Want the real thing on your drum tracks? Are you a group or songwriter who can't find a drummer in time to meet your project deadline? You're in the right place. My tracks can be built quickly using a huge library of real drum samples at a wide variety of tempos or done live using Roland V-Kit or acoustic kits. Built and arranged to fit the song.
Full service studio built for remote collaboration (video conferencing/audio conferencing) Can provide multi track drums or 2 track stereo mix. I also provide full band mixes and mastering services using tools by Neve, SSL, Universal Audio, Summit Audio, Tube Tech as well as digital versions of the equipment used at Abbey Road and Ocean Way Studios.
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Interview with Kim Haynie
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Standard home studio. Core of the system is Pro Tools with Universal Audio Apollo as the DAW. I use Mackie 828 reference monitors along wit Aurotones for mid range reference. Drum parts can go a few ways. For clients under deadline I utilize a huge library of sample and loops, acoustic mostly. If clients want a live performance I utilize a Roland TD50KV electronic kit as well as a Pearl acoustic Masters Reference maple shell kit. If a client wants to swap out guitar pasts, I offer a dozen electric guitars and tons of effects with re-amping to really sculpt tones based on client preference. Mixing projects are done in the box and utilize a huge library of plug-ins from UA, Plug-in Alliance, Soft Toys and others. Mastering is done in Wavelab and completed projects can be directly shipped directly to manufacturer from my studio if required. If clients are looking for someone else to mix and/or master, I have partners who can easily accommodate.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A solo jazz guitar album. It is being done low-fi with mono tracks and classic Putnam-era plug-ins to create that 60's Wes Montgomery sound.I have another client that is interested in doing an electric blues thing that could also be very fun. I also have an independent artist who likes the indie thing, sort of like Wilco, Guided by Voices and Sparklehorse. I like a variety of projects to keep things fresh. I am talking to Jimmy Catlett about doing a new album as well.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I think the most recent release, Victrola Mouth by Kevin Pittman. It was a two year effort and done remotely due to covid, the engineering credit was almost as important as the credit for playing drums. It was very satisfying since Kevin and I grew up together, still working on music as we have for many years. I am hoping he decides to do a follow up. Along with that, the first two Jimmy Catlett albums were my first in the role of producer/co-producer. I think we got a great translation of the artist on the final product, great songs are always helpful.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: My first preference is to work with analog source and do the editing and final stages in digital. There are conveniences in digital (automation) that you not get on an analog desk (unless you are working in a very high end studio). That said, if you have access to an analog desk, the ability to route through analog channel strips/outboard gear offers a more pleasing sonic experience. However, the digital plug-ins being made now are pretty faithful to the original in most cases....
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What kinds of drums are you going to use? Will you play them or program them? (Up to the client, each is priced differently) Will I get to hear a draft somewhere in the middle to make sure it's on track? (Absolutely, as soon as there is enough of an idea to share I will send a draft for review and feedback. Adjustments made and go from there) Two track mix or multi-track? ( I can do either)How will I get the final product and in what format? (In .WAV format and resolution from 44.1 to 96 and delivered via Dropbox or We Transfer)
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: For drum tracks, you can come up with something as soon as you hear the guiding tracks. Sometimes it takes a few cycles to come up with something that is memorable for the client. For mixing and mastering, stacking plug-ins to get the perfect sound. You can't turn everything up. sometimes you make reductions in levels and use subtractive EQ to get the desired balance. Normally effects should be used sparingly and the signal chain kept simple. Let the music do the talking'.....
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How did you come up with the idea? What is the song about? What audience are you trying to reach? What is the overall song structure? What is your vision for the drums (subtle, meaty, indie, aggressive?) Do you have any references on songs or tracks that you want me to listen to to help with recording or track composition? Most importantly, when do you want final product (no one forgets to ask this one!)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Have a good demo that lays out the idea. Settle on a tempo for the song. A scratch vocal really helps. Comparisons to other songs can be helpful, sometimes the artist will want to see what I produce without a lot of guidance (this is fun too, if you have the time for a few iterations). For a mixing or mastering project, best to have made consolidated stems with track edits already in place. Ensure levels are within range that allow for mix and mastering headroom
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Going to cheat a little and assume a Computer with DAW capability doesn't count! In addition, UA 1176, Neve Pre-Amp, SSL 4000 Channel Strip, Vocal mic (Neumann U87), Coles Ribbon mic (pair)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing music since I was 16 years old. I was raised in a small town in Virginia where there wasn't resources for lessons ( pre YouTube here) and not a lot of bands or clubs to play in. You had to make your own thing happen. So we did. Learned to play drums by ear and kept playing in bands. Moved with a band out to Los Angeles to compete for a contract. Was fortunate enough to work with talented people in good studios (A&M, Conway) to help understand the fundamentals of recording. After moving back to Virginia, produced 3 albums for independent artists and just released the 4th, 'Victrola Mouth from Kevin Pittman.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Mostly straight down the middle rock but injecting some interesting turnarounds and fills that work within the framework of the song. Sonically I like drums that are tight and dry but no overpowering. I like things kind of dry in the construction phase, ambience can be created later. Each project is different.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Mike Campbell; he has an ability to come up with memorable parts that work with the overall song. Dream gig would be to sit down and play drums on a Neil Finn tune, very underrated songwriter.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: As it relates to drums, understanding what the song is calling for and developing parts that are built to focus on the song, not the drums. You are looking for that heartbeat but it doesn't require overly elaborate parts. I tend to focus more on what Charlie Watts and Stand Lynch would do instead of maybe what Neil Peart would do (love Neil Peart as well). The point is: the song is the boss and the drums should compliment and drive it.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: This is always a tough one to list because I draw on so many influences. Music production influences come from Flood, Jimmy Iovine, Matt Wallace, Daniel Lanois and many others. For musicians I tend to gravitate towards bands rather than solo artists. Tom Petty, the Stones, Black Keys and Death Cab for Cutie. For newer artists, I really like The War on Drugs. Anyone that still gets people around microphones and captures the live energy of music
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You will get my best. I don't accept new work if I am currently working on three projects at once. Not fair to anyone. I like to work quick but in some cases, the artist needs options before making final decisions so I am patient as well. If the request isn't something I can do well, I will tell the client that they may be better off with a different producer/engineer.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Hearing the client vision for what they are trying to do and understanding that so I can do the work and then ultimately see the positive vibe when the product has been delivered. Feeling that I did all I could and the client got good value for the fees charged.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not at the moment
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: The fact that I am a drummer means I will develop parts in mind that a drummer can play live. If you can't play it live, probably shouldn't deliver it that way; the client may want to showcase the songs live without having to hire a virtuoso to pull it off.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Mostly rock and alternative. I do not do a lot in the urban hip space currently but have recently done a few projects using loops and other electronica under the primary drums for texture. If you are looking for help using acoustic drums and it's Americana, Rock, R&B, Soul, then I can probably help you
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Focus on a few things to guide the final product rather than 20 things. Keep the arrangement simple and focus on clarity for each instrument. I know that sounds cliche but if you don't get those things right during the tracking phase, they are are tough to rescue in the mix stage.....
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I'll receive an idea from a client, maybe there is a piano or guitar part and then a scratch vocal to go with it to get the basic song idea. Some clients want drum parts from that and from there it's an email or phone call, maybe a zoom video conference to gain clarity on what the end product looks like. Once agreed on scope, I'll start working and manage to the agreed schedule. For larger recording projects, a project plan is generated and signed off before starting. Single tracks take anywhere from 3-5 days, albums vary based on what I'm asked to do.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of my work is split between recording band efforts and creating or restoring drum tracks for songwriters or bands currently without a drummer