What are you working on at the moment?
I'm reuniting with a bandmate who moved to New York. We're going to be doing some long distance music.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I just joined, so no.
Analog or digital and why?
Both, because there are pros and cons to both. Some of the best artists today are using an amalgam of analog and digital gear. Use analog where analog sounds are appropriate. Use digital where digital sounds are appropriate.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
To do whatever I can to make the song sound exactly how they want it to sound.
What do you like most about your job?
Just being able to manufacture beautiful musical experiences for people. Music makes the world a better place. It gives meaning to the lives of many. It makes people happy. That's what matters most to me.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
I usually get into discussions with clients about music, so they'll often ask what kind of music I like or "Have you ever listened to [insert artist here]?"
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That I can work miracles in very short time frames and for less than minimum wage.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I almost always ask for a list of songs they want their song to sound like. I think this is the most important question. It's also a great way to get to know a client and connect with him/her, by getting together and listening to music. Then I'll usually ask for more specific sonic details.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
1. Don't waste your time hiring someone to do stuff that you can do yourself. 2. Don't waste your time hiring someone who doesn't know or like the style of music that you play.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Geeze, really? Okay... Maybe a Sequential Prophet 6, a Warren Ellis Tenor Guitar, Boss Chorus Pedal, a Macbook equipped with Ableton Live (and some plugins maybe, if I'm allowed, and an Mbox. I'm counting all of this as one because I can), and a pair of Sennheiser HD650s.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been messing around with music since I was 10 years old. I've been using DAWs for maybe 11 years. But I've been studying production professionally for 3 years. I just graduated from college, so who really knows what the cosmos has in store for me as far as my career goes.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I worked with a dream pop band called Wildfront using MTSU's Studio A. I was co-producer and handled everything on the project from initial consultations, tracking sessions, and mixing sessions. The project just came out sounding so incredible, and the band was so happy with the final product. I was just happy to work with such great people, and the music was just so good.
How would you describe your style?
Ambient, atmospheric, spacious, chill, textured.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Brian Eno would be a dream come true for me. He's the reason why I studied audio production in college.
Can you share one music production tip?
Parallel compression is your best friend when it comes to big sounding drums. Also, try using sidechains on things other than kick and bass. There's a lot of untapped creative potential there. Don't beat yourself up too much over technical details. Some engineers like to show off how many tracks they have going and all sorts of complex setups, but their music is terrible. It really doesn't matter at the end of the day how much you know about engineering. What matters is how the song sounds. Whatever production or engineering stuff you learn should be seen as just another tool for your toolbelt, or perhaps a better analogy would be, another color for your palette. Some days, all you need is two tracks, some light EQ, light compression, and some reverb. Other days, you need some complex setups. Don't ever do anything that's unnecessary just to show off your skill. Just do whatever sounds good. Experiment. Try different things.
What type of music do you usually work on?
shoegaze, dream pop, ambient, electronic, idm, experimental, chillout, chillwave, post rock, folk, ambient folk, psychedelic, rock, indie, sadcore, slowcore, soul, new wave, post punk
What's your strongest skill?
To be honest, I think it's my creative imagination. With today's technology, anybody can learn to engineer, mix, and produce a song in their bedroom to meet industry standards. Real skill or real talent lies in bringing innovative ideas to the table, bringing a fresh sound, a fresh world for the music to live in. That not only takes experience and training, and takes experience listening to a variety of genres of music.
What do you bring to a song?
I like to bring a sense of lushness, texture, and space. Of course, it depends on the project, but I generally like there to be a mosaic of ambient spaces within the recording, applying different kinds of reverbs to different tracks to give a sense of spatial color. I'm not interested in just making sure the recording sounds good. For me, the production of a song is another musical instrument, another creative element of the song. I see every artist I work with as a collaborator, not just a client. I want to make my client's song sound unique. I want to give it its own space. I leave no dry track unturned, so to speak.
What's your typical work process?
It's hard to really say only because every project is different, and thus "getting in the zone" means something different for each project. But that's usually my goal, to get into the zone and focus, whatever it is I'm doing. It's important to me to be artistic and creative and to constantly be experimenting with many different ways of doing something.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have a fairly simple home setup. I work mostly in-the-box. I basically move between my Roland Alpha Juno 1 analog synth, my Yamaha RY30 drum machine, and my Alesis Q49 MIDI controller the most when it comes to my desk setup. I'm usually running either Ableton Live, Pro Tools, or Reason, and I have a myriad of plugins, my favorites of which are my Sonic Charge Synplant synthesizer, Native Instruments FM8 synthesizer, and my Xils virtual analog synthesizer. For reverb, I usually use either Valhalla Vintage, Valhalla Room, or Waves RVerb. I like to use a combination of Ableton's Drum Rack and Beat Repeat and Sonic Charge's Permut8 for complex drum sounds, beats, samples, etc. I'm also a guitarist and I have an ungodly number of pedals.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
a-ha, the album leaf, all natural lemon & lime flavors, animal collective, arthur russell, aphex twin, arvo pärt, atlas sound, auburn lull, autechre, bark psychosis, beach boys, the beatles, bedhead, bibio, black moth super rainbow, the blue nile, boards of canada, boat club, brian eno, broadcast, the byrds, caribou, casino versus, japan, the chameleons, cheetahs, china crisis, cineplexx, claude debussy, the clientele, cocteau twins, colleen, com truise, craft spells, the cure, deaf center, deerhunter, dinosaur jr, dirty three, the dream academy, the durutti column, eddie kendricks, ennio morricone, enya, erik satie, fleet foxes, fleetwood mac, flying lotus, four get, freescha, great lake swimmers, grimes, grouper, hall & oats, hammock, harold budd, helios, idaho, ice choir, jeff buckley, jose gonzalez, jules cruise, julianna barwick, kate bush, kettel, kiln, kitchens of distinction, kraftwerk, leonard cohen, labradford, lindsey buckingham, loscil, the lotus eaters, loveliescrushing, luke abbott, lush, m83, mark fry, mark hollis, marvin gaye, max richter, memoryhouse, miles davis, mitch murder, mojave 3, mum, my bloody valentine, naked eyes, neil halstead, neu!, new musik, new order, nick drake, nothing, ochre, oneohtrix point never, pale saints, panda bear, philip glass, prefab sprout, proem, pyro instinct, the radio dept, radiohead, real estate, red house painters, ride, roxy music, scritti politti, secede, seefeel, the sight below, simon & garfunkel, skip james, slowdive, the smashing pumpkins, the smiths, soulwhirlingsomewhere, stars of the lid, stereolab, strawberry switchblade, sun kil moon, the sundays, swervedriver, talk talk, tamaryn, tears for fears, tim hecker, tim koch, tod dockstadter, trentmøller, twin shadow, tycho, u2, ulrich schnauss, ultravox, the verve, violens, washed out, wham!, white mountains, wild nothing, windy and carl
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
General production and engineering work, especially mixing. I also make beats and design sounds using samplers and synthesizers. I also perform guitar and compose.