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Interview with afsd
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I wrote and co-produced the first two records from Nashville artist CAPPA. I'm proud of those records because they were my first truly focused endeavor into collaboration and songwriting for someone other than myself. The records also helped launched my career and hers.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm producing, writing and developing for several pop/alternative artists in Nashville and abroad. Writing and producing 5 days a week, spending time with my dog on the weekend.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Thomas Daniel and Taylor Mathews. Amazing songwriters / vocalists and great friends / co-creators!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: For writing - Analog. There's little that compares to sitting at a grand piano and feeling out a song. For production - Digital. Editing / changes / revisions / new and fresh sounds. Technology makes song creation and arrangement so easy.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will get the song 100% where it needs to be. No matter how many takes.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Everything. Creating music is both an escape and an arrival to ones self. I absolutely love what I do.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "How did you come up with this lyric/story?" I'm inspired by movies, other music, experiences, relationships, and the world at-large. My stream of consciousness if always speaking. And I'm always listening.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: An extremely skilled and practiced songwriter will make it look easy. So many aspiring songwriters will hear a great song and say "I couldn't written that." But there's a reason they didn't.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1. What are your goals and plans with this song 2. What are your favorite influences and artists 3. What lyrical topics are off limits / preferred 4. What vocal 'character' would you like the top-line to reflect (i.e. Jack White, Calvin Harris, Rivers Cuomo, Etc)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Trust me and my methods but don't be afraid to give completely honest and blunt feedback. I'm a professional, it's very hard to offend me.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Martin Acoustic / iPhone (for voice memos) / 'Writing Better Lyrics' by Pat Pattison. That's all I need.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been writing songs for 16 years - professionally for about 5 years. Eventually I'd love to have a large enough catalogue to either sign with or create a publishing company of my own.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: 50% methodical, 50% old west. There are systems that apply for every song (like arrangement and mchanics) but it's always best to stay flexible and get out of the box.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Adele. As a songwriter and artist, I don't know if there's a more passionate creator. You can tell with each song she crafts, deconstructs, and then crafts again as many times as it takes to get it right. Her lyrical understanding and vocal performances are both endearing and genuine. I'd love to get in a room with her.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Keep it simple. It's so easy to over-build / over-state / complicate a song. Less is always more!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Pop, alternative, indie. I also cinematic, country and adult contemporary.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: As a songwriter, story-telling. Once I find a title and topic I work to find the best grammar and verbiage to keep things clear but fresh.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I always keep directness and simplicity in the forefront while writing. The shortest distance to saying what you need to say lyrically is to just say it. A show-don't-tell approach is better when lyric writing so we can paint a picture in the listeners mind.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: If I'm writing to a track I typically like to start recording a voice-memo during the first listen so any first-impression melodies will be locked. From there, I'll usually start writing melody and lyric for chorus and work backwards to the verse so that the freshest / clearest / newest thoughts are the focus in the hook.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I've got a home-studio running Logic Pro X on a Mac Pro. Vocal chain and plugins are mostly from the Waves suite. I run Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate 11 with Komplete Kontrol. Vocal mic is a Neumann TLM-103
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: In terms of commercial songwriting and production I really enjoy everything Ryan Tedder, Jack Antonoff and Ed Sheeran are doing. I also love Tom Mische, Mr. Jukes and Tora.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I'm a songwriter first. Most of my work revolves around top-line (lyrics and melody) as well as vocal performance and tracking. Additionally I produce multi-genre tracks and sound design for use in commercial TV/Film/Advert application.