Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I really like the work I did on the very first Deptronic album. Everything was very creative and good sounding. The productions were world-class. I produced and mixed the album. It was mastered by my friend Matt McCabe over in Loomis, CA, he also does really great work.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a solo album, but that's a secret ;)
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Luca Pretolesi for Mixing/Mastering, he is a great engineer, contingent on your budget of course.
Analog or digital and why?
Analog, see above.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Quality control, from start to finish. I will make sure you don't have a misstep in your recording process.
What do you like most about your job?
The freedom. I love to create. I love to make thing exist and I realize that they only exist because I do. I am endowed very spiritual worldview because of that realization.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
See above :)
In all seriousness, I am mostly asked the difference between digital and analog masters.
In the digital realm, we work with ones and zeros and rely on the D/A converters to hear what is going on. In the analog realm, we are working with actual energy in the form of electric currents and really driving music to its voltage limit. An analog master will most often always sound more transparent than a digital master, if done right. The transients and stereo image will dance and become much more musical and less flat.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Mastering. Can you make it louder? Louder? Even louder?
Yes I can, but your mix has to be louder, louder, and louder.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What are your goals for this track?
Are you backed by a record label?
What are your distribution goals?
What are your prospective expectations for this record?
What is your demographic?
What, in your career, are we trying to accomplish?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Honestly, look around. Look for production similar to mine and price it out. I think our society has a lack of transparency these days, consumers are uninformed. Go inform yourself, maybe I'm not the best producer for you. Please research and find the best producer for yourself.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Laptop, UAD Apollo, Korg M3, DT880s, and a power supply (how would you plug in?).
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Sixteen years. I produced in FL Studio when it was just called Fruity Loops. Since then, I have taken many music theory courses, electronic music courses, and studied piano with my grandfather (a former professor at Stanford University).
I have experience in FL Studio, Reason, ProTools, Cubase, and Ableton, but these days, I strictly use Ableton, due to my ability to harness its incredible workflow power.
How would you describe your style?
My style is very diverse, but the common thread in my productions are my melodies. I am really inspired by the melodies of the late 80s and early 90s, and think that their catchy attitudes deserve a place in modern dance music.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I would really like to work with Skrillex. There are a ton of great producers out there, but no one that really intimidates me than him. I was told, that in order to become better, I must surround myself with people that are better than I, and Skrillex is one of those artists that just creates and does it without boundaries.
Can you share one music production tip?
Yes, read Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior--I wish I had read it earlier in my career, I would be much further along.
What type of music do you usually work on?
EDM, Rap, and Hip Hop, but I have a love and respect for all genres of music. Our culture is essentially the sum of everything ever released.
What's your strongest skill?
Production for sure. I have been playing piano, playing drum machines, and producing for 16 years with some success. I know when a record lacks musically finesse.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring the song.
From catchy melodies to memorable themes, I am there from the beginning as the quality control expert.
What's your typical work process?
When producing (which is my focus), I typically start with a chord progression. Many people like to start with bass or drums but i don't really get into a song until I know the places it can progress--and chord progressions are a firm guide for any production. They also help to keep my work very musical. In the end, I may even take out the chords and see how all of the other instrumentation/drums/samples interact without the musical glue.
Usually after chords, I try and program drums and find a theme for the production. Sometimes I will find a sample to guide the theme. I will usually create five or six different loops utilizing the instruments I have selected and then begin arrangement.
After the arrangement process, I then add transitions, bridges, and vocals, to really guide the listener from the beginning of the record to the end.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I started very minimally. I use a powerful PC, as I have always preferred Windows to Apple. I have multiple hardware synths, Korg M3, Alesis Keyboard, Roland D-70. I use a Maschine for most of my drum samples. I use a UAD Apollo for D/A A/D with a Rupert Neve Designs Portico II Master Buss Processor. My monitoring setup consists of the legendary KRK E8Ts (with original Focal Tweeters), JBL 4326Ps, Avantone Mixcube, and Beyerdynamic DT880s. I use and Zenpro edition McOne Active to control the monitors and check mono compatibility.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I am really inspired by the work Luca Pretolesi is doing right now, although he doesn't produce anymore, the finishing touches that he has given some really major records is a breath of fresh air for a genre that started without a concern for quality control.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I produce. Usually they tell me what sound they are looking for, and together, we browse my portfolio, which usually has something for them. In the rare case that my portfolio doesn't deliver, we build a song from the ground up.