Hi, my name is Alex Marchisone and I'm a session drummer/producer based in London, UK. I've been recording extensively with Grammy winner, David Bowie's producer Tony Visconti. I play in West End shows Hamilton, Book Of Mormon, Wicked and I produce and record drums in my studio, through some amazing NEVE 8801's and at amazing Visconti Studio.
I've been recording extensively in major studios around Europe with Tony Visconti, Grammy award winner producer-engineer Kevin Killen (U2, Shakira, Bowie), producer Steve Brown (The Cult), producer Erin Tonkon (Bowie) and many more.
Other credits include: Rumer, Newton Faulkner, X Factor UK (ITV), Beth Morris (The Voice UK), Sarah Harding (Girls Aloud) and many more.
I spent the last years producing and recording drums remotely and I do so at SkyTop Productions studio (https://www.skytopproductions.co.uk) in West London where we have an impressive collection of gear, mics, pre's, outboard etc.
Here's a few names but I can send full specs upon requests:
16xNeve 8801 channel strips, 2xNeve 1073, API 5500 Eq, LA-2A etc etc
Also, for bigger budgets, I produce and record (also remotely) at amazing Visconti Studio in Kingston (https://www.visconti-studio.co.uk).
I am a Ludwig, Paiste, Vic Firth and Roland endorsee.
I'd love to play drums or produce your track. I aim to provide excellent results, full attention to details and thorough communication. Together we can make something beautiful, with a top of the range signal path at a fraction of the price you'd get in a commercial studio.
I obsessed about the drum sound and the way it relates with sonic experience of your music.
I'm here to help and I'm looking forward to hear from you.
Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Alex Marchisone
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Definitely some of the stuff I did with Tony Visconti for artist Daphne Guinness. It was an invaluable experience working with people of that calibre, I've learnt so much, every single second spent in the studio.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm always doing a few West End shows each week. Last minute calls all the times to keep life interesting and stressful enough haha Then I'm writing a lot for my band, finishing a mix for an electronic/library tune and just about to move onto an artist's recording studio. So I think I'll start doing bits and pieces there too.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I think SkyTop Productions are on it, amazing producers, engineers, writers. Don't think I know anyone else personally though.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I worked in both realm a lot. I actually also did loads of analog only, tape, no protools, no click haha I'd say both and I can adjust to artists' specs: It seems to be winning when you use a bit of both. Since I'm lucky enough to be able to work with very expensive analog gear I usually use it. Especially at the beginning of the path. So I love to use analog pre's, maybe a bit of comp and eq and commit. Because those are real electric circuits, I mean they sound insane. Onto the computer, and I love plugins. So I can do some post in the digital realm. Both are great, I'm so open minded. But, again, I'm up for an kind of adventure.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Quality of course but, most to the point, their satisfaction and happiness. That's why I care a lot about preliminary communication.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Making music. I love art!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I have tech questions about sample rate, numbers of tracks and I'm always positive about those of course. Otherwise I get asked a lot about specific sounds and about retaining human feel but still in a modern approach and that's a yes too as, indeed, that's been one of my main focuses for years.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: It may be that, on remote sessions, I'd show up to the studio and just play whereas I spend much time prepping, selecting the instruments and engineering specifically for what I'm about to perform. Looking for sounds, looking for an experience.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I would ask about their vision, influences and references. Then of course I'd discuss the protocol they'd like to adopt and at the end all tech specs regarding the session itself as well as all informatics stuff.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Just speak to the person, ask all the questions you need to ask. Also I do feel like you'll need to connect on a personal level a little bit at least. After all you are about to potentially make music with this person, it's not just a session in my opinion, music is sacred and personal. Check their material, signal path and specs.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Computer yeah :) Kick, Snare, Piano/Midi and Speakers? Tough question.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing professionally for a long time now. I started playing drums when I was 7, I studied privately and at a music academy for a few years. I was playing in marching bands/orchestra. When I was 16 I started playing around in bands and got full time at around 18. Back then I was doing a lot of national touring in Italy, recording sessions and national TV. I moved to London in 2012 and I needed a couple of years to settle down professionally, meet people and spread my name around. In 2014 I got a big national tour and that one eventually lead to all of my West End work. Because of a few studio sessions I did at the very beginning of my London adventure I got strongly recommended by the engineer on the session to an agent/manager that eventually started to use me a lot. Another agent I met got me to do the X Factor a few time etc It's a constant of meeting new people and it's vital to perform at the very best all the times. That's the only way you'll get the next job and, believe me, the competition in London is fierce.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Few notes that matter (well I hope), give importance to rests. Respecting spaces. Groove, feel and sound above all. Bonham meets Jeff Porcaro meets Gadd; they meet a modern open minded producer. And that's it pretty much I guess.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would have loved to work with David Bowie and I particularly feel that as I've been working a lot with his producer Tony Visconti. I did my first session with Tony just a few months after David Bowie passed away. Thomas Newman because I just love him and I love orchestral or soundscape music. Or, even more, I love music where drums are not prominent at all. Also Hans Zimmer, his live show is incredible. Trent Reznor, Radiohead (I know they have an amazing drummer but hey let me dream). Sting because well he's Sting. In the classics I'd say Led Zeppelin and The Who but again they are sorted drummers wise :) And many many more
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Learn a lot about production and music, take inspirations but be yourself, unique, original and new. Push the boundaries and strive for quality. Music needs quality and innovation these days doesn't it?
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I would do pop and rock often on remote sessions. I have a soundscape experimental jazz project too. I work in West End musicals quite a lot hence I do some orchestral stuff on Wicked, pop, hip hop and r'n'b on Hamilton and Book Of Mormon. I do sessions in jazz, r'n'b, funk. So, yes, I'm pretty all around I'd say. Sight reading stuff too.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Definitely my drumming, especially versatility, adaptability, sound and feel. Then engineering. I actually have modified my drumming since I started engineering and producing as a way to adjust what to play and how to play in relation to the signal path and the record making experience.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring my human touch yes, that's why a client would hire a drummer instead of going for electronics or programming. But, and this is a big point, I'd stick to the artist vision and I just love to play and come up with drum parts which serve the song, the music, the sonic experience. Talking about sonic experience, one big thing for me is sounds, production, aesthetics. I love sounds.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I'd get to talk with the client about their needs, ideas, inspirations and I'd adjust consequently. Usually I would receive a backing track from a client alongside a programmed preproduction or just indications. I'd go, analyse, think, engineer and record/produce. Bounce an Mp3 and send to the client straight away for discussion/approval etc. Once the track is done and happily approved by the client I'll bounce the multitracks (to client specs but usually 48Khz 24 bits) and send them over.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Because I worked a lot with a bunch of Grammy winning producers and engineers I developed relationships and friendships with engineers and producers in London. That's why I'm now associate and collaborate in a couple of recording studios. I use those for remote sessions too!! So in one studio I'd use a bunch of incredible mics (Neumann, AKG, all the high standards) onto 16 NEVE 8801's, 3 NEVE 1073's etc We have LA2A, 76 black, API 5500 eq etc. It's shockingly good. That's the main thing with me, I'm not recording in a home setup, I'm recording at a actual London recording studio. Check it out here https://www.skytopproductions.co.uk For bigger sessions/budget I can use the legendary, incredible Visconti Studio. It has one of the best rooms in the world, it just sounds incredible. Amazing mics there and pre's (API, NEVE etc) through an outstanding Audient ASP8024 console. That is a legendary place check it out https://www.visconti-studio.co.uk I was lucky enough to record some incredible sessions there https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmsoym7HOdj/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Naturally other drummers: Steve Jordan, John Bonham, Ash Soan, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Gadd, JR Robinson, Josh Freese etc so many of them :) But I'm such a total fan of producers, engineers and mixers. Music production has being such a passion a central part of my vision for the last 10 years now. Tchad Blake, Oak Felder, Andrew Scheps, Rick Rubin, CLA, Nigel Godrich etc I could carry on for hours.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: On the remote side of things live drums tracking is still the most demanded work. While with studio sessions I'm being involved more and more in the production aspect. Especially with bands, as they might want that extra help/expertise with choosing, tuning and arranging their drums with the drummer on the session. Hence I'm getting to engineer or produce more. Having said that, even in remote sessions, I'd usually try to curate the sonic experience/aesthetic as that's such a central part of nowadays' music experience.