Hi, my name is Ariel Levine. I'm a music producer, recording and mix engineer, musician and songwriter. I'm originally from New York City, where I spent 10 years honing my skills and gaining my reputation before relocating to San Diego, CA. I am available for a variety of jobs from production to remote mixing, to session and live guitar work.
I have worked professionally in the NYC music and audio industries since the age of 18. In 2012, I relocated to San Diego and have been working here ever since. I return to NY or LA for freelance work as well. I wear many hats. Here are some descriptions of my professional skills:
Producer / Recording Engineer: multi-genre, rock, pop, hard rock and metal, jazz, etc. I work with the artist to help you realize your fullest potential and get the sound that best suits your song. From hard rock to singer/songwriter to pop. From elaborate, wall-of-sound productions to simple, sweet basic guitar/vocal.
Mix engineer: Can mix at my studio, studio of your choice, or from my home. Can be sent mixes and can send back.
Instruments: Guitar, Bassist, Vocals, Hamronica, Saxophone: Available for session work and live performance, including touring. Skilled player with taste and style and a quick study.
Composer/Songwriter/Arranger: Can produce full instrumental productions for your song, can help with chord structure, lyrics, melody, arrangements. Full array of virtual instruments on hand.
Voiceover / Voice acting: Been on both sides of the glass.
Vocal production: A vocalist myself, I can help guide you through the process to get your best performance possible.
Editing, Vocal comping, VO editing: Lightning fast editing and comping skills. Flawless cuts.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
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Interview with Ariel Levine
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently focused on my debut solo album called "Let The Machine Get It". It's a great resume for me, and showcases just about all my skills, writing, producting, engineer and mix, singing, multi-intrumental, etc.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Just signed on!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Both mediums have their strengths and weaknesses. I have found that I like working in a hybrid environment, where I have access to both. I like to mix in an analog console using real outboard gear, but I'd still use plug-ins and automation in the box. Not to mention you can have some fun in there!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll give you what you want, but you have to trust me.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: When it's something I really believe in, I get obsessed, passionate, kinetic and focused. I love getting into that zone and going for it.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Can you turn my _____ up louder?" "Sure, how's this?" (Doesn't do a thing) "Great!" Jokes.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I try early on to get their budget and timeline so we can plan accordingly and so there are no unpleasant surprises later on.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Call me!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Acoustic guitar, harmonica, Tascam 424 Mk II, UA 6176, Neumann U47 Fet.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this as long as I can remember. My main focus is still on being a solo recording artist, recording my own albums, performing and touring. I got into engineering and production as a way to pay the bills, and learn to make better music. But I love it, and I'm still trying to make a strong career out of both.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Varies, depending on the needs of the music
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: St. Vincent. She's the most unique young artists we have out today, her ideas are all over the place, and I bet it'd be a weird and wonderful blast to watch her creative process.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Have courage, go big. I don't believe in safety nets. Get creative with your micing, with your preamps, front end, etc. there are no mistakes, only unique sounds.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Anything in the rock or pop departments. Rock n roll, hard rock, metal, pop, singer/songwriter, folk. I have also done jazz and classical as well as VO work
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Humor. I can't count how many times I've been in sessions with other engineers or producers who are total duds. Whoever said engineers all have to have the same personality? I like to have fun when I work and it seems to help break the ice a bit.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My main focus is to try to make the artist/writer happy with their vision, but also make sure it is a strong product that people will want to listen to. Making improvements where needed, without compromising artist's vision.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It varies, depending on the project.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I do most of my work out of a studio in San Diego called Rarefied Recording (www.rarefiedrecording.com), it's fully loaded, sounds incredible, has a great vibe and is very affordable. I also have access to other studios, depending on the clients needs and budget, or I can travel to the studio of your choice. My home setup is very sparse, but I'm fully capable of producing in-the-box tracks or mixing from home.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My technical and production influences range from people who put their trademark stamp on everything they do, to the transparent, invisible types, to technical wizards to guys who just keep it sweet and simple. Steve Lillywhite, John Siket (whom I had the pleasure of working with), Rick Rubin, Tony Visconti, Jeff Lynne, etc. As far as musicianship, guitar playing, orchestration, etc. a cross between Trent Reznor and Prince.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I wear many hats, on stage and in the studio on both sides of the glass. What I really love to do is take the musical ideas someone has in their head and turn it into a tangible product. I try to focus on what it is they are hearing and work accordingly. I don't belong to a specific genre, I just want to make the best music possible.