Hi, I'm Pete Jacobs! FIRST, my cheesy but honest sales pitch: I take pride in giving EVERY project I work on my undivided attention and care. My goal is never to knock out a project just to get to the next one, but instead to make each project euphonic and emotionally MOVING and CAPTIVATING, rather than just notes coming out of speakers!
Now onto my background:
I started diving heavily into my musical journey around the age of 11, when I found my parent's tapes and CDs and started learning guitar to The Beatles, The Who, and eventually lots of 90s and 2000s grunge, punk, americana, and rock bands.
Fast forward about a decade, and I found myself studying music production and engineering at Berklee College of Music while writing, singing, and playing guitar in a rock band, Dirty Blind, and touring alongside Jefferson Starship.
Years later, I moved to Nashville, started a professional home recording business, and we are now furnished with a beautiful sounding Neve Genesys Console, some fantastic microphones and outboard mix/mastering gear, and a great tracking and control room! I've done many recordings, mixes, and masters here for local americana, rock, pop, country, and other styles. I've also picked up a number of instruments with reasonable proficiency. I can co-write, produce, edit, mix, master, and perform on your track as a vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, drummer, or percussionist.
I hope you find I'm a good match for caring for your song!
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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Interview with Peter Jacobs
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm proud of my recent work on Zach Cornell's "Devil's Been Working." I co-produced and mixed this album. I went into this project never having met Zach before, and I had NO idea the level of talent he would bring to the studio. Every song invoked so much creativity, tastefulness, and musicianship in the players and engineers. When a project goes smoothly like that, we all just relax and smile, and enjoy the process. It really shows in the end result. You can feel the comfortable and pleasant vibes that were in the studio on the CD.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I think of music as an art more than a science, and collaborating often leads to wonderful, unexpected things. As long as all parties are open minded and enthusiastic, we'll make some great music!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Neve 1073s, Flea 47, Beyerdynamic M88s, Let's make a record!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio has a control room with a Neve Genesys and WesAudio and Tegeler Audio recallable gear. My goal is to have analog sound with the ability to recall instantly (or near instantly). We also have some wonderful mics and pres, including a Flea 47, Lauten Eden and Sebatron VMPQuadPlus tube preamps. The tracking room has some great guitar amps (Vox AC30, Tone King Imperial, Ampeg for bass) as well as some great guitars and Gretsch drums.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I just finished producing and mixing an americana album for Will Payne Harrison, and I'm currently about to put out my own rock album as well.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been a guitarist, singer, and songwriter myself for 15 years. Ever since I started writing music, I started trying to figure out how to record myself, using whatever DAW or tape recorder and crap microphone I could find as a kid. Then I got the opportunity to study music production and engineering at Berklee College of Music, and I jumped at the chance. I've been recording everyone I can ever since.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I tend to lean towards warmer tones that breathe instead of hard, loud, and bright sounds. I'd say that I've got an "analog" ear with a digital workflow.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Go into a project with a vision and come out of it being pleasantly surprised. By that I mean, have a goal, but don't be afraid to try something new, and don't be too stubborn. That applies on either side of the glass, artist and producer/engineer alike. Just like life, plans get you going in the right direction, but you'll find amazing things when you take the back roads instead of the highway.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I think my ability to take an artists vision and enhance is as opposed to interfere with it is my greatest skill. I don't go into a project trying to make anyone sound like ME, nor do I want to sculpt away at it until it's sterile and bright and loud. I DO have a sound when it comes to mixing, and that's just a result of my instincts, influences, and lastly, the gear I use, but the artist is the customer and the customer is always right.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I want to FEEL something when I lean back in my chair to listen. I'm both a purist and an instinct engineer. I'm not sure if the term "engineer" is really accurate for my way of thinking about it. I approach audio engineering as an art as much as possible, and my goal is to let the song tell the story. If I can close my eyes and be really IN THE MUSIC, I know I've done my job well.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I'm a big fan of organization and pre-emptive planning. I prefer to start by discussing what an artists expectations are, then discuss my expectations, and put a strategy together to make sure the project is completed efficiently and satisfactorily. I prefer to work with an artist to fine tune their "vision" for the tracks being worked on. When tracking, my goal is to make whatever I hear in the live room be what I hear in the control room. Creative sounds can of course be achieved if desired, but I always strive for "honesty and clarity" first. As for my mixing technique, I tend to throw all the faders up and just listen to the track dry for a bit at first, to get a feel for the song's "story," and then start dialing in a good feeling mix with volume and panning before I sculpt away at frequencies and add compression/fx.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I work in a DAW (digital audio workstation), but I LOVE the vibe of working with analog. I've worked on tape, and it's a tactile and patient experience that often leads to more musical results (Using your ears instead of your eyes on a computer screen.) Analog isn't dead, but it is expensive and nowadays is often unnecessary. There are so many ways to emulate analog with astonishing results now that I don't worry about being "all analog." I do aim towards that vibe though with regards to how I conduct a session and how I mix.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: When I'm not working on music, I tend to listen to classic rock, 90s rock, and acoustic styles: The Beatles, The Who, Rolling Stones, Oasis, Pearl Jam, John Mayer, etc. I've always enjoyed working on other styles of music, and sometimes I find I can be more objective with other genres. As for production professionals, I've been lucky to befriend and work with some AMAZING ears like grammy winning engineer, Joe Ferla (John Mayer, Van Morrison, Pat Metheny, Esperanza Spalding, Norah Jones, etc.) and Matthew Ellard (Radiohead, Weezer, Black Sabbath, etc.), and they taught me a LOT of what I know about music production. I've also had the opportunity to pre-mix some tracks for Michael Brauer, and he is one of my biggest mixing influences.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I do mainly "musician" oriented popular music styles from americana and country to pop, rock, and blues. I dabble in electronic music as well and am happy to work on other styles.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Eddie Vedder, Pete Townshend, Tom Petty, Crosby Still Nash and Young... As I see it, these guys have more soul in their pinkies than I can conjure up in my whole body, and I would LOVE for that to rub off on me a bit. Plus, I just can't get enough of their music!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: When some unexpected magic happens. I love when people suddenly have a spark of creativity and come up with something unique for a song or when a happy accident happens, and everyone really loves the result. I also love when I get to try/learn something new.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Can you just fix ______ instead of me playing it/singing it again?" (Usually referring to a bad drum fill, out of tune bass note, harsh vocal, etc.) My answer depends.... Often it's actually a yes, though I don't always prefer that way of doing it. "Crap in, crap out" can also sometimes be the case, and some things just shouldn't be fixed in editing.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is that I guarantee I will deliver you something that I think sounds great! I will not deliver anything to you that I am not satisfied listening to. If it would make my iPhone playlist, then it's ready to send back to you. I will absolutely do my best to make sure it caters to your musical aspirations and stylistic preferences!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think most people expect that an audio engineer is supposed to push this botton, turn that knob, and make magic out of whatever has been played. What I do most is listen. If I'm tracking and a kick drum doesn't sound right, I don't reach for an eq, compressor, or a "fix it" knob. I re-tune the kick drum and/or move a microphone, or switch microphones, or tell the drummer to hit it differently. Microphones are just the ears. The source is what makes the sound. My job is to make it sound in the control room like it sounds in the live room. When it comes to mixing, contrary to what a lot of people say, I do think some things can be fixed in the mix. I don't think everything can or should, but there are some tricks to making everything sound "sweet," which is the real goal, isn't it?
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Budget, musical style, length of the project, and client expectations.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I do a lot of tracking and mixing for Americana and Rock artists/bands, recording vocal, guitar, keyboard, bass, drum overdubs, and editing, including melodyne, drum edits, quantizing, comping, etc. I also do a bit of post-production work for radio ads, short films, concert videos, and music videos.