Grammy-winning drummer, focusing on creating the perfect rhythmic soundscapes for your music
My name is Matt. I have been a professional drummer in Los Angeles for over a decade and a half. In that time, I have toured the world and played on records with producers and artists such as Christopher Cross, Glen Ballard, Deana Carter, Rita Wilson, Aleks Syntek, Alphonso Johnson, Lucy Hale and Chris Shiflett from the Foo Fighters. I recently recorded drums with producer Rich Jacques for a Lisa Loeb record called "Feel What U Feel," which won a Grammy in 2018.
I have operated my own drum studio since 2006 and have tons of experience with remote tracking. I create the rhythmic base for songs whether it's multi-layered, complex soundscapes or a simple drum set part or lite percussion and everything in between.
I feel that my sounds are as good as anyone's and that combined with my experience in real world musical situations with prominent artists means that you will get the best possible drums for your music.
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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Interview with The Real Matt Starr
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love music beyond words so being involved in the creation of it in any shape or form does nothing short of feed my soul.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: The best thing to do is go with your heart when choosing musicians. Someone's sound is everything. Pay careful attention to that aspect and see past the big name resume and any hyperbole.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been playing and recording music since I rented a Tascam 4 track Portastudio and a set of mics in the summer of 1994 in my hometown of Toronto. I have been obsessed with the recording process ever since. Moving to LA in the early 2000s really took that to another level, working with the best engineers, producers and artists on the planet.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Well, that would be either Paul McCartney or Neil Young. Reason - they are my heroes.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on many different styles but my forte seems to be in the indie, alt, singer-songwriter, rock, Americana direction.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is undoubtedly my song sense.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I feel that what I bring to a song is two main things. 1. I have a huge music collection and I love many styles, eras and drumming approaches. When I begin to work on a track for someone, I have a large musical database in my mind to draw from for ideas. 2. I have many years of experience playing with and creating tracks for artists and because of that, I have a highly developed song sense.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I designed the space with the expert advice of the greatest engineer on earth, Rich Breen (Yellowjackets, Oregon). Based in a secured, quiet building in North Hollywood, the 15 x 15 studio was constructed in a baseball diamond shape, has an unfinished concrete floor (responsible for really nice room tone) and one solid brick wall. The walls and ceiling have also been tuned and treated with custom-built Augsberger panels and bass traps. The room sounds great and opens up into a giant warehouse when a large room sound is desired. The recording gear: Lots of mics including Coles, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, KEL Audio and Shure. Interface and A/D conversion by Metric Halo and pre amps by API, Daking and BAE. I'm running the latest version of Pro Tools. Various great plugins from Native Instruments, Waves, SoundToys, Slate, Metric Halo and more. Drums: A vintage 1970's Gretsch kit- 10", 12", 13", 14", 16" toms and 18", 22" and 24" bass drums. A 1970's Slingerland kit- 14", 18" toms and 26" bass drum. 1965 Ludwig Classic - 13" and 16" toms and a 22" bass drum. Finally there is my DW Santa Monica Kit (vintage Camco vibe) - 13” and 16”toms with 22” bass drum. I also have a set of Ludwig Concert Toms for when that is appropriate. I have many snare drums, including various vintage drums -several Ludwigs, a Radio King, 80s Tama, custom drums by Chris Heuer and many others. I'm a cymbal-holic and a die-hard Zildjian endorsee. I have tons of great cymbals for tracks and even a few vintages. Lots of percussion of all kinds for overdubs or layered performances. Please see the photos page on my website or visit my Instagram @therealmattstarr for pictures of the latest gear.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am inspired by so much different music but the artists / labels that stand out the most to me are still The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Neil Young, Radiohead, Stax, Motown, producers like Tchad Blake, Eric Valentine, J Dilla and so many more.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common thing I do is create a rhythmic bed for singer songwriters and artists looking for first class drums, percussion and programming for their songs.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I played on a Lisa Loeb project in 2018 (produced by the great Rich Jacques) that won a Grammy and I am immensely proud to have been involved in that.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: At the moment, I am working with my wife who is a singer songwriter and several Los Angeles indie artists who are making records.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Most of my Los Angeles and Nashville based musician friends are on here, so there are too many to mention but if needed, I can absolutely help cast other musicians for a project.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I am a huge vinyl audiophile so I love analog but in the modern day, digital sound has gotten so good that they are really just two different flavors at this point. So, both!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is to do everything I can to elevate, add to and support your music and vision.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Most of the questions I get concern whether or not I can match the sound or vibe artists have in their head. My answer is always, I'm not perfect at anything but I'm really good at that.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I have what people refer to as a "baby face" so I think sometimes people expect me not to be as experienced or mature as I am as a drummer. The reality is, I've been at it a long time so, I better be good at it by now!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How can I be of service to you and your music?
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Gretsch Jasper Shell Kit, Radio King Snare, Coles 4038s, AKG D12 and my 4TB drive full of lossless music (can't be without inspiration!)
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Dynamic, sensitive and sonically varied. My primary objective is to make everything groove and feel great.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If it sounds good, it is good!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My typical work process is to first get the necessary audio from clients. Then I like to discuss the song with the artist and producer to find out the approach that is desired. From there, I like to take as long as is necessary to make the vibe match the client's vision for their music.