Hey guys! I'm Lee and I would love to chat with you about your music. If you need studio time, mixing, or just a session player...hit me up! I love this industry and have a deep passion and desire to produce great quality recordings for working musicians on a shoe string budget. Let's work together, have fun, and make killer music!
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Interview with Playroom Studios
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One of the projects I'm most proud of to this date is a live recording that was tracked from the direct outs (post fader by the way) of a Behringer mixing console, of a live show in a small club. The average price of the microphones being used was about $45. No drum OH's. The stage was roughly 30x10. Full drum kit. 3 guitar amps. Bass. Acoustic. 3 vocals.....and loud rock and roll. Mic bleed was overwhelming. Levels were ungodly for the fact the direct outs on the board was post fader. (any adjustment the live engineer made on the board also effected the recordings). No, the project obviously didn't turn out to be studio quality...but it was a great REAL live recording. Raw. I had to accept the challenge and embrace the flaws and not so optimal track quality. Took a while to step back and see/hear it for what it was and make it all come together. After all, there was no way to turn up the vocal without turning up the drums as well because of the mic bleed from the singer literally standing directly in from of the drum kit.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on a couple of live recordings and an EP for a local country artist.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I just signed up...so I'm hoping to meet and work with many of you guys and gals.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital sent out to analog summing then back digital. Just because. haha.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is to never compromise or give up. I'm a very stubborn guy...if I or the client hears something...maybe we can't quite describe it, but I will work and experiment until we finally say "yes". I can promise you that at the end of it, if you aren't happy with what I've produced, I will delete it forever and you do not owe me a dime.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Meeting new people and hearing original music.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I'm asked a lot about my experience and gear. I'll usually give my experience in the music industry as well as a list of producers that I have recorded with, worked with, and picked up knowledge from. I try not to get in to the whole gear discussion, because it just does not matter if you go from A to Z in a jumbo jet or a bicycle. Especially when the audience only hears the end result. It's all about the end result.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it takes millions of dollars worth of equipment to produce quality recordings or that you have to spend a lot of money for quality recordings/mixes. That there is a "how to" manual for this.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1. What's your message? 2. How do you want to convey it? 3. Anything you absolutely do not want?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't focus on the size....it's the motion of the ocean. Get it? No, wait....
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Pen, Paper, J45, Tascam 4 track tape deck recorder, SM57
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been tracking bands for almost two years. I can simply not get enough of this art. The whole process has me hooked.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Open. I'm open to try things that may seem out of the box. I'm willing to fail how ever many times it takes until I succeed at getting THE sound. Given good track quality, I like to take a minimalist approach when it comes to processing. I've got a great ear and sense of how EQ and tones will sit in a mix. I'm a drum/guitar lover. I can tell you one thing...the drums and guitars will sound huge. Unless it doesn't fit the song of course :)
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Chris Stapleton. Needtobreathe. Jason Isbell. Alabama Shakes. Black Keys. But if I could only choose one guy to work with for the rest of my career it would be, without a doubt, Ryan Adams. He's a true artist and writer. It would be an honor to have my name on an album credit. I'd die happy.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Have fun, but take it seriously. Don't get caught up in gear and appearance. Focus on the end goal. After all....no one can listen and tell if you had a $300 pop filter or a wire hanger with panty hose over it.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I've worked on many various genre's. From country to hip hop to praise and worship. Live recording. Studio recordings.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Communication and willingness to learn.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: What I lack in what some look for in experience...I feel I make up for in being fresh. Open minded. Unwilling to accept sub par. My goal is to translate effectively what the artist feels. His emotions. His heart. His song.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: As a mixing engineer, I first get and idea of the headspace the artist is in with the song. What is your message? What do you want to deliver that emotionally? What are you absolutely opposed to? What would you like to hear? Once all those, and many other questions, are hashed out...I'll route my session how I feel will best serve the over all mix, then I'll bring every track to around -20 or lower...pull each channel up one by one and listen for character and content. I'll start to build a very rough mix this way by only using volume and panning. I like to use reference tracks of a song that is as similar as I can find. See where everything sits and start to build a plan for how to get from A to Z. Once I've place everything in the mix, I'll determine what I need to EQ and what I need to leave alone. Same goes with comp. I bus mix. Every track has it's group that it's sent to. I'll usually EQ/Comp at the bus first to get a firm sound as a group...then go back on the individual channels and make minor adjustments (if even needed). Reference. Listen. Tweak. Listen. Reference. Listen. Tweak. Take a drive. Listen. Listen low. Listen loud. Reference. Listen on my phone speaker. Reference. Tweak. and on and on, never giving up and discounting anything until it's right.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Small project studio. Working mostly ITB with Waves, Slate, Izotope, and various other plugins. Yamaha and Tannoy monitoring. Mac and PC for my CPU's. I have several DAW's that I like to work out of...it totally depends on the project. Reaper, Logic, Adobe CC, and Ableton are my "go to" choices. I use Amplitube, Waves GTR, Drumagog, EZDrummer, and various Synth plugins when needed. Focusrite converters. Shure SM7b. Rode NT2a, Sennheiser e604's, 609's. Shure SM57's. Shure Beta 57's.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My all time favorite producer has got to be Matt Goldman. If you are not familiar with his work, please research him and be inspired.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Full production. From composing, to tracking, to mixing to be ready for mastering.