Diego Hodge

Producer, Engineer

Diego Hodge on SoundBetter

I work with each unique artist to find a personalized approach for their project. I do everything I can to make the sessions comfortable and enjoyable, while also staying on schedule.

I started recording music around 2007, I got a multitrack recorder and jumped right in. I didn't have any formal training, so I experimented a lot with different sounds. Since I didn't know how to use any effects after tracks were recorded, I focused on getting sounds right before they got to the microphone. Early on, I learned how to make songs more interesting by adding layers and additional instruments. It was always a means to an end until about 2015 when I recorded an album with a band I was in and realized how much a liked being in the studio. Since then I shifted my primary focus to recording and mixing. I built and run a small studio, Valley Crest Recording, where I record and mix the majority of the projects that I work on. I love creating a memorable experience in the studio, so I experiment a lot and I encourage artists to experiment as well. I let artists run wild with ideas, and I try to never discourage an artists' creative output based on my own bias or expectations. I really strive to create a comfortable and creative environment and an overall positive experience for the artists that I work with. Ultimately, I’m here to serve the artist.

Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Interview with Diego Hodge

  1. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  2. A: A lot of artists ask me how long is it going to take, or how much is it going to cost, to record their song or album and my answer is always the same. It could take a day or it could take a year, that is completely up to the artist's skill level and the desired end result. Obviously I get details and try to give them a reasonable quote, but ultimately, it's completely in the artist's hands.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: I'm currently working with multiple artists at different stages of projects, but theres 4 that have been most active. I’m mixing a full length album that I recorded over the last year, mixing a 6 song EP that I recorded about a month ago, tracking a full length album, and in pre-production for another full length album.

  5. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  6. A: Both, analog for workflow and creativity, digital for recall and portability. I hate having to scroll through menus and open plugins to change a parameter with a mouse, I much prefer being able to lean over and turn a knob, so I've been adapting my workflow to use more outboard on the way in and less plugins, treating the computer more like a tape machine.

  7. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  8. A: My promise to clients is that I really care about your music, and I will work really hard to make sure that everyone involved in the project is happy with the end result.

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: I love starting each day with a new idea, and getting to the end of the day with a piece of music to show for the day's work, often times much different from my expectations. It's so cool that I can pull up a song and listen to it on my phone or in my car when that song didn't exist yesterday, it's literally making and cataloging history. It's just such a cool experience and it’s part of what makes every job unique.

  11. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  12. A: A lot of artists ask me how long is it going to take, or how much is it going to cost, to record their song or album and my answer is always the same. It could take a day or it could take a year, that is completely up to the artist's skill level and the desired end result. Obviously I get details and try to give them a reasonable quote, but ultimately, it's completely in the artist's hands.

  13. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  14. A: That this isn’t hard work. I’ve had people say things like “well, you’re kinda at work.” Just because I enjoy my job, doesn’t make it any less work. What we do is mentally exhausting.

  15. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  16. A: I ask for demos, what position they need me to fill, reference tracks, and as many details as I can about the instrumentation and the approach.

  17. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  18. A: Clearly communicate what you're looking for and be well rehearsed and prepared for the studio.

  19. Q: How would you describe your style?

  20. A: I'd like to think that my style is adaptable to the current artist or project that I'm working with, but there are certain elements that I seem to choose as a gut instinct. I love spaghetti western film scores, so I fall back on tremolo rakes, baritone guitar melodies and trumpet melodies a lot, I love the sound of slide guitar for atmosphere and melody, I like spacey reverbs and delays. I like to experiment with weird tones and sound effects.

  21. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  22. A: I mostly work on indie rock and folk based genres, I don't have much experience with hip hop, or metal.

  23. Q: What's your typical work process?

  24. A: I try to give artists as much creative freedom as they want, but also try to manage the time to keep budgets within reason. I try to tailor the workflow and the experience to each individual artist so the work process changes, but I always put an emphasis on performance, and feeling, rather than perfection. Often times I get musicians to play off of each other instead of a click track. I like to have at least a scratch vocal early on in the process to build the arrangement around. I like to experiment a lot.

  25. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  26. A: I usually co-produce, engineer and mix the projects I work on.

  27. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  28. A: Too many to list, but Dangermouse, Sylvia Massey, Steve Albini, Joe Barresi, Jacquire King, Bosco Mann, Warren Huart, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Man Man, Gorillaz, Radiohead, Foxygen, The Lemon Twigs, Daft Punk, The Shins, Steely Dan, Fiona Apple, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Andrew Bird, Spoon, Cake, Sparklehorse

  29. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  30. A: My studio is a 16' x 20' single room with a 15' ceiling peak and an 8' x 16' loft. My approach to building the room was live end dead end, so I have a fairly dead mix position under the loft and the rest of the room is more live. I always have a drum set, a guitar amp and a bass amp mic'd up and ready to go. I have an upright piano, a Hammond M2 organ, a Nord Electro 3 and a whole bunch of other instruments from synths to mandolin to kalimba. I try to have enough available that I never have to rely on virtual instruments.

  31. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  32. A: No matter the project, I try to bring positivity and make the artist as comfortable as possible, from climate to snacks and drinks to the overall atmosphere of the studio, the artist's comfort is top priority. As an engineer and/or producer I don't like to overstep my bounds so communication is key. I establish early on my position in a project and whether or not the artist wants me to give feedback. I try to maintain objectivity with my feedback and avoid my own bias, unless it's more of a collaboration. I'm a multi-instrumentalist as well so sometimes I end up playing guitar, bass, drums, percussion, keys or writing and singing harmonies.

  33. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  34. A: Really any artist that has songs and performances with an emotional impact.

  35. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  36. A: I have been actively working towards a career in engineering and producing since 2017.

  37. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  38. A: I helped my good friend Billy Giaquinto write and produce a song called Trees Breathe. He had most of the song written, but I added a few small things. He wanted a Tom Waits type feel and I had a lot of freedom to add instruments. It's available on bandcamp under the artist "Slav Squad Jazz Band" and it was also the first song to be recorded in my studio.

  39. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  40. A: Always allow the artist the freedom to try an idea, no matter how much you think it won't work. And if you still hate it after its recorded, but they still like it, sleep on it. 90% of the time, the idea that I didn't initially like becomes a staple of the song for me.

  41. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  42. A: David Badstubner

Terms Of Service

Typical turn around time is less than 2 weeks (sometimes a day or 2) 3 revisions included.

Gear Highlights
  • Focusrite
  • CAPI
  • AML
  • Motu
  • Tegeler
  • Coleman Audio
  • AEA
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  • AKG
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  • Warm Audio
  • DBX
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  • Nord
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  • Hammond
  • Moog
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