Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
The track I have on my profile was our gift to a young lady who was turning 18 a few days later, my friend and collaborator's sister. We all came together last minute and arranged, recorded and produced a track the same day so she would have something really special for her birthday. I played guitar, mixed and produced the track, so I'm proud that something that was done so last minute and in such an improvised way could make someone so happy!
What are you working on at the moment?
A live mix for a 12 piece Funk band and a studio mix for an Indie Rock band, really different!
Analog or digital and why?
Both! Analog sounds fantastic, but the ability of creating sounds on the go with just a laptop has introduced music production to a whole new generation of people who wouldn't have access to it regardless. The right tool for the right job, they're both really fun to use in their own way.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
That I will keep trying until I get it right and they're happy, no matter how long it takes!
What do you like most about your job?
That hours, days or months will be spent in something only lasting only a few minutes, but that, sometimes, that audiowave will be so powerful that it will move people. Into dancing, into shouting and jumping or into crying.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Does the track need anything else? And the answer will of course vary, but a simple, strong arrangement is more often than not more powerful than over complicating a track.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That all we do is play! Most of our time is spent preparing, travelling, thinking or doing admin that will allow us to perform the job we love to do.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What do they hope to achieve. What music do they love. Do they have any reference of what they believe the track needs. What mood, what message is the song carrying and how do they think I could re-enforce that?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
The more you know what you want, the more I will be able to help you achieve it! There's a difference between granting creative freedom and indecisiveness. If you have a vision, I will do my best to get close to it!
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My MacBook Pro, because you can create endless music with software nowadays. My Genelec Monitors, because music deserves to be listened to properly. My Strat, my Marshall and an Sm57!
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been a guitar player for 10 years now, after watching Hendrix play at Woodstock in a youtube video. I moved from my native Spain to study music, having decided there was nothing else I wanted to do more. Whilst studying my degree I also started assisting in studios as a tea boy, where I learned many valuable lessons in production and etiquette. I've worked in pretty much every area of the industry, putting shows as a promoter, helping bands rise as an unofficial manager, selling records, doing lights or stage management for a show, and of course recording, mixing and performing with many bands, in many different styles.
How would you describe your style?
Energetic, loud and hopefully rhythmic!
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
George Clinton, for his relentless search of individuality in his musicians, which he then cooked together in one brilliant, colourful melting pot.
Can you share one music production tip?
Silence can be your most powerful friend!
What type of music do you usually work on?
I have a deep love for Funk, Disco and Rock music, but I currently play in Punk, Indie and experimental bands as well!
What's your strongest skill?
Possibly the energy in my playing!
What do you bring to a song?
Hopefully I bring a different approach. I try to think of the most obvious way of complimenting a track with my guitar, and then twist it so that the part is both memorable and blends with the track.
What's your typical work process?
It depends. When approaching a guitar part, I try to be as musical as possible and serve the song. It's no good if you come up with a brilliant riff that completely overshadows the vocal melody! So I will try to find something that compliments the vocal, locks in with the bass and drums and grooves. After that I might think of a few ways of adding details that bring the part to life, little licks and embellishments, and then consider which voicing or frequency range is the most appropriate so that the overall sound doesn't get muddy. When soloing, I try to be as passionate and musical as possible. If the song requires a hectic, noisy solo I won't hesitate on throwing as much energy as required,but if I need a Pop approach I will quote the melody and look for the most harmonically balanced and simple phrases I can.
When mixing a track, I tend to play the recording a few times, and discuss with the client what sound they're trying to achieve. I believe there's no universal approach to mixing, and many times no right and wrong, it depends on feel and taste, so I will send some ideas back and forth and then start trying to get a great relationship between the bass and drum track. Then I will try and fit in the other elements around them, and finally I will work to get a great vocal, sculpting the other instruments once again to make space for it. Finally I will approach the little details that bring a mix to life, like reverbs, echos, and auxiliary effect tracks, trying to be inventive with my panning and automation so that the ear doesn't get too used to what's going on in the track.
The last step is to bring everything to the forefront, checking that the drums are crisp, the bass is felt as much as it's heard and the vocal is detailed.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work in three different environments, depending on the requirements on the job. I have my home studio set up, with Genelec 8020 monitors, a MacBook Pro equipped with Logic Pro X Software and a range of Plug Ins by Waves, Soundtoys or Kontact, plus my trustworthy, hand-wired Marshall 1974x and 1976 Fender Strat as my main guitar sound, plus a big range of standard and boutique pedals and an Avid Eleven Rack for direct emulation recording and a humble selection of mics for my guitar recording and some Midi Controllers.
If the job requires a full live room or a bigger selection of Microphones I dry hire the studio at Old Paradise Audio in Waterloo, with lovely pre-amps by Cartec or Warm Audio,s Distressors and amazing AKG and Aston Condenser Microphones. I can also record at ICMP's own studio, which has Neve designed pre-amps and S.E. and Sontronics Ribbon, Condenser and Valve Microphones. In this set up I can record anything from an acoustic guitar to a full band with a horn section!
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
So Many! From the classic examples of Jimi Hendrix or David Gilmour on guitar duties to production legends like George Clinton, Tony Visconti, Mark Ronson or Massive Attack.Currently in love with anything Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat produce, and really inspired by the work of smaller bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Swedish Death Candy or Retrospective for Love.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I frequently record full bands in the London area, really often mixing and mastering those tracks so the client gets the final result from someone who understands their aims and vision from the first moment.
Likewise, I'm often hired as a guitar player for the range of sounds I can produce and my energetic and enthusiastic approach.