Monster Island is in its 20th year and in a new, larger downtown location. Known as "the best Mike for recording drums" Mike Caffrey is a first call engineer for Dr Luke and other top producers, multiple platinum and #1 credits. He produces, mixes and masters.

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Interview with Mike Caffrey

What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Understand the difference between rate and cost. Frequently people pay less per hour, but end up spending more money in total than if they'd paid a higher rate. The most expensive recording you can make is one that doesn't achieve your goal, because it's a 100% waste and you have to start over or give up.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Barefoot MM27s, a pair of RCA 44s, a pair of 1073s, a pair of 2254s or LTD 2s, and a trackball.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I went to Berklee as a guitar player and evolved into a producer/engineer. 20 years.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I don't really care. I've work with some of the best know artist and some of the least known. If there's nothing for me to contribute, then it's boring. So, anyone I can contribute to.
Can you share one music production tip?
Don't listen to the music. Listen to your body's response to it. If the music is provoking a good physical feeling, don't change it. If it's not or not producing any feeling, change it until it's right.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Everything, though not much classical.
What's your strongest skill?
Interacting intuitively with the music to understand it in terms of music, rather than words.
What do you bring to a song?
An understanding of why human beings make music, and how to listen to a song.
What's your typical work process?
Listen to the client's goal and the suggest the most effective way to do it.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have two rooms to work out of. One is a mixing/production room with great monitoring, and Neve/Chandler pres/EQs. The other is a large tracking room with drums, grand piano, B3, multiple isolation rooms an SSL and tie lines to the Neve/Chandler gear in the mix room.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
This is corny, but my clients. I try to understand what they're trying to accomplish, then share their vision and let that inspire me.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Lots of drum tracking. Lots of song/mix finishing where people send me a track they've made as good as they can, then I take it the rest of the way with editing, additional production and mastering.