Neil Diamond, The Alan Cumming Band, Rent Live on FOX, Wicked the Musical LA, Disney's Frozen Nat. Tour..... Vibey song drummer from Liverpool now living in Los Angeles.
Born and raised in Liverpool and now living and working in Los Angeles, California since 2002 via London, New York City, Las Vegas and Toxteth. I have owned a drum tracking facility (Shabby Road Studios) for the last 12 years and just recently finished constructing an all new purpose built recording studio from the ground up with the sole focus of making drum recordings sound great.
I’ve been Drumming for close to 35 years and I’ve played in empty bars to sold out arenas…….. in the same week believe it or not.
Here’s some of my tour experiences… The Neil Diamond 50th Anniversary Tour (taking over from the legend Ron Tutt in 2017), The Alan Cumming Band, Boy George, China Crisis, Barclay James Harvest, The Calling and The Philip Sayce Band.
My theatre credits include: Disney’s Frozen US Tour 2019-Present, RENT Live on FOX 2019. Wicked LA in 2007 and continually work on the tour. Hedwig and the Angry Inch in London’s West End & the Edinburgh Festival. Taboo with Boy George on both original Broadway and London productions.
I am a "Song” drummer who would be happy playing David Bowie songs all day but I do also have an old Progressive Rock itch that I get to scratch with my band and writing partner over in New Zealand, some audio examples are on offer here of “The Bob Lazar Story”. All tracks were recorded and mixed here at Shabby Road.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Chris Jago
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: It's both to be honest, otherwise how would I do what I do! I'd love to be all analog and live in the 70's but that's not going to happen and the cost effectiveness of modern digital recording has really leveled the playing field for us none Abbey Road level engineers.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to my tracks and make sure I fit your vision and sound that you are looking for. Then give me a call, I find a quick and honest chat can be really helpful in deciding whether I am right for your project.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Kick, Snare, Hat, Guitar and Stylophone.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Lot's of pop and rock, Ballards seem to come my way, which I do enjoy a huge slow Ballard! I also do a lot of musical theatre recordings. The last 15 years I have been working on and off Broadway so a lot of my contacts come from that world. That tends to be a little busier and complicated as far as arrangements, but there's usually charts involved so it makes it go a little smoother.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I get sent stems and a chart (most of the time) so I learn the track and then before I start recording I like to chat with the client via phone or video chat to get their take on what they want. I like to throw down a take and see if I'm in the ballpark. Once we've established that I am, I then go back in and nail the track. This helps cut down on revisions but if there are small changes to make it usually isn't a big deal. Once it's down I upload the raw stems for the client to mix, usually 16 mics which is overkill but gives the client sonic options. If the client isn't confident with the their mixing ability I will send a mixed stereo file of how I feel the drums should be in their track.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: As I mentioned above the "A Killer Party" album. It was a lot of music and I got to create the parts as the client has worked with me on many occasions in the past and trusts my judgement. It also gave a lot of people work during the lockdown and to see it doing well in the world is pretty awesome.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I just did a virtual musical called "A Killer Party" that was released on the internet due to CoVid and I recorded about 16 tracks of drums and percussion. It's the only new musical to be produced this year and is doing well and making money....... How bizarre:). Also pop-rock-ballard tracks for an artist from Japan called May'n. I am writing my own music to keep creative during lockdown and happily taking the sessions when then come in.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Yes, Sean McDaniel. A great drummer I know from the Broadway world and the nicest man in showbiz!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll always do my best to make it sound like a record!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The creative side of making a track sound great and surprising a client with how much feel and energy their drumless track now has.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: It takes 15 minutes to do a track and it's super easy.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you have a vision for the end product?
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: This was it and I've been doing this since I was 17. There was no plan B:)
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Simple, old school English Rock-Pop drummer that likes to groove and play the odd quirky fill.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Bowie! He has it all and seems to love drummers who can lay it down and have a sound of their own.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Open your ears and be a nice person. No one likes a A-hole and everyone wants to be heard!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Playing the song. I'm not a flash player by nature and I also go for the less is more approach.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Energy, feel, a solid groove.......... I love nothing better than a simple groove and the odd cheeky fill thrown in to spice things up a little.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: This version of Shabby Road Studios is 2 years old. We moved to a different area of LA with the vision of building a stand alone structure for me to work, record and practice. I was heavily involved in the construction of this studio and really made the effort to have this purpose built for drums and recording. I have a live room and a control room, everything is set up and ready to go. It's no Abbey Road, hence the name but I've built up the equipment and I am really pleased with the quality of the sounds I am getting here.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mainly track live acoustic drums for clients here at the studio. I also do simple percussion tracks too, Congas, Bongos, shakers, tambourines etc....... I also help fellow LA musicians track strings, horns, guitars and vocals for their projects. I also track guitar and bass for clients that only need something simple.