I'm a producer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist in Washington, DC. I'm an Avid Certified Pro Tools Expert, with 15+ years of experience recording, mixing and mastering music. As a songwriter myself, my specialty is helping solo artists develop their songs into full-blown productions.
I love taking an artist's initial concept and transforming it into something bigger.
With my rolodex of top players, I can develop your song into an outstanding master recording.
I'm guitarist, bassist and keyboardist, with a specialty in electronic orchestration and arranging. I'm also an accomplished recording, mixing and mastering engineer. I've recorded such Americana legends as Tom Paxton, Peter Yarrow and the Chad Mitchell Trio. My production's have been featured in films, theatrical productions and on NPR's Fresh Air.
First, you and I will work on the song itself, to ensure that it's ready to move into the production phase. We'll ho over the song's structure, lyrics, melodies and harmonies. Then you and I will generate ideas for the larger arrangement. I'll then perform these parts myself or enlist one of my A-list players to collaborate with us.
Finally, we'll make edits to the recording and move into the mixing and mastering phase.
In the end, I am certain that you'll be blown away with your experience and the final song.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
- Chad Mitchell Trio Farewell Concert
- Chad Mitchell Trio
- Tom Paxton
- Peter Yarrow
- Wicked Sycamore
- Boss Company
- Steve Gillette
- Josh White Jr
- Noel "Paul" Stookey
- Mary Cliff
- Schooner Fare
- Tom Rush
- Roy Zimmerman
- Dave Rowe
- Soul Witness
- Satin Doll Trio
- Tomato Dodgers
- Hannah Rebekah
- Distant Creatures
- Justin Trawick
- Trade Talks Podcast
- Third Pod From The Sun
- Finra Unscripted
- Porte Parole
- Noel Paul Stookey
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Interview with Collin Warren
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: In 2018, I got the opportunity to act as producer, engineer, mixer and mastering engineer for the debut EP for a female acoustic trio out of Baltimore called Wicked Sycamore. The trio knew they had a limited budget, so the plan was to go into the studio for one day and get as much recorded as possible. The goal was six songs. Since we knew we would only have the one day, we workshoped the songs and rehearsed for about three months leading up to it. The amazing thing was that, by the time we went into the studio, the songs and arrangements were so solid that we just flew threw them. Since then, that record ("Growing Roots") was nominated for "Best Folk Album Of The Year" by the Washington Area Music Association and Wicked Sycamore won the Charm City Bluegrass Festival's 'Battle of the Bands'.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently, I'm mixing and sound designing the next installment of the Third Pod From The Sun Podcast. I'm finishing up mixing a record for a great DC band called the Distant Creatures. I'm in mastering for my third live album for the World Folk Music Association. I'm in pre-production for my second project with the trio Wicked Sycamore. And, I'm in pre-production for my second album of my own compositions.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Me :)
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Analog is iconic and fun and inspiring. Digital is repeatable and much much easier. I own hi-end products in both worlds and I use whatever combination fits the project best.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will never stop making your product better until you tell me to.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I never feel like any of my time is wasted. We all have to get up in the morning and so something. We've all had office jobs. We've all worked a food counter or something similar. Now that I make my living doing this, I never come home and think "man, I wish I could get that time back". I'm always proud that I got to spend my day making art.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: First question is usually: what do you charge? My answer is: how much do you want to spend and what do you want the outcome to be. I'm not a used car salesman. If someone says they want to mix a song and they can only spend $100. I'll tell them exactly what kind of mix they can expect to get for $100. Maybe that's a good choice for them or maybe they need to wait until they can invest the money necessary to accomplish their goals.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's as much about the gear as it is about the individual. Gear is important. But, it's the baseline requirement. If you wanna go out on the open ocean, you need a boat. But... if you want to come back alive, you need a really good captain.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: First thing I want to know is what their goals are. I want to know what the goals are for this project specifically, but also how this project fits into their overall objectives for their career.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Let's talk in person. If I'm not the right person for the job, I'll tell you and I'll help you find someone who is.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Electro-voice RE20. My Peluso P-87. My Gibson J-100. My Metric Halo ULN-8 and a Mac Book :)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started doing sound stuff when I was still in high school and I've been making my living solely from it for about ten years. I started out as a sound designer and composer for theatre. At the same time, I was starting out as a singer-songwriter. I wrote a ton of songs and musicals. Eventually, the theatre companies I was working with wanted to do cast albums of the plays I was writing, so I started to learn how to record people. From there, I started interning in a studio and at a rock club in Chicago. It all just evolved from there.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Hands on, laid back and all in. I don't pay attention to roles and lanes when I'm working on a project. If I'm the mixer and I hear something in my head that could be an arrangement thing or a lyrical thing-- I bring that part of me to the project too. I'll sing a background vocal if it needs to be there. I'll play a guitar part. The song is our baby. We all have to do whatever is best for the song.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I love working with any artist who knows what they want. That's the best. Even if they don't know how to find it yet. Having an artist with a clear trajectory of their own is so much fun.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Build time into your life to experiment outside the boundaries of a paying project. Take an hour and try out every compressor in your plugin folder. Try every setting. Take a reverb and try twisting the knobs until you find something unexpected and cool.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I love all kinds of music and I work on all kinds of music. In particular, I like working with singer-songwriters and acoustic instruments.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening. Listening to what the song is telling me about the performance. Listening to what the performance is telling me about how it should be produced. Listening to what the artist is hearing in their head.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I'm gifted with an ability to hear a song in it's bare form and hear what the finished product could be in my head. There are so many "mix problems" that can be solved in the songwriting and arrangement phase. Sometimes, it's difficult for an artist to have the objectivity to pinpoint an element that is actually working against the song. This could be as simple as changing one word in a lyric or removing one beat on the hi-hat.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It varies for every client, project and budget, but I'm very hands on. I like to talk to my clients. Email is probably the worst method ever invented for trying to communicate artistic ideas (let alone musical ones). If the client and I are in different locations, I use a combination of phone, video chat and live streaming to get as close to an in-person session as possible.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Four years ago, I built a dedicated mixing/mastering space in the basement of my home in Washington, DC. It's a small space, but also suitable for vocal tracking, overdubs, etc. In addition to my editing, mixing and mastering work, I also record most of my own music in that space. When I need to record drums or full bands together, I have relationships with a number of fantastic rooms in the DC area.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: ALL OF THEM. Seriously. I have tremendous respect for anyone who wakes up in the morning and thinks 'I wanna use my hard earned money and time to make a piece of art'. I love songwriters-- I think they're magicians. But everyone who takes that song and turns into a record are equally amazing.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I'm fortunate that, often, I'm helming a project from beginning to completion. I have a number of regular clients for whom I act as producer, recording engineer, mixer and mastering engineer. This is my favorite way to work.