Producer, Musician, Sound Design, Mixing Engineer, Mastering
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Interview with Kyle Panek
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently working with a local artist on their debut album. Always in the process of working on newer music with my own band.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Esjay Jones and Trey Vittetoe! Both awesome people to work with. Check them out!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Analog adds character, warmth, and energy to any given situation. Always fun to work with. I always try to keep the incoming signals analog before anything hits the computer. Digital is significantly easier to worth with, bypassing the need to use outboard gear. Especially in situations where you need to adjust or recall a client's past work. Have you ever had to recall the console settings on an SSL from an older project? oof
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: The song will always be something you are happy with, as long as there is great communication and synergy between producer and client.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Every day I encounter something new. Whether it's a new technique, running into a new problem to solve, or being introduced to someone. It's always a new opportunity to learn something and grow.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Most common is: "How much for ____" The answer always depends on the artist, not everyone has the same budge set aside, or the same needs. Just shoot me a message and we'll go from there :)
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think the biggest misconception about producers is that they will guarantee you a hit or quick rise to success. Not even the best of us can guarantee that. What a good producer does, in the grand scheme of things, is help give you the push in the right direction, and offer advice. At the end of the day, the goal is to always produce the best song possible. However the rest is in the hands of the musician, with networking, promotion, and luck. Luck is just where talent, preparation, and opportunity meet.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: - Tell me what your budget is for this song - Provide a link to a listenable demo, - Describe your song in detail - Tell me the key and BPM. - Describe what you want it to develop into - List some of your influences
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask yourself what your song actually 'needs' help with, and separate that from what you personally 'want' out of it. Sometimes those are two very different things. Approach your collaborator with that mindset, and you'll always choose whats in your best interest.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Assuming I have all the living essentials and electricity. Let's keep it simple and just say: - Acoustic guitar - Laptop - SM57 - XLR's - Audio Interface Why complicate your vacation? ;)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been an active musician for over 15 years, and working as a Producer and Audio Engineer for decade. My background is in film and television production, and I tend to approach things with a cinematic approach, considering what applications your song might be used in.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: All the above mentioned. Honestly, anyone who pushes musical boundaries.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Add a decent compressor to the master fader, it will help give you a better idea of where you're at in a mix, and help glue everything together. Helps make your composition sound like a 'song' instead of a bunch of stems. Don't ever underestimate what a SM57 and 58 can do.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Metal, Goth Rock, Synthwave, Alternative, and Shoegaze.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Patience, Listening, and overall communication. I have no problem going back on an idea if the artist isn't vibing with the direction, or if they have a last second idea to add to a composition. Sometimes those last second ideas are the best!
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I always try to dig below the surface elements of the song. Look for what makes both the artist and song unique, and try to make it stand out from it's contemporaries. There are thousands of producers who will try and make it sound like something in the top 40s. By all means, if that's your goal, go for it. In my opinion, art should always have some 'question marks' in its composition, to leave the listener and artist wanting to hear and know more.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It always starts with the artist and myself discussing what you're looking to get out of the song. Next the artist sends over the raw and labeled stems. I build the session from my computer, and try out some different approaches. From here we collaborate until we find a solid direction that we're both happy with. Communication is always key.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Hybrid setup: When I record, everything runs through different hardware chains (pres, converter, compressor, EQ etc.). Mixing is both in the box as well as using outboard gear, depending on what I'm going for. Nothing is ever off the table gear wise, sometimes a vintage guitar pedal sounds better on vocals than your most expensive rack. Most important aspect is that it's recorded properly before you start mixing. DAWs: Presonus Studio One Producer, (this DAW doesn't get enough love!) Proficient at Pro Tools, Logic, Mainstage, Ableton, and Reaper. Hardware: Too many to list, however my favorites include: - Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor - Motu Audio Interface - Warm Audio Tone Beast x2 - Warm Audio WA76 Limiting Amplifyer - Warm Audio Optical Compressor - Arsenal of vintage guitar pedals A/B Monitors: Presonus Eris, KRK's, Mackie, Presonus Sub
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Producers: Brian Eno, Esjay Jones, Trent Reznor, Zoog Von Rock, Jay Ruston, Hans Zimmer, George Martin, Brian Wilson, and Steve Albini. Each of them bring their own style, innovation, production tools, and a unique approach to the music they've worked on. They never overshadow their works, and let their artistry speak for themselves.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Producing, Mixing, Mastering, and Vocal comping.