Hi, my name is Simone, I’m a recording and mixing engineer and my goal is to help both up-and-coming and established artists/bands to achieve the best sounding record they can possibly get. My forte is to understand and respect the artist’s vision while taking the sounds performed to a totally new level.
I have worked with a huge number of musicians and producers from a variety of corners of the industry … modest and inexperienced to bold and accomplished. I pride myself of being able to adapt to the mood in the room, flexibly and efficiently, in order to achieve the absolute most from the talent - capturing each persons creativity and vision to make the track shine. If you need an advice I am there, but equally I know how and when to be invisible.
I started cutting my teeth in the industry as a freelancer twelve years ago. My time at Livingston and Strongroom Studios in London covered a variety of roles and responsibilities: started as Assistant Engineer then Pro Tools Operator, Recording Engineer and Mixing Engineer. I was involved in sessions with some top class artists and producers. A couple of mentions include me mixing half the score of Jonathan Glazer's publicly acclaimed movie "Under The Skin" featuring Scarlett Johansson and recording and mixing the score for "The Last Photograph" - directed by and staring Danny Huston.
According to my clients I am hard working, dedicated and patient. I record/mix every song like it was my own…. I treat it with the care it deserves, as if it were my last one.
I now operate from my own studio which I designed and built with my own hands …. with all the sweat, passion (and Italian swear words) I could muster!
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Slipway Studio
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: As I now have my own recording studio my work largely consists of recording live musicians. I also produce and do programming, editing and tuning the material, and mix.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a recording studio in South West London running ProTools HD (with a UAD Octo card). My centre piece is a Audient ASP4816 analogue desk, UREI 1176 and Alan Smart C1 compressors, API microphone preamps and EQ, Neve 1073 DPX and Focusrite ISA 828. On the Effects outboard side I have a Lexicon PCM91, Eventide H3000, Roland Dimension D and Space Echo RE-201, Moog Voyager RME and Moogerfooger MF-104, Line6 Echo Pro. I love outboard processing but I do have quite a few plugins too… Waves, SoundToys, Steven Slate Digital, Sonnox, Kush Audio, Ohm Force and many more…
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Before entering in mix mode I spend quite a bit of time preparing the session. When mixing I want to focus on the actual sound and vibe, more than on technicalities. I import the files into my Pro Tools HD system and make sure all the tracks are in sync by comparing them against the rough mix (demo) which I always ask that the client provides, whenever possible. This is to make sure that I have all the parts of the jigsaw and that they are in the right place. I then edit out unwanted noises that might still be present in the recorded material, and tune vocals if needed and agreed, with the client. I refer to the rough mix constantly to get familiar with the artist intentions. I start to build the driving element of the arrangement. The majority of the time this is whatever is conducting the groove (drums, bass , rhythm guitars, etc..). I make sure that this excites me…if it doesn’t do that to me I can’t expect to do so to anyone else. Then I move to the other instruments, one by one, in order… depending on their role within the production. While doing this I bring the vocals in and out to make sure that there is always enough space for it to shine. I work hard to get a good balance quickly as I rely a lot on my first impression, which is how general listeners will perceive it. If you spend too much time in the granular detail, you risk losing the overall vision of the song.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My main goal is to bring the right emotions to the song. I will obviously pay attention to the technical side of a recording or a mix and will make sure it compares well with commercial releases, but let’s not forget that music is an art-form. When the artist was crafting his/her baby (one would hope) he/her had a vision. Well, I believe that a mix should be an extension of that.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I give 100% in anything I do. I won’t let go of a project until the project I work on is compelling and I am (and the client is) completely satisfied. According to my clients I have a good ear and great timing and am able to use this in a way that adds richness to the tracks I work on.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I have worked on Rock, Reggae, Hip Hop, Jazz, World Music, Folk, Pop and EDM. I try to keep it varied as I believe that's the best way to stay inspired. Honestly I would hate to get stuck working on one genre as I would probably lose the drive after a while. Techniques that are common in one genre can import a fresh approach when applied to a different one.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Creative. I love dynamics, contrasts and surprises :-) I believe a mix should tell a story…a bit like a movie.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: After graduating from SAE in London in 2003 and obtaining a Pro Tools Operator certification at Alchemea the year after, I started working at Livingston Studio and then Strongroom. In the 10 years there I was fortunate enough to work alongside and learn from some of the best producers, engineers and artists in the industry – across a multiple of genres.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Have a chat / Skype call with who you’d like to employ giving as much information as possible. Having a personal connection with who you’re going to work with will tell you if you’re going to get along and if you share the same vision. It also a much easier way to get the message across compared to email exchange. Sometimes it’s difficult to put the creative process down to words.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What band/artist would you compare your music to? Can you send me some songs that have a similar sound to what you are after? Than I will ask for a rough mix. This is helpful as it’s what they’ve been listening to for weeks/months and got used to, which will give me an idea of what they like, and what can be improved upon.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People who think that anyone with equipment can be a sound engineer, and that badly played / produced / arranged songs can be turned into a world class hit in the mix
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: To see and hear a pleased clients reaction. It’s the best reward for all the efforts you dedicate to their art.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will record and mix their song as if it were my own : with the same passion, the same dedication and the same focus.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. I constantly adapt my template to incorporate them side by side. Analog still sounds more tri-dimensional to my ears - being it a compressor, an EQ or an effect processor - but the flexibility of Digital is fundamental to keep your workflow fast and recallable.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I mixed half of the music score of “Under The Skin” starring Scarlett Johansson which received multiple awards. I started the session by assisting Jake Jackson, then for technical reasons the session was extended past the agreed deadline and Jake had to return to other commitments and I was literally thrown into the deep end… I managed to stay afloat. Even more rewarding was getting the warm approval from the composer Mica Levi and director Jonathan Glazer.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: In general I have a big respect for any engineer/producer/musician that pushes the boundaries. Tchad Blake is a very good example for his attitude towards music production in general - music and vibe always comes first to the technical side. I have a deep love for Dub music, think of King Tubby or Scientist. I listen with amazement to the sonic territories they managed to reach, using the limited equipment they had available back then. From a personal point of view, I learnt a lot and got a lot of inspiration from working with engineers with old school approach like Phill Brown, Tony Platt and Jerry Boys as well as modern producers/musicians like Tom Rowlands.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I’ve got two if I may: Make sure that you have an arrangement that works before starting the mix. A great arrangement almost mixes itself. The majority of time you find yourself struggling to make parts fit that are simply not working well together and fighting for the same space. Learn the rules - than break them! I spent a lot of time doing my job following ‘the rules’ like commandments and ending up with results different to what I had in my head. I then (slowly) learned that if in order to achieve the sound that you are after you need to boost a frequency 10-15 dBs, overdrive a preamplifier to the reds or place a microphone facing the wrong way - so be it…nobody will see it or tell you off as ultimately what really matters is what comes out of the speakers.