I have found myself working more and more with psych rock bands. I've made my bed... now I lay in it. If you're a far-out, blown-out, tape-warped, time-warped, surfy-psyche, trip-driven outfit with a sonic vibe that takes you on a musical journey?.. then get in touch for mixes that fill this criteria.
Stonewax Productions is a freelance music producer, mixing engineer on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Steve worked among many different styles in the industry, from Hip Hop through to Blues, through to EDM. However, in the last 12 months, Steve's unique mixing skill set has steered him more and more into the Australian psych scene. Working heavily alongside Sunshine Coast psych-outfit Dear Doonan, and Brisbane's journey-driven ethereal-prog band, Endless Valley, Steve has built a name for himself as one of the go to producers/engineers in the SE QLD psych arena.
for more visit: www.stonewaxproductions.com
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Interview with Steve Summers
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The Dear Doonan 14 track live album. We tracked 14 songs in 4 days. The band is a six piece psych-rock outfit with Eastern and Western instrumentation. A huge project that took 6 weeks of planning. Now, in the mixing stage, the album is set to be released at the end of 2019, and will be a monster of catchy folk and psych-rock songs with an abundance of unorthodox instrumentation. Instrumentation consists of dojo, banjo, electric guitars, bass, live drums, percussion, trumpet, harmonica and vocals, all blending together to create a unique quality of psychedelic music. Now moving onto album two with a lean towards the East, Dear Doonan's 'Temple of Doon' will be another proud project.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Right now, I'm working on... - Endless Valley debut album, an eight track progressive-psych journey. - Riccardo Tallarico's rocking debut single 'Falling Sky'. - WhodaFunkit? live tour mixes. - album two from psych-lords Dear Doonan called 'Temple of Doon'. Recent releases: - Flooded Gum - Sun Lay Bled (Single) - Flooded Gum - House On Fire (Single) - Dear Doonan - Sweet Quiche (Single) - Dear Doonan - How Do You See? (Single) - Dear Doonan - self titled debut album - Sam Yeoward - Alice (Single)
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Quality music and a good time, without breaking the bank!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: It can be fixed in the box... It can be programmed to suit my abilities. It can be hard to make something out of nothing... Sometimes... If an artist has a goal of recording their song and is inexperienced in jamming with a band or working with a click, and they want to achieve that wall of sound production, then that becomes a speed bump. It slows down the process and can become disheartening when you can't achieve what the artists desires. As an artist, you should be as prepared as you can before seeking out a producer or engineer. You will save time and money if you have the boxes ticked before seeking assistance. In saying that, i'm always happy to hear the artist out before taking them on as a client. Sometimes it's doable, sometimes it can be like opening a can of worms. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My guitar, a tube amp, a drum kit, a vintage condenser mic, and a 4 track tape machine.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Mark Ronson. His arrangements are a force to be reckoned with.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Practice makes for a great performance, which ensures a great recording.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Primarily Eastern and western psych, surf, funk, rock.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My strengths lie in transitional moments, effects, and heavy moments that intend to hit hard.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: At the moment, I'm working out of Yama-Nui Recording Studio. www.yama-nui.com
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: My favourite style of production is live band recordings, with all mixing and tonal choices made on the way in. Commiting and capturing a vibe!
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm inspired by the work of Rick Rubin and Mark Ronson, as well as the quality of work created by Mix engineers like Joe Barresi, Andrew Scheps, Sylvia Massy, and Guy Gray. These gurus not only thrive in the studio environment, but they also have paved the way of the careers for many artists and producers.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Depending on the project scope, I will do some pre-production planning with the artist/band to get into their realm and understand their goal. If required and accounted for in the budget, I will book studio time and plan out the sessions. I will work with the band/artist to fine tune their music before stepping into the session. Then, when it's time for the sessions, I will create scratch tracks with the artist (if required), and begin layering instrumentation, or track live elements depending on the artist's required aesthetics. I will track till finished, then overdub anything else that's needed. Layer up the vocal layers, and then begin mixing. Once the artist is happy with the mix, I will arrange the mastering with them, and assist them the whole way to the release with they need.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm a people person, and I'm really easy to get along with. I thrive in the studio environment, managing the session and keeping the creative juices flowing. I've found that once an artist is comfortable with me (which doesn't take long), I can get the best out of their performance. I've been playing guitar for 15 years, and drums for 10, and have a strong understanding of musical structure and relationships, and also what makes good music great.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Psychedelic, Free Flowing, Tonal, and Groovy.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started out as a musician, playing with bands for many years. I then began producing artists out of my home studio, slowing building a list of clients and releases. I then studied Audio to further my skill, as well as a tonne of self-teaching on the industry itself. I then began freelancing as a producer in 2017, beginning to stamp my name and skill set on a bunch of different projects. From here, I've produced chart successes and have worked with bands and artists to deliver quality music to the public. As well as hosting my own events to promote the works. Now, i'm working in and out of different studios, and slowly but surely making my way up the industry ladder.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Have some sort of understanding of your stylistic needs before commiting to a producer. Make inquiries to better understand whom can assist you with your goal, have a budget, and be open minded to a producers ideas. If they're credited, they'll know how to make your music the best it can possibly be and get it into the right hands so your music can be heard by the world.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What's your budget? What are your goals with this project? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you help me with the songwriting process? Yes, I can! Can you produce my EP or Album? Yes, I can! Can you help me release my music, and gain publicity? Yes, I can!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Praise from the Artist. I love watching their reaction when they hear their music for the first time. My heart fills when the artist is proud of their work, and in turn tells everyone about it.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Analogue is timeless and will always sound superior, however, in this day and age, the turn-key studio is a must for a fast turn over.