I am a Montréal-based music producer, multi-instrumentalist and audio engineer/mixer, specializing in Pop/Rock related genres. I have been working with both local and international artists, producing albums and singles that hit the radio and the clubs.
I work with both artists and labels, producing songs that fulfill the needs of the project, while helping the artist to achieve his musical vision. My work is covering different aspects of the production process (songwriting, recording/engineering, musical performances, editing, mixing and mastering).
I am coming from a musician background, playing guitar professionally for 10 years. Right now, I am doing both studio work and live performances. I worked with many known Quebec-based artists (The Voice, Star Académie) and did different sessions working in some of the best studios in Montreal (Planet Studios, 451, Trebas, etc).
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Interview with Andrei Nobbs
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Creating music that will have an emotional impact on the listeners.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want your music to sound like and what are your goals ?
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been playing guitar 15 years. I started playing live by the age of 16 and i learned a lot from my live experience, playing at some point over 100 shows a year in different contexts (festivals, theaters, etc.) I got visibility that bring me to different artists that hired me as a session player doing guitars. As soon i got into a studio, my sparkle lit up and i became fascinated with audio recording. I built my studio and i spent hours reading, practicing and consolidating my studio skills by working and learning from different people that i admire. By word of mouth and networking, artists heard my production started to hire me to produce their songs or have specific work done in the studio. By treating every client with the utmost attention, i build a strong working relationship with them and their circles, and i eventually expanded my network. My client base quickly grow until the point where i started to make a living out of my passion for music.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: If I am producing, i start by finding the strong elements of the song and mix them with the forces of the artist in order to have a result that fulfills the artistic vision of the artist or the label. If I am performing parts, i work closely with the producer and/or the artist to create and play the parts that will suit the song best. If i am mixing, i focus on the elements that are most susceptible of getting the listener's attention and make sure they translate well on every playback system by using specific techniques and processing (balance, eq, compression, use of effects, panning, etc.)
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I start by having an insightful communication with the artist in order to fully understand his artistic vision and his goals for the project. I will ask him for reference songs/artists that are close to its tastes stylistically. Since i am a musician in the first place, i can easily deconstruct a given song that the artists likes and emphasize on every specific elements that create the song in terms of sound choices, arrangement, chord voicings, melodies/harmonies, musical parts, mixing style, etc Then i work on building the song finding the melody and the harmonic structure, either on piano or guitar. When that is done, i will record some basic tracks (drums, bass, guitars and piano) in order to have a reference and to get the right feel when i perform the instruments. I build the song structure and the main takes in a couple of hours, depending on the song. Finally, i will take 2-3 sessions for the vocals and i take my time to track them, making sure the artist is giving his absolute best. Unless there i have a stylistical restriction, I will edit the vocals (timing, tunning, etc.) to make sure everything is perfect. I will take a session to mix the song and send it to the artist as the starting point and i get away off the project for some days in order to have better perspective. If any adjustments are necessary, i do them and from there, if the budget allows it, i will bring the song to one of Montréal's best mastering studios and let the ME do the magic.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Depending on the needs of the project, I can work at the studio of your choice or in my own studio. My personal studio setup is best suited for vocal production as well as songwriting. My workflow is very quick, and eficient on Cubase knowing it inside out. My main vocal chain is a Maneley Reference C micrphone into GAP 73 preamp. I am mixing mostly ITB because the easiness of the workflow but, i also use some outboard occasionally (T.C Electronic processors for vocals & guitars). I have high quality instruments (Gibson Les Paul Custom, SG, Fender Strat, Fender P-Bass, Gibson Studio Acoustic Guitar, Mesa Boogie / Fender / Marshall amps). My room is acoustically treated and i know how the recorded material will respond in different sonical situations.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Full production for artists starting from the scratch, being in charge of all of some of the aspects of the production process (songwriting, recording/engineering, musical performances, editing, mixing and mastering).
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital, for the rapidity and efficiency of the workflow.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to the songs that i the producer has done, and meet him in order to make sure that he understands your goals and knows how to achieve them.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My vinyl of "Band of Gypsies" by Hendrix for the inspiration, a portable 4 track recorder, any electric guitar, a mini-moog and some loud speakers
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Albums that were commercially distributed and songs i produced being played on radio and in clubs.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Usher or Bruno Mars, and use their extraordinary vocal abilities to produce a funky song with an authentic 70's vibe (real instruments, vintage gear, live tracking, etc.). I would like to prove to people that good music isn't all about quantizing and using the hippest presets and sounds but about a honest song, with a strong message that connects with people emotionally.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Make sure you understand the artist and his vision before starting to do anything.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Pop, Rock, Soul, Funk, Blues.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My sense of musicality and technical understanding of what i am doing
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Rick Rubin, Quincy Jones, Max Martin (production) Richie Kotzen, Santana, Usher, Jimi Hendrix (musicians / artists) Serban Ghenea, Dave Pensado (mixers)