was delivered promptly. We will definitely use him again.
JD took a scratch guitar track and vocal line and turned it into an A+ rock track. He nailed the isntrumentation and built out to the song to perfection. Would definitely recommend him to anyone.
JD worked and added suggestions to my song. Thought he brought out the kind of song I wanted. Easy to work with. Got what I wanted.
Thought JD worked well on my project. Knew what was needed in my music, even though i worked my own arrangement. Made my music sound better and made my song better. No fuss no muss.
I needed someone to understand what i wanted and he delivered.
This guy is serious. Trust him.
I dropbox trax to JD: acoustic guitar, vox and bass. He takes those trax and adds drums, keys, guitars and sometimes backing vox. I end up sounding like Tom Petty, The Eagles, or Steely Dan. Think I'm overstating? Listen to anything at soundcloud.com/spike-connor
Thats me on vox and bass, everything else is JD, including production, mixing.
Interview with JD Stefan
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I have many favorites but I remain very proud of the work I did with the band Skyward Down. We wrote the album "The Absence Of" in about 3 months and never did any sort of copy/paste - we treated the DAW the way you would an analog tape machine, everything was performed until we got the best take and performance. I am really happy with the sonics of the album and I performed all the music components (guitars, drums, bass, keys, etc.). I also produced and engineered the entire album. I am also proud of the Tandem Rain recordings I have done with my songwriting partner in that pursuit (country). Like Skyward Down, I wrote, performed and recorded all the musical elements and instruments.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Often people tend to think the computer does everything and in my case that couldn't be less true. I perform every part I add to a production using an actual instrument (with keys sometimes there are virtual pianos or synths but performed live on a keyboard). Drums are not programmed unless the song calls for it or if the client requests. It seems though that some assume that everything just gets programmed into the computer and that's not an accurate perception. It takes time and focus to create and track parts that will fit the song appropriately. It also takes time to dial in the right sounds and tones for the track.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask questions! Make sure you and and the provider are going to be on the same page and are the right fit for your music. Explain your goals and vision in detail so that you'll get responses from providers who are well-suited to deliver on your vision.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Probably my '52 Fender Tele Re-Issue, my Starclassic Performer Birch drum kit, my main guitar pedalboard, Mesa Mark V :35 and some way to record and listen to all those things. I'd need a truck.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing guitar, drums and bass for over 35 years and have over 30 years of studio and live performance experience. My start was on piano and I continue to play keys as needed on arrangements and in live shows. This musical background combined with my 30+ years in computer technology has blended seamlessly into my world of production.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I think that when it comes to performance I always have a little bit of an edge to things somewhere whether in the guitar, drums, mix or whatever. I'm a fan of creating parts that fit the song but I do like to drop in little bits that make the song fun to play (and listen to) as well. When it comes to mixing I strive for balance and interest. Style can be important there of course but in the case of mixing my style is to deliver something that satisfies the client will translate to the real world.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I tend to focus the bulk of my work primarily on country, rock, americana, alternative, indie, singer/songwriter and blues or alt-country.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Based on rough demos from the client I will ask them what their vision and goal is for their song. Once I understand where they want to go with things I begin a set of scratch tracks to demo my ideas for the track and to make sure we're aligned in the vision. Once those rough tracks are approved I then move on to recording more final versions of the parts and proceed with mixing and mastering if part of the original production agreement.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run a DAW-based studio using Pro Tools and Logic via an RME interface augmented with a Universal Audio Apollo Twin over Thunderbolt and a Behringer X32 via ADAT (for drums). Neumann and Yamaha monitoring, various other preamps, a wide variety of guitars (Fender, PRS, Gibson, Gretsch) and amps (Mesa Boogie, Fender, Dr. Z) and a Universal Audio OX are also widely used. A large selection of guitar pedals and plugins also complement productions and there are two Tama drum kits (Starclassic Performer Birch and a Starclassic Performer Birch/Bubinga).
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I've worked in both. I prefer digital for the workflow and because I can work very quickly and efficiently. At this point I think you can use analog gear to capture audio but record and mix digitally and get the best of both worlds. At the end of the day though, those who are fans of music and the listeners probably don't care what the approach was to the recording - only the result matters. Not many people hear a song and ask what microphone was used on the vocal. A great song connects for many reasons, analog or digital aren't usually part of that equation.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will encourage you not to leave something in a track that bothers you or makes you cringe when you hand your CD to someone for the first time. If something bothers you, let's address it. I'll give you a great-sounding, commercially competitive finished product (if that's your goal, of course).
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to work on music! I love the diversity, it may be playing country guitar on a song in the morning and heavy metal drums in the afternoon followed by a songwriting session at night. Wherever I am in the process whether it be mixing, tracking, performing or what-not, I savor every moment. I love being in "the zone" where a whole day can go by without my noticing.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Can you fix (insert part here) in my recording?" -Probably, but you'll be much happier if you simply do it again and record a better performance. Editing is part of the deal these days but it's much more enjoyable to spend production time recording great tracks instead of tuning vocals or having to edit drums. "What do I need to do to make a successful album?" -Great songs, perseverance and the dedication to deliver great performances on the recording. Plan ahead and double or triple your time estimates. If you think it'll take 2 months it'll take 6. Know when to stop tweaking and let go.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: -What is your goal for this recording? -How much time have you allowed for the project? -How well do you have your songs rehearsed? -Are you flexible to suggestions that could improve song arrangements? -Are you serious about your music and willing to work hard for it?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: There are many but I think collaborating with Steven Wilson would be an incredible experience. I feel a kindred spirit there, I admire the work he's done and his artistry.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Have a vision. Listen to what the song tells you and what the artist wants to achieve and it'll help guide your path to a great result.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Understanding the client's vision for their project and delivering on it. I'll do pretty much whatever is needed for the song to make the artist happy.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I've become adept at understanding a client's vision or the vision of the writer/artist and am able to translate what they hear in their head to something tangible that they can play back on any audio device. My stylistic versatility contributes the right amount of performance to a track - knowing when not to play is just as important as the notes that are played. I work in context - the song is everything and should guide the process.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Those who do it for the passion and love of music are always inspiring to me. I've had the opportunity to work with legendary engineer Al Schmitt and it's amazing to see how passionate and excited he remains in spite of his long career in the music industry. I love the art of creating not only a great song but also the process of crafting the sounds and sonic canvas to convey the song in its best form.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Many of my production clients are singer/songwriters looking for full-band arrangements of their songs. I add everything from drums, bass, guitar, keys and extra vocals to bring the song to its full potential and reach their vision.