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
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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43 Reviews - 12 Repeat ClientsEndorse JD Stefan
As always, working with JD is a pleasure! Together we´ve been able to transform my ideas into finished and polished projects. Also, I´ve found my creativity grow throughout our collaboration. The project is always done on time and just as I wish for it to be. Thank you!
Great arrangement, jd! I would recommend him.
Another very satisfying experience working with JD, he just continues to amaze me with his musical skills, aural perception and professionalism. 100% hugely recommended!
JD is simply a master of his craft, his skills come in droves when it comes down to recording/producing live guitars and drums. He has a great ear for knowing exactly what's needed - plus he's a top level communicator and a great guy to know too! 100% most highly recommended, without any doubt!
Fantastic experience working with JD Stefan, this guy knows how to make magic with guitars, drums and incredibe sounding music production and I can't wait for our next project together!
One more song of mine JD has put to the next level. Great producer! JD is very talented, not only on drums but guitar. His lead is something you'd fall in love with. Communicating with JD is always great. He even gives you advices you're hungry for (many people don't do this).
I’ve worked with JD multiple times now and I’m perpetually blown away by his talent, speed, communication and technical skills. I can’t recommend him enough, a total magician behind drums, amazing guitars, he gets what you want, offers improvements when necessary. 5 stars all the way.
JD is not only very talented but also very easy to work with. He brought my songs to the next level. Highly recommended!
Oh my goodness. There is no word to describe how amazing JD is. My number #1 producer. I've done so many songs with JD and his passion for music is truly inspiring. He is so creative and gosh, my mind still tingling from listen to our final mix. Absolutely incredible. Please still work with me when you're famous JD, and you should already be famous. Honestly, amazing talent. Thank you
JD is very talented, responsive and passionate on his work. He would revise the song until you're happy with it. I had JD to produce an alternative rock track for me and he rocked it.
I’ve been working with JD on a number of songs now and they genuinely have been my favourite songs I produced. His understanding of the client’s vision and communication skills are top level and I’m looking forward to creating more songs in this long-term collaboration with JD.
JD is the heart beat of my songs. A drummer producer kind is the best you could ever find. A song without JD's drum is a song without proper heart beat. I am so happy to have songs produced by JD. Wow, not only he's an awesome drummer, he is great with guitar and other country instruments too. His arrangement is so exciting. A great all round musician. Thank JD.
JD is one of the best musician on here. He added guitar and drums giving my song so much more life and energy. I feel as though I needed JD's final touch on every song now. He is my most trusted Drummer and Producer.
Oh my goodness, JD JD JD. Thank you for playing incredible drum beat and bringing the song to the next level. Absolutely crazily amazing. I could not stop smiling listening to your arrangement. Thank you for being so awesome all the time. My most favorite drummer and producer :)
Well another song done by JD he's keeping up with me lol i write every morning and once again an awesome job done again .always gets back to me fast with great results. Thanks JD.
patient and give the maximum for customer satisfaction
JD. was awesome to work with and did a fantastic job for me i've used a few different producers in the past but i will only be using JD for now on he took a acoustic song i wrote and absolutely made it unbelievable i call him my George Martin now lol. He has that kind of magic. Awesome .
Just completed One more song with JD. Absolutely loved the experience and he was extremely supportive throughout the process. I am gonna do it all over again for my next track. Many thanks to you JD.
Whoever sees this review, I would highly recommend working with him without any hesitation : )
JD is an amazing Producer. I'm speechless at his talent. The song he produced for me is high energy, epic, a joy to listen to with a full range of emotions. I can't wait to work JD on many more awesome songs. Thanks JD
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.