I am a lifelong musician with an ear for detail. No matter what you feel you're missing within your track, we will find out what that is and fix it together. Except singing ... You don't want to hear me sing.
I am a classically trained Percussionist, first and foremost. When I realized Conservatory was not exactly what I was seeking, I obtained my degree in Film Production, never allowing that to halt any aspect of my musicianship. If anything, learning Film taught me how to illicit the proper reaction you wish to receive. In particular (personally), I am a big fan of Audio Production for Film/TV, aside from more 'straightforward' material.
Lifelong story short, I can assist in regards to both aural and visual aspects of the track/album/TV show/Film you wish to promote, provide some pizazz to your piece or resolving moments of writers' block from Art giving you some trouble.
My 'motto' is Artists helping Artists. This is reflected on my website (ChuckW.Com) where all resources and tips are free of charge. I merely wish to see you flourish as an artist and will stop at nothing to make that happen.
Musical dedication over the years has cost me friends, family and partners. Mostly because you cannot pry me away from Final Cut or Logic with a crowbar. I will stop at nothing to ensure satisfaction with all aspects of your musical piece. From brainstorming, through the writing process, up through production and ultimately the most fruitful way to go about releasing your material - I've been through all of it and I am ready, willing and able to give you my all. Every. Time.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Chuck W.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Phew, heck of a question! I suppose I'd have to think of this in somewhat a 'what's most necessary' over preference here. Let's assume (sake of argument) that the island had power and a power strip already to not waste an item. So, I would need a mode of amplification, of course. That would need to be item one. I feel as though a mechanism for recording in a very diverse fashion would be needed if it were to keep me entertained for however long I was to be stranded so I'd also bring my Edirol field recorder. This is item two because it would allow me to grab random snippets of nature and ambient sounds for sampling later. It also records direct to SD card, allowing for a cleaner recording and the potential for creation of a digital project. So, a lot of what I just said sort of hints at what numbers 3 & 4 would be; A Volca sample and my trusty, old ass, custom jobbed Macbook pro. 3, the Volca - I mean not wild to want one of these if stranded in no man's land. It's highly portable, easily programmable and capable of mutilating any sort of sound. Without a doubt the Volca Sample is a necessity. 4, The computer, a rather easy one to figure out. Need a DAW and need somewhere to load in those recordings from the SD card. It's really that simple as far as why I would need that much processing power. The toughest one will now be five. It's the odd man out, the ace of your sleeve and one of your opportunities to best add your own style in despite half the list containing your 'necessities'. I already have a percussive instrument in nature via the Volca, so that rules out my DFAM begrudgingly. Normally I might do something TOTALLY CRAZY and say a guitar here, but having some issues with my arm so that's also out. I suppose, gun to my head, I'm grabbing my MS20Mini because of it's amazing filter setup (they screeeeam!!) and the sounds to be be conjured there. Also, it's damn near one of my only machines with an actual, real keyboard affixed to it. Boom - Look at that. Through some careful thought we came to a conclusion but ... OH NO!!! ... What's That?!?! .... Iceberg?!?!? ... Glad I grabbed those five things right before being asked this question. This is the SS Titanic now signing off, gotta run! Women and children first!!
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would adore the notion of working with master Engineer, Mr. Dave Fridmann. He is such an influential musician and producer, helping some of the greatest of the modern era achieve the sound they were seeking. Aside from Mercury Rev being plenty influential in their own right. He has been crafting the soundscapes of some of our favorite bands for decades at this point, taking a glance over his shoulder while he recorded a live session is undoubtedly a personal bucket list item.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Alternative Rock, Indie, Electronic, Experimental, Synth, Rock, Instrumental, Shoegaze. Wall of Sound, Soundscapes
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Patience. Communication between creative types of folks is always a rough go. Everyone views music, in addition to their approach, in a unique fashion. It's like a finger print. You can try to mock someone else's, but in the end that will all be tied back to the owner. I try to mitigate this confusion which can occur by understanding best I can the Artist's intention. The more I know what they desire hearing from themselves, the more I can deliver finished material with that in mind. This realization only comes by being open-minded, remembering they are the customer, and asking a boat load of questions.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My newest album beats some other projects by a hair. And that's not just me being self-serving and listing the most recent thing completed. I genuinely believe this is some of the best music I'm yet to put to tape in my 20 years or so of playing. Humorously enough, this album's theme and tunes came to me quickest of any other musical projects ever. Perhaps it's confidence in my abilities that are to thank for this pace, or a burning desire to get some new stuff out the door. Either way, I would say this album is more structured than items I've released in the past. Has a better mix, general audio quality and cohesive songs.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Pre-through-Post-Production, Editing, Mixing, Brainstorming, Guest Musician Spots, Anything Needed, I do not Master, though, FYI.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: At the moment I have an ‘all hands-on deck’ scenario occurring within my marketing schema . That is the focus at the present, as my second self-released solo album, Small World, will be entering the stream-o-verse on February 11, 2020. To elaborate on said schema, I am actively running targeted campaigns on both FaceBook and Instagram (Twitter, I find, is not terribly effective) up to and beyond the release date of the 11th. I very much enjoy engaging with anyone at all interested in my material, so, of course, part of my Marketing schema is just getting out there. Meeting new Musicians, helping where I may, and growing my audience organically by just being a nice person. I plan to continue to submit for as many curated playlists by private parties I possibly can (even after release). General reach out to blogs and influencers will continue as normal also. You can’t get 100 ‘no’s’ if you don’t submit at least 100 times.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I wish! I would love to connect to the community here because, frankly, these are my types of folks. We speak the same nerdy languages, I bet we wear similar clothes and typically enjoy the same music. I look forward to furthering this community and rather than competing with the fellow artists and engineers, I hope to make some new friends, chat up some BS and learn a whole heck of a lot all at once.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Why limit yourself? As technology advances a disparity will always exist between these two options. Better to embrace each approach simultaneously, to allow for a nice and even learning curve, rather than scrambling to do XYZ in an analog fashion, oh, but let me come over here because it needs a digital touch and back and forth, etc. Also, it allows one to not forget their roots. Analog is widely regarded as dated and aged, utilized only for nostalgia and as a stunt. I would argue against this point for the fact that, at a time, these were possibly the most advanced recording methods of their day. Meaning, you have a unique opportunity to pass through time with just your music. By switching back and forth, not only do you advance possibilities in timbre heard, you are able to encapsulate time via format.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You will never hear an ounce of BS out of me. That is my solemn vow to you throughout ALL aspects of my life, in relation to Audio or not. My feedback at times may upset you, it may anger you, or cause you to say, “The fuck does this guy think he is?” Please know, my only reason for being so direct is to provide you a product you can be proud of, not shelve it to never be listened to again. As an Artist too I understand the sentiment of, “Who are you to tell me?” Well, here’s who I am – I am not a band member. I am not your mom. I am not your friend (we can be friends but just go with me here for a second). I am not your professionally hired ‘yes’ man and I’m also not going to place MY NAME on a piece of garbage. My reputation lies in your satisfaction and before we obtain that, the job simply is not done and we will continue to work it until it is. That simple.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Always do your homework on your Producer. Yes, this is your Producer, or potential one, telling you to please go shop around. Make sure my rates aren’t jacked up for no reason. Make sure I can put my skill where your talent lies. Also, SPEAK UP!!! I am not a mind reader. If you are unhappy with the direction any particular sound might be going, I am unaware unless you inform me. And, I consider myself a very open-minded individual. Anything can be changed, tweaked or touched up. I’m not going to take offense because you want YOUR material to sound a certain way. DO, THOUGH, be sure to give that shout. Otherwise, I am the type of personality that will take a notion and run with it until completion.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: This, I feel has a somewhat interesting answer. Originally, I was a classically trained Percussionist. So, music was always the intended outcome. Then, fast forward to College, where I learned majoring in Percussion was BORING. It was rigid, far too structured and had no potential for creativity thanks to this hardline syllabus. I transitioned to Cinema for a major, only to uncover my niche (FINALLY!). It appeared that Audio Design was the perfect meeting ground for both Cinema and Music. I relished being the ‘sound guy,’ with my little boom mic and headphones, hidden in the corner trying to capture everything. I spent as much time in the Audio Lab before they would kick me out daily, learning incessantly about analog and digital techniques (and how to blend them). As all good things do, though, College came to an end. Money did not really permit for Grad school, so I took to working, never forgetting what the real intention was and is. My day job was my side gig. It merely fostered my ‘real’ job of Audio Production that I just happened to not get paid for. This was ten years ago and I feel music only consumes me more daily. Since graduation, I have scored feature films, put out two self-released albums with my eye already on a third. To answer the question about how long I’ve been at this – I began mucking about with recording since around 12 or 13, when the Band I was in decided we needed a demo to ‘make it’ but no one was up to the difficult task of production. Even then, at that young age, we realized there was something precious in Production. Something you don’t want to ever fudge up. An art all by itself, within another art. I bought my first DI at 17 and am now 32. So, I’ve been doing this a fair amount of time, ha.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would say that I am very open. My personal style for my solo material is Experimental. Most might find this to be somewhat of a disadvantage. Again, I must disagree. Within the realm of Experimental music you touch upon so many sounds and textures. You seek to develop thoughts and soundscapes, which draw your listener to your similar mindset. You somewhat have a hand in all pots. For that reason, I am rather malleable, or chameleon-ish when it comes to production technique. I can 101 it and we can cut a 1-4-5 Ramones album. I can Kevin Shields it with you and spend two year’s perfecting one bass drum strike. It really depends on your preference, how I can make you a happy client and end up with the sound you wish to craft. This is not about me at all. My style will be happily tweaked in whatever manner is necessary to get your tracks done.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Always allow enough head room. You can only go so high post-recording. Head room allows for more maneuverability.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Structure and Uniqueness. My Percussion background keeps me focused on rhythm and structure. My personal taste in music then always finds it's way in somehow. Catchy but glitchy melodies tend to be the outcome. If the song is more straightforward, I'll simply follow the chord's structure to add flavor on top and in tune to 'fill out' the sound of a track.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to call it 'throwing paint at a wall,' Subsequently, after said paint is thrown and dries, I see what gooey texture has stuck. From there, it's somewhat like assembling a puzzle. The best textures are blended together until they 'work'. I then balance the volumes of the tracks against one another, pan back and forth subtly to give it a little humanity and add effects if necessary. Then, we've arrived! I will EQ the tracks (more effects may be warranted at that point, wherein I will volume balance once more to avoid clipping). I can then export to whatever format you may wish.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: There's no way to explain this shortly - Moog Mother 32 and DFAM, Korg SQ-1, MS20-Mini, Electribe AMKII, Volca Sample, AI Synthesis A1006 Stomp Box Modeler, Motu 8-Pre Digital Interface, Lots of Microcassette Recordings, Logic Pro X Sample Library and Software instruments, Rack Application, Caustic Application, Shure six-piece Drum Kit Mic Setup, Ludwig Shells, Sabian/Zildjian Cymbals, Multiple Fender Guitars, Fender P-Style Jazz Bass, Behringer stomp boxes of every variety, and I'm sure I'm forgetting further details.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: LCD SoundSystem, Spoon, John Cale, Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, The Flaming Lips, The Secret Machines, Pond, Tame Impala, Beck, Radiohead, The Clash, Ezra Furman, Conor Oberst, David Byrne, Nine Inch Nails, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Robert Moog, clipping.