Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Well, I'm proud of every project that I've been a part of, but to date, I'm particularly proud of the Dew Pendleton project that I worked on last year. I was the producer, the tracking engineer, the mixing engineer, and I helped master the record, entitled The Spectrum pt. one: Red. It was the first project that I was the producer on, and that I handled myself from start to finish. Despite a time crunch at the end, and a few late nights, I'm proud of that project, and I learned a lot from the experience.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I have 2 projects I am working on: I'm producing 3 songs for a rock band, and we are scheduling time to track guitar overdubs and vocals. The second is a project I'm producing is for an R&B artist. Currently, I'm doing another round of mixes for him.
Analog or digital and why?
I'm equal opportunity. There are great things and advantages to both, and I am open to both analog and digital. Lately, I am working in the digital, running Pro Tools 12 for my tracking/mixing/editing.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
My promise is simple: I want my clients to be nothing short of absolutely happy with the end result. I will include you in every step of the process, and do my absolute best to meet and exceed any needs/wants you may expect from me.
What do you like most about your job?
The thing I like most about my job is that I am a part of the process of creating music. I get to listen to talented people create amazing songs and art, and they let me in on it, they allow me to help them take it to higher levels.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Usually, customers/clients/artists ask me some variation of the questions that have been asked in this interview: how long I have been working in this career, what have I worked on, what genres do I work in. And I give them the answers that I have given here in the interview.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I usually ask prospective clients a few questions:
- What are you looking to do on this project/record?
- Do you have a specific sound in mind?
- What is your budget?
- Have you put any ideas down already? Let's listen to them
- This is the way that I work (place explanation of my processes here), how are you used to working?
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I made the decision to be a record producer in the late spring/early summer of 2004. It wasn't until about 7 years later that I made a conscious decision to pursue it as a career. I went about things in more of an old school way, interning in 2 different studios over the course of 4 years, working my way up from intern, to assistant engineer, to producer.
How would you describe your style?
My style, for the most part, is fairly go-with-the-flow, old school ways and sensibilities in a digital domain.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Which artist would I like to work with? That's a long list...but the top 3 would be Foo Fighters, Metallica, and Zac Brown. As for why: Metallica, because without them, I wouldn't even be pursuing this career. The Foos, because they are so extremely talented and tight as a band, and they are a band that don't sound like anyone else. Zac Brown: He has that attitude and talent that goes against the grain, and I would love the opportunity to work with him.
Can you share one music production tip?
The one music production tip I would share is this: Music is not supposed to be perfect. If you want perfect, have a computer run a bunch of algorithms, sequence everything in MIDI, and make sure there is nothing but mathematical perfection. The song will suck, but it would be perfect. DON'T DO IT!! Let the music be what it is: people coming together and making a song, making music. It should not be perfect, and my advice is don't try to make it perfect. Let it SOUND perfect, not BE perfect.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I find myself usually working on a couple different genres of music: Rock, Singer/Songewriter mellow indie pop-rock, and Hip-Hop/R&B.
What's your strongest skill?
I would say my strongest skill is the emphasis I put on capturing a performance, as opposed to putting the emphasis on doing one take to save time or money, and "fixing it in the mix". I would rather do multiple takes of a song, to the point that everyone is sick of playing it, and capture an amazing performance that needs little fixing, then to do one mediocre take, and then spend the next six weeks trying to make it something that it never was.
What do you bring to a song?
What I bring to a song is this: An objective ear, being able to be that "other set of ears" that a band/artist needs. The ability to step back, listen to a track from the perspective of a fan of music, and help find the most potential in a song. I bring the ability to simply do what is best for the song, and for the project: it's not about doing what's best for my ego, the artist's ego, or anyone else's ego...it's about doing what is best for the song, what's best for the project.
What's your typical work process?
Typically, I'll start by meeting with a band or artist a few times, talking with them about what they want to do/what direction they want to take their project in. I will usually want to go to a few band rehearsals and/or shows, seeing how the band works, the communication processes, etc., and hearing/listening to/discussing the new ideas for songs that the artist/band wants to track on the next album. From there, we begin pre-production: working out costs, finding a studio, setting up a tracking schedule, etc. Then it's on to actually getting in the studio and tracking. I usually track all the members of the band together, playing the songs together at the same time, and going through and tracking multiple takes of songs. Then it's on to bass and guitar tracking/overdubs, any other instrumentation, and then tracking vocals.
From there, it's taking all the takes of the songs, finding the best takes, and mixing each song, working towards a fairly uniform sound and volume, and getting each track ready for mastering.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
My inspirations as a record producer are pretty broad: Bob Rock, Butch Vig, Rick Rubin, Nick Raskulinecz, Phil Specter, Ken Caillat, Steve Albini, Joe Barresi, Dan Zientara, James Brown (audio engineer), Daniel Lanois, Ross Robinson, Flood
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
The most common types of work that I do for clients is producing their songs/projects, working with them through the tracking process, making suggestions as necessary to help them achieve what they want to hear, tracking their songs, editing and mixing their songs, and I do some mastering as well.