I run a small studio with a big heart. I feel that quality craftsmanship has less to do with the gear and more to do with dedication of the engineer. That being said, I encourage you to check out the studios webpage and have a listen to my sound samples. If you like what you hear then I would love to hear from you.
Mixing and tracking philosophy- Keep it simple, use quality gear and proven techniques. A good ear is the most valuable thing in a studio. I feel that I have a good ear for music. I use a hybrid technique for mixing. All mixes are done on my analog board, all additive EQ is done on the board, and 90% of dynamics processing is done out of the box on analog gear. I have plugins and do use them when needed. Have a listen to the sound samples to get a feel for my style. I'm laid back and easy to work with. I'll jump off a bridge before I make a bad mix. I'm not real tactile, I focus on the groove and feel of the song. If your a knit picky kind of person then you might want to look for someone in the higher price bracket. Just being honest, honesty goes a long way in this business- Jake
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
Interview with Jake @ Levitation Recording
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing and tracking mostly focusing in the psychedelic rock and shoegaze type genres. That's just kind of what I played when in a band and kind of what I'm tuned into.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Huge fan of Anton Newcomb of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Also productions from bands like the Psychic I'lls and The Black Angels.. . that 60's psych vibe. I think that if you listen to the music I produce you will find that feeling and influence coming out of it.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run a hybrid setup. I have an analog board that sounds awesome. 24 channels of crystal clear pres and parametric EQ. I mix everything through that. I use mostly outboard processors. I'm huge fan of the JDK audio stuff and Warm Audio stuff. So I have the R22 and WA76. I'm also like the DIY stuff too. So my outboard pres are homemade or repurposed. I try to invest in quality gear that is fairly priced. That way I can pass the savings on to my clients.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Depends on what I'm doing. My studio is based out of my home and I'm a father of two and husband. So I spend my time working on most of my projects late at night into the early morning. I just recently upgraded my headphones to Sennheiser HD650's and they have kind of changed everything for me. I can trust them, and it allows me to make sonic decisions late at night without feeling like I need to run things through my studio monitors before I make a commitment. In the end that means I can get my mixes back to my clients faster.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A fresh set of ears and a different outlook. We all hear music differently, thats what makes mix engineers unique in their sound and styles. The song can be refocused in a different way that someone who is entrenched in it may not be able to see.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Probably my philosophy that there is no right or wrong way to do something; and my ability to look past the popular beliefs and make decisions based on whats good for that song.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: rock music
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Use reference tracks! Always ask you clients for reference tracks, it helps so much to get everyone on the same page.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Rephrase that to "which type of artist" because that's what your really asking right? I like working with people that are open minded, artists that come into the studio with a specific sound and idea that they want is great but if they are unwilling to waiver then that becomes boring and the music will suffer.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Im not real tactile. I dont beleive in drum replacement and gates on every mic. I think that a little bleed is a good thing. And I always look back at the classic albums of the 60's. They all sound different and awesome. These days I'm so tired of listening to 808 kicks and 909 snare samples. Gag me. Thats one of the hugest problems with todays music, it all sounds too much alike. Listen to 5 of your favorite albums from the 60's and 70's in the same genre and you will hear 5 different drum sounds. And they all sound great in their contextual arena. Thats what its about, perfection is killing music, the human element is being faded out.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Im most proud of my own projects because I understand how much work goes into the process. From the conception of the song to the finished mix. The amount of time thats put into it. So when I look at other people that are trying to produce themselves and come to me to help them out I understand the process they are going through. Some engineers that arent producing music themselves dont get that. They dont understand how much work has gone into it. And for the most part, you can tell when a mix engineer isnt a musician.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Truthfully this is a side job for me, or you could say "my other job". I have a professional career outside of music. Thats what allows me to work in this price range and it also allows me to take on projects that I want to take on, not that I have to take on. It keeps me fresh.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Guitar. Microphone. 4 track recorder. cable. and that's it. I only need 4 to make a record. Ok, some extra strings.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure you understand their philosophy of work, and that you like the work they do. If your not a good fit for each other find someone who is.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I mostly talk about music and who they like to listen to and what inspires them. Talking about gear and what I have in the studio is really a turn off because it doesn't matter.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The amount of time it takes to become proficient.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Probably get asked about how I got started/interested in audio engineering. I just explain how at one time it was a necessity for me because I'm a musician and wanted to produce my own music. Then it just grew from there. I started doing to stuff for friends and then it just progressed from there.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That its part time. Once I finish a project I can take a brake.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: If your not happy, I'm not happy. Your not going to pay for something you don't like.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, because they both have something to offer.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Nope, not that I know of.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Working on a Reverb Adrenaline EP. And remodeling our live room. As soon as that's done I have a client waiting to come in. Shes a friend who has an old time string band and want to record a demo.