What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I feel its important that if you haven't fulfilled what they were looking for then it's okay to openly dialog about it (no hurt feelings here on my part) but simply the opportunity to try to get the most of of their experience. I am never opposed to the 100% satisfied or money back process. I simply want people to say "hey, you know, this was a great experience, either way we learned something. It's cool and I am here for you if you ever need me again. I know that always amazes me when vendors put that out there because to me it means, we believe in what we do.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
I really embrace the process of working with people. Really, where I have seen people, even myself, lost, is when we don't speak up or communicate clearly. It can be hard at first since we are speaking with another person, there may be important things left out. But detail is never overdone and I like when there is plenty of it. So making sure you know what you are seeking and what your likely end result could be, these are important points.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I have my favorites that span the generations. and as far as producers go, George Martin is at the top, a legacy to music production. As far as musicians and bands, Steve Lukather, Bruce Hornsby, James Taylor, Gino Vanelli, Pink Floyd, the Doobie Brothers, Blue October, The National, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waites, the Beatles, and and many others, there are so many great artists out there!
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
My first song was called Dog and Butterfly, something I wrote for my wife. This whole song came together one night, in about an hour or so, as I became frustrated with another song, I just ignored it and went to "play" with my keyboard and computer, then the chords came together and I was humming it all night. Sometimes it helps to put one thing away and come back to it later, which also by the way turned out great in this case because that other song eventually turned out awesome.
What are you working on at the moment?
Three songs in the works right now working towards an album-my first
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Plenty. Soundbetter has some awesome guys who have helped me tremendously in the past. James Nagel, Josh Blake Pfeil and Josh Woods. All exceptional and multi-talented. I have been honored to work with them.
Analog or digital and why?
I would say I am a bit of both, appreciating the raw aspect of sound as well as the opportunity digital offers. I like the idea that recording analog is really unlimited. That means for me I know it can move to a higher and higher resolution without losing its original quality. Almost like working in oils as an artist, its the difference to me between oils and acrylics, I'll let you think about that analogy ;-)
What do you like most about your job?
I think any profession hopefully sees the same thing in there desires to please the people who are interested in what they do. I once had a handyman tell me he loved the feeling of fixing things that were broken in a house and seeing the face of the people light up when his job was on spot. I think that analogy goes a long way.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
I am new to the client base for this profession so I have yet to see.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That this stuff comes easy. I am an artist who paints, draws, sculpts and only recently saw the art emerging through song. But it means oftentimes, just like art, you have to find your mental space, listen closely to your heart, and "feel with focus." These things are the habits of streamlining and focusing what could be a ton of thoughts at one time and only taking what works, Its all work that sometimes yields great results and sometimes helps us learn what doesn't work.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
Tell me what you are hoping for in this endeavor, aside from something great, I like the emotional dig. As well, tell me the story, how did this come about?
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
I would need a piano of course, even a small keyboard, my computer with Logic Pro X, maybe a Rode NT-USB and some great high end headphones and a simple notebook and pencil. Then I could write and play around for a lifetime:-)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
About 2 years now, new to these things. I started writing one day about 4 years ago after learning to play piano, I didn't want to play other's songs so I started making up my own songs and soon they were coming out, I would have tunes stuck in my head that needed to come out after that and they keep coming :-)
How would you describe your style?
I have been described as somewhere between a Tom Waite's sound and a Don Henley, so I see that as sort of a velvet sound at times and other times very raw and gritty.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Hmm, that's another tough one but I think I have two. The first would be to work with Tom Waites, that would be an ultimate cool thing, as he is such an eclectic blend of artistic energy, I love his work. The second would be to work with Sara Bareilles on a duet. She has an emotive sound that I like.
Can you share one music production tip?
While recording in Logic Pro X and utilizing vocals, its important to do several things while executing vocals like: Be consistent with where you record as environments change the recording, record raw, no texturing or effects like reverb, because we often want to hear something polished coming through, sometimes singers like that, some feel it helps them but I thing raw recording is better, because if you are happy with it raw, imagine what it will sound like when its edited! There are so many other tips but thinking out loud those were things I realized early on.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Since I am new to the profession, I am just getting out there and have just started releasing singles, my newest "Rain" is my latest song out. I like to compose and typically the end result is an adult contemporary feel, with some folk and rock balance to them. Several people have told me lately that my songs have a very "soundtrack" feel to them so we might add that one in.
What's your strongest skill?
Right now, probably songwriting, lyrical content, then singing is something I am always working on.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring my feelings into a song, trying to convey an emotion behind the words. That can make or break a song to me. I think of some of the artists I enjoy who are able to do this such as Justin Furstenfeld from Blue October and a song like "Fear" where there is such heart to the song, or like the Eagles and Don Henley's Desperado. Another emotive song that invokes feeling. These guys vocals convey that too.
What's your typical work process?
I like to get a feel for what the client is looking for in a song, what does it convey to them. After all, it should resonate with the originator. I am still new the profession but it is like much of my artistic endeavors over my lifetime, whether it is art (I am also a painter, sculptor) or music, each work is unique; there will always be some nice surprises that you never expect, and that's the fun part of this. But I like to gather that initial impression, then sit with it for a short while processing the client's thoughts, then run through vocals (if that is what is needed) or run through lyrics or constructing a musical sketch on piano. Then, the collaborative modifications begin.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work from a home studio; Logic Pro X drives much of my recording gear alongside some add ins like Melodyne with some top end mics for singing.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I like to work through vocals, create a sound for a song that is distinct and unique. Typically lending vocals whether front end or backing to tracks. I also enjoy lending a musical ear to scrubbing vocals so they are clean, so i use Logic Pro X alongside other tools to help create vocals that are rendered sounding natural. I don't like over processed vocals that take away from the singer's natural voice. As well, I like composing and writing music, what I call "sketches" that create unique potentials for songs.