James Le Huray
I am a multi-instrumentalist, mixing engineer, producer, and all round music fanatic originally from Guernsey, currently based in London
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Interview with James Le Huray
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on a single for a rock band, and an album for an old time duo. Complete opposites of the spectrum, which is how I like it.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both have their pros and cons. Whatever works best.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll never settle for 'that'll do'
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The only bit I don't like is the packing up.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How much do you charge? Do you really own all of this gear? I thought you were a folk guy? It depends on the project, yes, and not exclusively.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I'm a purely folk guy. I play a lot of traditional folk stuff and got stuck with that label for a bit, but the truth is I love working on all styles of music, it's all great.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do YOU want out of the project?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Never be afraid to ask questions, I'm an easygoing guy and I'll happily discuss anything.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: WEM Copicat, Vox AC15, an original Rode NT2, er.... too hard, I love gear way too much!!!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've started playing in the early 90s, then I quit my day job to be a touring musician back in 2004. After that I went to university to study performance and production which was when I discovered my love of mixing and production. Since then I've been trying to work with as many different artists as I can.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Robert J Hunter's Songs For the Weary album was the first time I actively 'produced' a project rather than just engineering and mixing it; it was a real eye opener, but a great one. The lead single from that album went straight in at number one on the iTunes blues chart which was a really special moment, and one that can never be taken away.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Despite working in the digital era I still take a very traditional 'tape' approach. If I'm tracking a band I like to make it as live as possible so it still sounds like a band. I don't autotune anything.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Richard Patrick of Filter purely because I'm such a huge fan of his work. I'd love to work on a hip hop record too at some point.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Listen to as much as possible, even if it's not your bag, everything has mileage.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Anything, I don't like to stick to a particular genre
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm a good listener with an ear for detail.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I might make the odd suggestion here and there but I never try to get involved with the actual writing or structure of the songs, it's not my place to. So I guess what I bring to the song is honesty, I work with what I have available and try to make that as good as it can be.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: If it's just a mixing job then I'll listen to the stems a couple of times and find the parts of the song that really jump out at me, and that's my starting point for a mix, then it's a case of making the mix as good as I can. If I'm producing and engineering the recordings then I like to go to see the band live first if possible so I can get a feel for what their sound is and see how they work. Normally there will be the a few discussions about what artists they like and how they want their material to sound, I prefer to not go into a project blind.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I travel a lot so I have a portable setup that I use for mixing. My main studio rig is currently in storage whilst I'm moving.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Chris Lord Alge, Butch Vig, Ross Robinson, Peter Gabriel, T Bone Burnett, GGGarth... The list is endless really!
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mainly stem mixing, but I have worked as the producer on several recordings too.