Which artist would you like to work with and why?
John Zorn. I think I could learn so much from him.
Can you share one music production tip?
Do your best to get a good take in the tracking process, it will make everything easier later! This means, taking good care of all the elements in the electro-acoustic signal path. Every alteration of the elements will produce a significant change in the result. E.g: Drummer. what kind of drumstick he'll use, drumhead, tuning, snaredrum, (wood or steel?), mic and placement, cable, room acoustics, preamp, gain, eq, A/D conversion, and so on. That way you are thoroughly shaping the sound that will get captured.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I mostly produce alt rock or fusion rock, 3 or 4-piece bands. (some thrash, punk, stoner and doom metal also) I also work with more acoustic styles like jazz or southamerican fusion.
What's your strongest skill?
I can integrate with the majority of the clients and can speak their language to know what they're looking for. Sometimes you have to understand different concepts for the same meaning. I can adapt to different workflows, timings and people.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring a musical approach to tracking, from the point of view of a musician, but also as a critical listener.
What's your typical work process?
First of all, I'll meet with the artist in the studio before going into tracking, and discuss ideas on choosing the best workflow for our needs and also to match the production's budget. Many bands would like to record live, to have that "live" feeling added to the recording, and maybe we will overdub the vocals later and add some choruses and details like solos, etc. Other bands will prefer to track the drums first and so on with the rest of the instrumentation. Last stage will be mixing and mastering, where it's crucial that I have a fluid communication with the artist or producer, so that i can get the best feedback from them and get to the result we are looking for.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Allen & Heath Digital Desk running an LR mix to my Focal Alpha 50 monitors, another stereo mix to the 6-way Alto Headphone amp in the live room. There are 4 active Electro Voice monitor mixes for rehearsals, and a stereo mix feeding 2 600w subs with active 900w FBT Speakers on top of them. I'll mostly use Audix Mics on drums (F series) and Shure SM57 and 58's, also Audiotechnicas AT2035 (paired) large diaphragms and Audix F9 for small diaphragm applications, AKG D770, Blue Encore 100, Rode M1, Shure sm57 and 58 for vocals or instrument tracking. Studio features full backline for most rock productions: All-Valve Amps from Blackstar and Orange Amps, Kustom Bass Head and Cab, Drum Workshop Design Series kit with 5000 double kick pedal, Pearl 6-piece All-Maple Vision Series and a Variety of Cymbals from Sabian, Silken and Turkish. Currently looking to upgrade my studio gear to include an analog mastering chain.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I offer a full range of solutions to clients. I will mostly take the artists through tracking, mixing and mastering, and at times I will fill in some instruments like drums or guitars and give advice on arrangements.
What are you working on at the moment?
Antonio Kulumi's next album
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Analog or digital and why?
Both. Digital is just another language that has to be learned to be mastered and can provide outstanding results. Analog is romantic and pure and we all know the benefits of harmonic distortion and analog summing. I think we have come to a point where both worlds can be seamlessly combined.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I don't promise anything to my clients. I'll commit to their work and we'll take it from there.
What do you like most about your job?
Knowing you are just manipulating air transients.. which is kind of invisible! Well, until cymatics, wait... or sea waves?
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Can you tune my vocals? No, I'm sorry, I don't do that kind of work. Let's do another take!
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
I am not your therapist.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
Do you have previous experience in the studio? Can I hear your previous work? What kind of workflow would you like us to follow? Are all the song's arrangements made or do you need assistance with that? What are your expectations? What do you want to sound like? What kind of audience are you targeting your music at?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Judge me based on my work, not my words, please.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
If I were on a desert island I wouldn't want to have any gear with me. Perhaps a guitar and a portable recorder (solar powered, ha)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been doing this for almost 10 years now. I started out recording my band in high school, using borrowed gear! Then I entered film school and learned the technical stuff by myself and while being in a more professional musical career I started to invest in studio gear and worked with some live-recording projects at local community radios. Estudio Mantra is the first professional studio in San Fernando and currently most local artists produce their material here and it's been great for the local scene to have more to listen to.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Antonio Kulumi - Disko Rufina. We put all our effort into this. I did most of the instruments and also did the tracking and mixing with the singer. He was real nice to work with because he knew what he wanted but also gave me freedom to experiment with the material.
How would you describe your style?
I'm easy going and relaxed, but very hard working. I like to push the envelope of the performances and get the best out of the participants in the process.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Everyone who is commited to make their music sound better. That's where i find my inspiration.