Analog or digital and why?
Digital. Digital. Digital. It's simple really. Digital is less expensive, more precise, easier to work with, more crisp and clear, is easier to maintain, and by the time a final mixed is crushed through mastering, the sound quality is really the same. If you really want an analog sound, it can be replicated through digital techniques anyway!
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
At BackBeat Sound Design we PROMISE to give you exceptional rates AND superior quality recording. You may find less expensive studios, but they won't match our sound quality. You may find studios with fancier equipment, but they won't match our rates. BackBeat provides a kind of value that you can't find in the recording studio business. You will never leave disappointed.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the opportunity to continually experience new creativity. Everyone that I work with brings something new to the table, and keeps life as a music producer FRESH.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
People assume I make a lot of money. They don't realize the vast amount of time it requires to make a song. Someone may come into the studio and spend an hour recording their guitar and vocal parts for a song and think that there's not much more to it. What they don't realize is how many hours I spend creating the other instrument parts, mixing the parts that both myself and the artist have recording, tuning vocals, ensuring everything is perfect, etc. People think a song can be fully produced in a total of 4-5 hours. But when all is said and done, a song might take more like 20-30 hours. People think I make a lot of money when they divide my "per song" rate by 5 hours. But they should really be dividing it by 30 hours!
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Do your research. The biggest studio with the fanciest equipment doesn't mean you'll get the best sound. You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don't know how to use it the final result will be lacking. The best sound is going to come from the engineer that knows what he/she's doing, and the one who is willing to work hard for you, not the one with the prettiest toys.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been a musician in one capacity or another for nearly my entire life. From writing songs on a 10-key Fisher Price toy piano at age 4 to producing professional-grade albums today, and EVERYWHERE in between, music is my absolute passion. My official music career began at a very young age with classical piano lessons, but it didn’t take long for me to branch out into guitar, bass, and drums as I served as the director of my church’s worship ministry throughout high school. My career in recording and production began at age 14, learning to produce quality results from poor quality gear such as a $10 Radio Shack microphone. It's these experiences that shaped my quality production oriented mindset of today. I studied music in college, and was a part of many recording projects in one form or another over the years. In college I spent time studying music, music business, and sound engineering, and also gained vast experience from playing different instruments in numerous bands. After years of pursuing music as a side career, BackBeat Sound Design has become my full time passion and career.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I would love to work with Sara Bareilles. At her core, her music is raw and piano-based, which is my ultimate favorite musical style. When you listen to her music you can tell she doesn't just do whatever the producer says, but she also doesn't take complete control of the music - she contributes and develops ideas with those around her with the goal of accomplishing whatever serves the song best. It seems like her creative energy and talent would make for a fantastic experience.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work on all types of music. The most common genres are pop and rock, or some combination of those. But I also do a lot of work in country, hip-hop, rap, alternative, electronic - really anything that comes my way. If it's something I don't have a lot of experience in, I view it as a great opportunity to learn, and the final result will be solid no matter if it's a genre I've done 100 times or 0 times.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring a creative mindset. So many producers and musicians are limited to a knowledge of only one or two instruments. My background in multiple instruments allows me to envision how everything will fit together before it's ever recorded, which leads to tight and crisp recordings. I work hard for everyone to ensure that they will never leave disappointed in the work that I do for them.
What's your typical work process?
I like to build songs from the ground up. I make a plan, and then I dive in. After selecting a tempo and getting a quick scratch track in place, I generally start with the "backbone" of a song and get all drums and percussion in place before moving on to bass. From there I'll add other rhythmic instruments such as acoustic guitar or piano/other keys, then layer in any electric guitar that is needed before rounding it out with the lead vocals. Then, if the song calls for it, I'll add strings or other "specialties" to the mix. Once everything is in place, I'll step back from the song for a day or two to get my mind fresh again, and I'll work on the final mix, and then finally finish everything up with mastering.
Tell us about your studio setup.
The studio is in a very comfortable, dedicated 400 sq ft space attached to my home (this helps cut down on overhead expenses). The space is very open, and is loosely divided into 3 areas: 1) A Workstation Area where all equipment is housed, non-microphone recording is done, and all mixing, editing, and mastering takes place, 2) A Recording Area where all microphone-related recording (vocals, acoustic guitar, etc.) takes place, and 3) a Seating/Lounging Area with a couch for break times, or for guests of artists. The walls are lined with custom built acoustic absorption panels designed to limit audio reflections and maximize recording quality. Lighting and brightness are fully customizable to the artist's liking. Water and Wi-Fi are provided.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Most of my work is done with singer-songwriter type artists. This usually means they've written a song that they play on a single instrument (generally piano or acoustic guitar), and sing. These people come to me looking for a "fully produced" version of their song, meaning it will have drums, bass, guitars, keys, background vocals, etc., like anything you might hear on the radio in their given genre. I work with the artist to develop a vision for their song, and execute it accordingly. I handle all recording, mixing, producing, and mastering of the song, and the final result always brings out the full potential in the individual's song and takes it to a whole new level that they never could have accomplished with just a single instrument.