What's your typical work process?
Well I can't tell you everything I do, else I'll be copied!!!!
I can tell you though that I like to build the song. You know what I was saying before about clarity? I envisage songs as though the performers are in my studio recording their parts through the studio live room, so I have to make sure everything I'm 'seeing' as such is represented in the final mix.
With this in mind, I make sure that the instruments are the strongest foundation to the song that they can be, and I do this approach whatever genre I'm working in. Vocals are worked on last in my process, and these are worked on with the uptmost importantance, probably more so than the instruments as this is what we listen to on the radio. It is only musical fans that listen to the radio and say "wow I'm loving this bass line!!", yes it is important it is clear and prominent in the mix but the general public want to sing the words and dance along to it. Sure they might do this hearing the drums turned up loud, but the vocals are the key to success.
When everything's treated, I balance everything carefully, keeping in mind my 'window' philosophy and thinking about commerical considerations. I then send the song back to the artiste and wait for their feedback.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Ok, I suppose you can call my studio set-up "in the box" as it is a Mac Pro desktop computer and there are many analogue purists who write this type of set-up off, but with this I'm able to have the best of both worlds.
My main control desk is an SSL Nucleus, and the depth and warmth I'm able to get through this is staggering, due to the analogue components bringing that classic feel of 'sound' that it brings out in my production work. I also use some of the finest analogue plug-ins to further accent this work, such as Slate Digital's Virtual Cosole Collection (VCC) or the Virtual Mix Rack (VMR). These two plug-ins alone lets me emulate the warmth and presence of 8 analogue desk types, such as a NEVE, Trident, SSL or EQs such as the FG-S Brit 4K EQ.
I also use Waves plug-ins in my rig such as Chris Lord-Alge's "Guitar" plug-in which really beefs up guitar tones to sit perfectly in a mix and Butch Vig's "Vocals" plug-in gives me a range of gentle compression and dessers to deliver that perfect "money vocal" as I like to call it.
People may knock the digital approach, but for what I do, I have what I consider to be a top class production rig which can make your recordings stand the test of time like the artistes I mentioned previously have.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Well I think we could be here all day with this one ha ha!!!
Basically, my favourite type of producers are the people who give a rich, detailed and realistic sound to their recordings, whoose layers to the song just ozze clarity.
They are many and varied, but basically people like:
Peter Collins (Rush, Gary Moore, Alice Cooper, Flying Colors)
Martin Birch (Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Whitesnake)
Alan Parsons (Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd)
Nick Davis (Genesis)
Wyn Davis (Dio, John Norum, Heaven & Hell)
I also admire the sound work of modern pop music such as Westlife, IL Divo, Anastacia etc. Basically that pinnacle of clarity is the sound that get's me interested, no matter the genre.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
My speciality is mixing and mastering songs for artistes so that they can get a professional sound for their needs. The better recorded the files/STEMS are, the better the end result will be, particularly if you have individual instrument files as oppossed to putting all the instruments into one file like some people I've worked with have.
I also do MIDI programming for drums to get a more realistic sound when the loops don't quite have that 'real' sound. The interface I use for drums just adds so much realism, it truly does sound like a live drummer has recorded them.