Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I have recently produced an album for a new artist "Ingersol". She is a supremely talented singer/songwriter from Philadelphia. She brought me about 45 songs to choose from for her debut release, which we narrowed down to 12. This album represents to me a perfect musical collaboration, she was joy to work with and did not blindly agree to all my ideas, as well as brought many of her own to the table. We spent three weeks in pre-production, writing and re-writing parts, lyrics and arrangements, trying new ideas, working on tempos, etc. Since she had a nice budget, I was able to bring in my favorite New York musicians to play on it. Really a perfect album all-around.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished proofing masters for the upcoming Ace Frehley release "Origins, Vol.1"
Analog or digital and why?
Digital. The sound of digital has come a long way since I started using the original "Sound Tools" back in the early 90's. The availability of incredible tools and ability to edit and try different things on the fly is second to none.
With that said, I do sometimes mix though an analog console if budget allows for it, but even that has become almost unnecessary, as the analog tape and console emulations have become almost indistinguishable.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I will treat you and your music with the outmost respect and care, doesn't matter if you are an established artist or you are doing your first recording, as long as you treat me the same way. I will deliver a top-notch product possible and use all my skills to achieve that. I will never say "no" to any of your ideas without considering them.
What do you like most about your job?
Creative collaboration and forging musical and personal friendships. Nothing gets me more excited than being able to listen to the final product and compare it to the original demo to see how far a song has come.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Are you available on these dates? Yes!
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Producers are people that make beats.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What goal are you trying to achieve with your music? What artists inspire you? What other artists would you want your music to be compared to?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Be passionate about what you do. Believe in yourself and your music. Try to convey a message in your songs.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A piano (with a tuning hammer), an acoustic guitar, a Shure SM-57, an interface and a laptop...wait....is there power on this desert island? ;-)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I am a classically-trained musician. I got into engineering and production when a band I was in got signed to Geffen and was given a budget to buy gear and record song demos. After two albums the band broke up but I continued on the production path recording local bands and artists. As my expertise and chops got better, I started getting better gigs. I've been playing music since I was 7 and producing for the last 25 years.
How would you describe your style?
Passionate and edgy. I find that music without passion is "muzak" and is not worth being heard.
Even in my new age productions I find a way to add an edge to invoke a feeling, which is what music is meant to do.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Dave Grohl. I am not necessarily a big fan of Foo Fighters or Nirvana, but I think he's one of the most creative rock musicians these days and he's incredibly passionate about what he does, which I share with him greatly.
Can you share one music production tip?
Pre-production is integral to a successful project.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work mainly on rock, pop, blues and jazz, although I have also produced new age and classical projects.
What's your strongest skill?
I have an ability to take a rough demo and often "under-written" song and through my musical and technical interpretation make it appealable to the listening audience.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring perspective and interpretation that the artist may not be aware of. It is very often artists get too close to their music and cannot hear outside the box that they maybe in. That's the main reason one needs a producer.
What's your typical work process?
Communication with the client is of the outmost importance to me. Being able to fulfill the artist's vision whether as a producer, arranger or mixer requires mutual understanding of what the artist wants to accomplish with his or hers music. After the direction is established I proceed to put the pieces together in pre-production, then record the basic tracks, vocals and overdubs. I prefer to do that consecutively, preferably without a lengthy break in between. Then I usually like to take a step back before mixing to re-evaluate and then proceed to mix.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have a commercial studio that features a large tracking room (25X30X30) and two iso-booths. It is nicely equipped with gear such as Avid ProTools HD, Aurora Lynx converters, K&H, Yamaha and Avantone monitors, preamps and outboard from Avalon, Vintech, Manley, Universal Audio, ADK, Ward Beck, TFPro and Audient, microphones from Neumann, AKG, Shure and ADK, etc. My large amp collection includes Marshall, Fender, Buddha, Soldano, Peavey, Backstair, VHT and Roland. The studio also features a grand piano.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I listen to a variety of music and often find my inspirations from many different musicians. My favorite productions come from giants like George Martin, Quincy Jones, Mutt Lange, etc. I also enjoy and respect work from modern producers like Greg Wells.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
The bulk of my work is full production - from basic demos to a finished mastered product. I do, however, often work as a recording/editing/mixing engineer, arranger and/or instrumentalist.