Producer-Mixer-Instrumentalist

starstarstarstarstar
1 Review (1 Verified)
Tom Spiker on SoundBetter

One-stop shop production, mixing, tracking and session work based in Philadelphia, Pa. Past clients (studio or live) include Meghan Trainor, Bilal, Talib Kweli, Kelis, Ellie Goulding, Burhan O'cal, G Love and members of the Sun Ra Arkestra. I'm new here, so let's get something going!

20+ years experience. I’ve toured on guitar and bass (as well as light keys and percussion) with Internationally known singer-songwriters, rnb/hip hop artists, jazz groups, and Bollywood artists. I have a jazz background, but my taste and experience spans multiple genres.

Home base is Undercarriage Recording in Philadelphia, Pa. Undercarriage is equipped with 10 channels of DW Fearn mic pres (nothing compares!), a Fearn VT7 compressor, a slew of great instruments and too many other great tools and toys to mention here.

A full gear list is here:

http://www.undercarriagerecording.com/gear-list/

I work primarily in Pro Tools HD Native, but I can get around Ableton and Logic in a pinch and have the ability to do transfers between DAWs.

I want to stress that I’m an easy and fun collaborator and will definitely put the artist's vision first. No producer bullying!! I greatly respect the balance of staying out of the way of the music or taking control as needed. Equally happy keeping it simple or getting super weird!

Misc. other offerings:

Pro Tools editing
Vocal comping/tuning
Pedal steel guitar
Acoustic guitar
Ambient sound design

Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Tom Spiker
  • Donn T
  • Donn T
  • Diaper Full of Poopie
  • Bilal
  • Phil Roy
  • RYAT
  • RYAT
  • As Human
  • As Human
  • As Human
  • As Human
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Frank Bey
  • Frank Bey
  • Tom Cohen
  • Tania Alexandra
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Jacobs Hill
  • Jacobs Hill
  • Jacobs Hill
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson

1 Reviews

Endorse Tom Spiker
  1. Review by ben
    starstarstarstarstar
    by
    check_circleVerified

    Outstanding bass sound- amazing pre amp and mic chain. very sharp and cleaned up edits of the performances. Top notch player!

Interview with Tom Spiker

  1. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  2. A: I make it a point to earn the trust of all clients. Most engineers are labeled as musically illiterate, while most musicians are labeled as technically illiterate. I see it all as one thing, so I try to break down those barriers as quickly as possible. As an engineer/producer, one of the most rewarding experiences is successfully conveying to a musician that they are in charge of their sound.

  3. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  4. A: It may be my upcoming release. It's one of those things that I went into with zero plan- just a stream of consciousness improv that slowly evolved into a batch of instrumental tunes. There's a certain vibe- it hits hard enough while bringing some of the color and weirdness that I gravitate to. I did everything, except for the drums, some percussion, horns and the mastering. We'll see what happens...

  5. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  6. A: As far as client-projects, most are completed within a day or two. My mantra this winter has been "album in a day". Of course, this only works with performance-based works, such as jazz. So far, it has been an overwhelming success. Record it right, it mixes itself. Then there's my own stuff. I'm currently putting two of my own recordings to bed that have been sitting on the hard drive for way too long. Aside from that, I have a duo album with a great tabla player that's in the can and an album of 1 minute songs that's a few months away from being finished.

  7. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  8. A: I'm new here. I don't think the person who sent me has an account yet. Can I get back to on this one?

  9. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  10. A: Both. Get it sounding the way you want it, then press record. If I had to be hard-headed about it, I would say analog for sound and digital for convenience and flexibility; but it isn't really that black and white. I couldn't achieve the clarity on my latest recordings with analog tape. But....I couldn't get these digital recordings to sound good without great analog gear.

  11. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  12. A: I won't screw your music up. Managing expectations is key. We're all unique and have our quirks. If our quirks don't line up, I won't take the gig.

  13. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  14. A: Hands down, it's when a group of people in a room hear an idea together which takes the whole project in a new direction. There's an intoxicating energy that can be tapped when everyone in the room is involved.

  15. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  16. A: Aside from rates, and if we're talking about the studio, it's usually a question about how much individual instrument isolation I have. The answer is something to the effect of "a booth and 2 iso rooms for amps, but what's the reason?". A lot of times, bands need isolation because they really aren't ready to commit the music that they have. Maybe it's a scratch track (or 3). Nothing wrong with scratch vocals for the sake of a great band recording, but with all of this technology, we seem to find ourselves in very non-commital habits of creating art. I try to help the artist find a happy medium of risk taking, while covering your tracks. Besides, the adrenaline of the red light brings the energy!

  17. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  18. A: I generally like to get a feel for how hands on or off they are. This let's me gauge whether or not they'll be tinkering around with what I give them, or just leaving it be. I also like to know what level of perfectionist a person is. Some people like their recordings raw and vulnerable, others go for extreme perfection. I want to understand their tastes, otherwise, I may do something that doesn't fit their vision.

  19. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  20. A: AEA R88 stereo ribbon mic DW Fearn VT-2 2 channel mic pre my '73 Strat my '72 P Bass a Super Reverb or something that can double as a bass amp.

  21. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  22. A: Fear not!

  23. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  24. A: I've been at it for 35 years give or take. I actually picked up the violin about 40 years ago, so there's that too. As a person "creating interesting musical stuff", it's probably been about 30 years. 90s: Jazz school (guitar and bass performance) -> 2000s: Teaching myself recording and making productions out of jam sessions (while gigging a ton) -> 2005: Building a recording studio and officially getting sucked down the rabbit hole (while still gigging a ton) -> 2014: Landing a faculty position at the University of the Arts in Philly teaching audio and music -> 2019: Balancing the entire plate of sessions, touring, teaching and parenting.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. A: It's just me. I have a hard time w/ these questions. Maybe a cross between King Tubby and Miles Davis with some Zappa/P Funk undertones.

  27. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  28. A: Living? I'd absolutely love to play guitar with Tom Waits, bass with Bill Frisell, and maybe hang out and make cool sounds w/ Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois.

  29. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  30. A: You can't polish a turd, but you can disguise it as a chocolate bunny.

  31. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  32. A: Again.. all over the place. Too much to list. A lot of jazz (mostly as a recordist), a lot of funk/disco (as a session player), weirdo film stuff (on my own), dub, hip hop, singer-songwriters, chant music, you name it.

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  34. A: Skill? Hard to say. It's probably a tie between guitar and bass playing. In a sense, the best thing about any of my skill sets is how the other skill sets inform them. For example, I'm a much better guitarist because of my bass and production knowledge than if I were to sink the entire focus into the guitar. Perspective and artistry are really what brings a skill into fruition.

  35. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  36. A: I try to say as much with as little as possible. That said, sometimes the job calls for a pile of flavor. I try to have fun and not overthink things. I do like contrasting sounds and styles, so I usually think outside of the genre.

  37. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  38. A: These days, I'm at about 60% recording/mixing and 40% session work (guitar and bass). Lately, I've been finishing up production on a handful of albums (4 of my own and a few collaborations), so getting remote production work hasn't been a huge priority.

  39. Q: What's your typical work process?

  40. A: I came up as an improviser, so I have a strong connection to my gut instincts. Having a few decades worth of chops as a musician and about 20 years as an engineer allows fast execution of ideas without getting bogged down by the technical hurdles. Work quickly, sleep on it, double check and print!

  41. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  42. A: Tubes and ribbon mics! Since acquiring 10 channels of DW Fearn microphone preamps last year, things have been smooth sailing, as far as sonics are concerned. I've basically cut the number of mics used on the average session in half. The space itself, is an ideal production room. Spacious control room (that doubles as a tracking room), with a medium sized floated iso booth that can accommodate a very large drum kit, or small group of singers, etc. Digital duties are performed with a Lynx Aurora feeding Pro Tools HD Native. We also have Ableton Live 9 and Logic X on hand in case they're needed. Plenty of instruments and amps as well. The full rundown can be found at http://www.undercarriagerecording.com/gear-list/

  43. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  44. A: I'm all over the place. Guitar influences range from Curtis Mayfield to Bill Frisell to Ali Farka Toure. Bass is straight Bootsy/Jamerson/Aston "Family Man" Barrett territory. Production and sonic tastes include Daniel Lanois, Tchad Blake, King Tubby and T Bone Burnett to name a few. I can't talk about musicians without mentioning Miles Davis. He probably singlehandedly influenced my artistic approach the most.

loading
play_arrowpause
skip_previous
skip_next
Lenny Kravitz/Jaxx De Luxe

I was the guitarist and bassist in this production

Terms Of Service

Session work and Mixing: Turn-around in 3 business days or less. 2 revisions per song, paid in full before tracks delivered. Production: It's a complicated art form. Let's discuss!

GenresSounds Like
  • David Byrne
  • Anderson .Paak
  • Curtis Mayfield
Gear Highlights
  • DW Fearn mic pres
  • eqs and compression
  • AEA
  • Royer
  • Lucas
  • AKG mics
  • vintage Fender guitars
  • basses and amps
  • 1900s upright bass
  • '67 Ampeg B15
  • GFI pedal steel guitar
  • Roland Space Echo
  • PMC monitors
  • Pro Tools HD
More Photos