Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
NO DEVOTION- permanence.
It's a band fronted by Geoff Rickly from the band "Thursday"
I played bass,guitar,keyboards,wrote and produced.
I feel like that one album sums up what I am about more than anything I have done.
Start there if you want to check out my work.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished up the production and mixing for a UK pop band called "bars and melody",a Simon Cowell/x factor picked act.
It's a complete change from anything have done in the past!
I am following this up with work on the second NO DEVOTION record.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
First, I want to hear some songs,then I need to know their expectations.
For mixing-What state are the tracks in?
Just because a song was recorded in a bedroom doesn't make it bad.
likewise -recording at a top-flight recording studio doesn't guarantee amazing results either.
if you want to sound like -insert dense large arrangements style band like Muse/queen and you only book a day then you are going to leave disappointed.
Give the music the time and respect it deserves to do it right.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Talk to the person you want to hire on the phone.
Research their reel.
Make sure they had a significant role on your fav albums and didn't just happen to be in the room when it went down.
Just take the care to be sure you are picking and trusting the right person to work with your art.
Don't be afraid to ask questions even 'stupid' ones.
Working with a producer should be a pleasure.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I grew up in south wales and after buying my first bass and four track at around the age of 15,
I went on to study music theory and sound engineering in college -that led to a job in a recording studio in 1996.
In my down time, i would record my band's (Lostprophets) demos and we got lucky enough to sign to Sony in 2001. we were touring pretty much non-stop until 2012.
I continued to stay up to date with recording technology and made as many records when I relocated to LA as my busy tour schedule would allow.
in 2008 I would record,produce and mix my band's 4th record for sony international.
From 2013 I mixed many albums and singles from my personal studio and in 2014 I formed the band NO DEVOTION with Geoff Rickly (Thursday) on vocals and produced the award winning album "permanence" in 2015.
In 2016 I built Mosswood studios and so far have been lucky to have been busy working mainly on mixing projects and writing and producing songs for artists since it opened in April.
How would you describe your style?
I am all about excitement and emotional impact.
I want to eek every drop out of a song
So much of music I am sent is kind of flat and lifeless and it just doesn't doesn't have to be that way.
With careful mixing,production and arrangement choices,i am super confident I can bring life and depth to songs and make you proud to listen to them.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
He has always been a huge influence on me.
I have been lucky to work with a lot of my inspirations.
Watching people like Bob Rock,David Fridmann and Eric Valentine work and effortlessly make great arrangements in front of my eyes has been the greatest part of my job.
Can you share one music production tip?
Always add some kind of distortion to drums,bass....everything.
blend it in.
I love it when a production feels really intimate,indie and lo-fi but still has a huge hi-fi impact.
That's the perfect storm for me.
how you use compression is huge.
with the correct use and abuse, it can take boring sounding program material and really inject fire into it,give it rhythm and purpose.
What type of music do you usually work on?
i usually work with live instruments and guitar based bands.
When it comes to hip hop and electronic music i usually help out more with arrangements and mixing.
The way an artist makes any music with technology is usually so specific to their personality that i feel it is better if i come into those projects when they are a little more fully formed.
As much as i love electronic music,spontaneity is not usually on your side and a deeper individual artist focus is needed.
What's your strongest skill?
I have played in bands for 20 years.
I just know when something doesn't feel right, I know when somebody is onto something,when to let ideas breathe and when to call time.
Its my producer "Spidey" sense.
I have been obsessed with arrangement,timbre and emotional tone since my earliest profound musical memory.."Heroes" by David Bowie ...that or the "ghostbusters" theme.
What do you bring to a song?
I always try to find the songs center.
The reason for its being.
Its very easy to record music these days,we all have laptops with really powerful audio capabilities but it still takes skill to make things connect emotionally with the listener.
I aim to pull that out and try to find anyway I can to help make a statement or make it unique.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I am lucky to split my time between writing and producing for other artists.I also get
asked to do a lot of remote/online mixing.
That is one of my favorite things to do
its so rewarding!
Analog or digital and why?
in simplest terms ....analog is like a polaroid or a cool filter on your phone camera..it bends and softens the edges of the subject in a pleasing manner...
digital is unfiltered,no photoshop,warts and all.
Sometimes you need that extreme detail but most of the time everything feels better run thru analog gear.
If i'm mixing a song for you i will often "retrack" elements with my hardware to get the songs to sit better ....This is all without mentioning what happens to analog gear when you tastefully abuse it for colors you can't really get convincingly out of plug ins yet.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
i wont quit til you are happy
What do you like most about your job?
helping people hit their potential.
hearing the song come to life.
making something new.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Q will you change our sound too much?
A i will try to be invisible and serve your song as much as i can.If i feel the song could benefit from fresh ideas i will lay that on the table and allow the band to come up with the solution.
Q ok. i'm stuck on my song can you write a part for me
A yes, but i can throw plenty of ideas your way before we need to go there.
Q i don't think your style of production will suit our song,do you think you can do a different style?
A why did you call me?
I honestly believe that a good engineer should be able to do any style or genre as arrangements and songwriting is a lot more important than the textures used to make the different genres...so my answer would be yes,i can.
but seriously,go with your gut on choosing a producer.if you need to call 10 producers,do it.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
that its all done by a computer...that producers have an agenda....that a producer "wont get it,man"
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Acoustic Guitar,record player,sm57,drum kit,laptop
What's your typical work process?
it depends on the artist,the song,the expectations...
always book more time than you need.
I would say the minimum for a modern "radio ready" production including mixing is 3 days.
but it really depends...
Jack white is gonna be out of the studio in a day and Muse are gonna be in there for a month!
Tell us about your studio setup.
i run a hybrid system.
Lots of analog going into Pro tools.
i have a great front end to get the tracks sounding "like a record" from the start.From there we can either mix in an analog fashion thru summing mixers or we can tweak everything with plug ins and stay in the computer.
it usually ends up being a bit of both
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
David Bowie,Black Flag,El-p,Portishead,A place to bury strangers,Autolux,Rick Rubin,David Fridmann,Eric Valentine,Sohn,Sonic Youth.