Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
The very first album I recorded,mixed, mastered, and produced - "Finding Home" by Signals - will always be very special to me. We used the worst of the worst equipment in a horrible sounding garage, but worked hard at making a great sound and it all came together. To this day, I listen back to that first project and am still amazed at how great it sounds. There is no substitution for great musicians and the drive for perfection.
What are you working on at the moment?
My hobby is woodworking, so I'm building a better mobile rack that will be custom to me and help optimize my workflow at home and on the road.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Not yet, but I can't wait to meet new people!
Analog or digital and why?
Analog and Digital both have their benefits and in this day and age, it is in your best interest to use both. The perfect recall benefits of digital plus the warmth of analog working in harmony is unbeatable.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Your music will come to life better than you ever dreamed it would.
What do you like most about your job?
I love creating original art, and I love the look on my client's face when they hear the first mix I do from their raw stems.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
"aren't you supposed to specialize in one thing? like just recording? or just mastering?"
Well, some people do, but I don't like to cut myself short. I was a serious trumpet player before I started engineering, and I didn't limit myself to just classical, jazz, or pop. I did them all, just like I do all engineering.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
I am not a record label - as DoubleHook *Records* may apply. I make records, that's all.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What are your goals for your project? Do you value money over exposure or vice versa?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
LISTEN!!! Always listen to what your provider produces, because that's what your project will sound like if you chose to go through them.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Neve 5088 Console, Blue Microphone Bottle with Bottle Caps, Rupert Neve Designs Portico II Master Buss Processor, and two Rupert Neve Designs Portico II Channels
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been producing and engineering records for just shy of a decade now. I was very blessed to have a studio fall into my lap very early on in my career, so I was able to hear what a great room with great equipment sounds like. I ended up managing that studio for about 4 years, before leaving and starting my own record company. For a year or so, Sony hired me to be a mastering engineer for one of their production library divisions, which was a great place for me to hone my ears even more. I never attended any audio schools (except for the University of YouTube /s), but I read as many audio book as I can get my hands on, and regularly attend seminars and trade shows to hone my skills and keep relevant.
How would you describe your style?
I've been called, on numerous occasions, the MacGyver of audio engineers. I've made professional big band jazz recordings with four microphones and creative placement of the mics and band members. Sometimes less is more, and mic technique outweighs mic quality every time. With mixing, the same rules apply - usually, less plug-ins sound better than more (but that depends a lot on the quality of the raw stems - there's that old saying, "you can't polish a turd").
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I would love to work with Bruno Mars and Snarky Puppy. Actually, that would make a great combo!
Can you share one music production tip?
A human can only focus on three things at one time. So at any point in your song, there should be three interesting things going on. Everything else should be secondary to those three things, and those three things should be most prominent in the mix. For a song to be captivating, those three things should change throughout.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I love working with live music, but have no problem tracking as well.
My favorite genres to work with are Jazz, Funk, Reggae, Singer/Songwriter, Hip Hop, Soul, Blues, EDM, Classical, and Soundtrack/Film music.
What's your strongest skill?
I think my favorite part of the record making process is the mix - I believe that the mix is where I have the most artistic role from a non-musician standpoint. But I have spent just as much time mixing as I have recording, producing, and mastering. I really strive for excellence in every facet of the record making process.
What do you bring to a song?
I try not to add any sort of "Signature Will Borza/DoubleHook" sound. I do my best to be as transparent as possible and deliver exactly the sound that you want for your song. I enjoy practicing mixing in many types of genres - it's kind of fascinating how one song can be mixed in so many ways and can even be classified into different genres just based on how it is mixed. What I bring to a song, in short, is flexibility and opportunity beyond what you thought possible.
What's your typical work process?
Compose it, Arrange it, Rehearse it, Perform it, Record it, Mix it, Master it, Release it.
Explaining my work process in detail would fill up volumes. If you want to know more, please reach out and ask.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I travel with 16 mics and preamps. Back in the lab, I run through an Apogee Symphony 16x16, listen on Yamaha NS-20's (yup, 20s not 10s). For that analog love you crave so much, I have a Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Processor and a Presonus ADL 600 Dual Tube amp. In combination, they can impart any character you could imagine on a mix. I prefer to mix in Pro Tools these days, but am fully versed in Logic as well.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I love Al Schmidt's approach to engineering and production - Manny Marroquin, Andrew Scheps, Tony Maserati are great too. And Dave Pensado's show is unparalleled - each and every episode inspires and challenges me.
I love Beethoven, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Gershwin, Joplin, Ellington, Gillespie, Parker, Coltrane, Davis, Clifford Brown, Tito Puente, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Jeff Buckley, Harry Nilsson, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, RHCP, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, John Legend, Basecamp, Zedd, and so many more.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I enjoy approaching record production as a collaborative effort. After all, there wouldn't be music without an artist and there wouldn't be a record without me.
If I really love the music and believe in it's message, I ask to partner with my artists. No money up front, unlimited time in the studio, and we split the income from the final product.
I most often find myself bringing my mobile recording rig to concert halls, practice rooms, garages, warehouses, etc. and recording live takes on location. I love to record songs that require a live performance - jazz for example. I'm not opposed to tracking - in fact, I've done a lot of it over the years - but there's a certain energy that can only be heard in a live take.