Hello, I am a Brazilian Sound Engineer who recently moved to London. Passionate about music I have dedicated myself to use my knowledge and creativity in the recording, mixing and mastering of songs. I love to be in the studio and getting the best out of any song.
I have over 4 years of experience teaching audio in the most prestigious sound school in Latin America called Audio and Video Institute - IAV.
There I had the opportunity to not only teach, but to also be their main course Coordinator - Fundamentals of Audio and Acoustics.
And besides my job as a teacher, I was constantly working in recording and mixing indie bands in Brazil, and working with live sound engineering in major musical productions such as "Fiddler On The Roof", "The Wizard Of Oz", "Witches Of Eastwick", and other.
My main project is called RAWsession, which I produce in partnership with their original creators in the Los Angeles, CA (www.youtube.com/rawsession)
Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.
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Interview with Leo Melo
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mostly work with recording and mixing for my costumers. Either from home or directly at their studios.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am an absolute fan of the works produced by Phil Ramone, Rick Ruben, Pharrell Williams; Engineers Mick Guzauski, Rich Costey, Alan Parsons, Wes Dooley. Musicians there are many of them - Brian May, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Matthew Bellamy, and many many others.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Currently I work from home with a mostly digital setup. I have Pro Tools 11 and Logic Pro as main DAWs. With them I work with my Waves and Native Instruments Package. In order to achieve better sound in my mixes, I work with a Apogee Duet and a pair of Beyerdynamic headphones - I also have a few microphones for a recording necessity - AEA R84 Ribbon Mic, Shure SM7B, Eletrovoice Cardinal, Blue Bluebird and a couple of Shure SM57. Finally - I have a great relationship with Abbot Street Studios in London, where I can finish any of my work, having access to a variety of studio equipments.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: On a recording process, I like to take my time - experiment with microphones and positioning in order to get the sound I want right in the recording process. When it come to mixing, I work initially with a reference - I ask the artist what did he use as an inspiration for his composition, what he like to listen to, or what would he like it to sound like. I take a little bit of time in absorbing this reference and then I start the mixing process. First with volume balance - only when I am satisfied with my balance, I start using inserts and plugins. And the last step are the effects.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I try to bring the best in details and clarity in a song. I try to achieve what the artist is looking for. And if I have the chance, I love making a song sound great in the low ends!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I believe that my strongest skill is patience. Both in the recording process, and the mixing. I prefere to take my time and search the best sound. As an engineer, I believe that my strongest skill is in recording - I have achieved great results directly in the recording process.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Mostly I have worked with rock and pop music. But I also have some experience with reggae and jazz music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Work on the recording - take your time choosing the microphone and positioning it just right. And if you don't have a variety of microphones available, really dedicate yourself into positioning it. I have found that the best recordings yield the best final results.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: In the present day, the artist I would love to work with is Muse. I believe it is a band that is not afraid to experiment - but at the same time being a band that chooses the exact sound for a song - the exact instrument, the exact pause, the exact note.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The project that I am really proud of, and going to continue working on is Rawsession, which I am currently a producer and sound engineer. It is a great opportunity to discover new bands, to work with them in developing great versions of songs and being able to record them all together live. It is a great and fascinating challenge.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I studied sound engineering at a school called Audio and Video Institute in São Paulo, Brazil. It is the best school in Latin America considering the amount of students who came from Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and many other countries. Finishing at the top of the class, I was invited to work there as an assistant. In a very short period of time, I was teaching the full course and soon became the course coordinator - responsible for the whole administration and syllabus of the Fundamentals of Audio and Acoustics course. While working with that, I've had the chance to record indie bands, work as a live sound engineer in musical productions and develop RAWsession in partnership with its original creators in Los Angeles, CA.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Apogee Duet, AEA R84 Microphone, AEA RPQ 500 Ribbon PreAmp, Manley Variable MU Compressor and Neve 1073N Preamp and EQ.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: My biggest and most important questions I ask is regarding reference. What does he listen to, what sound is he searching for - for any step of the process - recording, mixing and mastering.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That everything can be fixed in the editing and mixing process. Although nowadays, technology makes almost everything possible, nothing substitutes a great recording or producing process.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What is your setup and how long do you take to record/mix. My setup, I mention the setup to the question above - and as to recording and mixing I mention that I like to take my time because it really depends on the song. Each one has a different level of difficulty or detailing.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Th opportunity to listen and discover great music. Especially in this new digital world, in which everybody has a chance to be heard. It is amazing to be a part of this world, especially when I get the chance to work with a series of different artists.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will work until they are completely satisfied. But it is important to remember that "Art is never finished, it is abandoned" - we will always find that it could be better, always.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: When I have the chance, I really prefer to work on an analog environment. I love the sound that an analog equipment brings to the song. But currently I work mostly on a digital level because there is a higher volume of plugins and software that make a huge number of "unattainable" equipments available for a good price.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I do not know anyone yet, but I would love to meet as many professionals as possible.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am developing an audio course for Abbot Street Studios (www.audiocourseabbotststudios.co.uk) and bringing RAWsession to the UK.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would say that I very attentive to details. I prefer to work as hard as possible in order to reach exactly what I want or the artist wants.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you are already on the recording process, I would advise you to make the best out of it, because it could only make my mix and master better. If you wish to hire me to record your song, rehearse and get as planned as possible, because a great song and/or production starts at the very beginning - the artist.