Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Earning a Grammy nomination with Sofi Tukker for their song called "Drinkee" at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. I was mixer on this track and I couldn't ask for a better artist to work with. Their stuff makes me dance when I am by myself in the studio! So it was a really great surprise and way to start off the year in 2017.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have been involved engineering on the debut albums for Arrow Benjamin and Stormzy. Plus producing and mixing the upcoming Sofi Tukker album and a number of unsigned upcoming acts such as Sam Ryder, and Samuel Ford.
Analog or digital and why?
I am a hybrid worker. I believe in the tactile approach that comes working int he analog domain. It makes my side of it much more enjoyable than just clicking a mouse and staring at a screen. There is also no question as to the tonal benefits of running your audio through great gear, however, a digital approach has given so much to the audio world in terms of ease, time saving, and general efficiency. So where I can, I use a hybrid approach combining the best of both worlds.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Promise would be 100% satisfaction in a very diplomatic, pleasant, and non pushy experience! Bringing my knowledge and years of experience across all genres and all manner of clientele gives me the ability to help guide a project to the best end result it could possibly be.
What do you like most about your job?
Having the freedom to be creative and help to paint a sonic picture for your ears! Whether it is mixing or production, I always aim to release flavours from all genres that suit the song in question. Having endless musical tastes helps my style and what I can bring to a track.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Being a DJ! haha. That is the usual misconception for non musicians/producers/engineers, however for those who are newer to the typical mixing/production process, it would be that things can take time when deep into the creative side of it. Basically being realistic with changing anything is a must but of course can be changed in a hundred different ways!
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
This will be project dependant but a few overall questions are as follows.....
- Are you open to tempo changes, structure adjustments, length adjustments and other potential major changes that may help make the final result better?
- Are you open to additional parts being added that could substantially change the feel of a song?
- Do you have any relevant styles or tracks you think I should hear for reference material?
- Do you require stems?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Be precise in your expectations and requirements. You must never assume anything. That is my view and I believe it should be the same the other way around. I am never precious or pushy with ideas and am all about exploring the best outcome for the song, so anything is open for discussion, and I expect the same in return.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I had a typical upbringing in the studio world I would say. I began as an runner, followed by assistant where I was able to gain a wealth of experience from top producers such as Ben Hillier and Paul Epworth early on. I then spent a few years as right hand man to Grammy award winning mixer Craig Silvey in London, UK. After I was no longer an assistant, I then worked my way up the ranks as engineer, producer and mixer. That is the short of it, but of course there are many layers to each step.
How would you describe your style?
Licking the listeners ears then flying into space! (where appropriate of course).
Can you share one music production tip?
Don't throw a million things into a song. Take out instead and find sounds that serve the purpose with less clutter! Its unnecessary and results in a greater amount of time figuring out why it isn't working in the end!
What type of music do you usually work on?
Pop, Dance, Hip Hop, Folk/rock, Urban
What's your strongest skill?
Deep communication skills. Technical ability is not even a question. To me, the most important skill is being able to speak to people as people! and convey the message musically in a friendly and professional manner. And of course being mindful of the style of production I add, and/or effects/processing whilst mixing a song.
What do you bring to a song?
I use a process I like to call "Nuggets" when approaching a song. By this I mean that this skill is the ability to be able to listen to a song in its bare form, and be able to extract all of the nuggets out of it. I am able to pick out either the catchiest moments, melodies, and/or parts and use them in an effective way to suit the song itself. This also applies to production front.
What's your typical work process?
Mixing - I generally require the stems separated out (only with effects where essential to the sound). That means kick snare, high hat etc all separated and not grouped. Same applies for all sets of instruments including all vocals. Also a general monitor mix of what you are happy with up to that point to give me an idea of your take on the song. I then tend to mix the song up to a point where if we are not in the room together, you then get an initial test mix to make sure we are all not he same page! It is of course your music and not mine so it makes sense to have some time to go back and forth to make sure the client is as happy as possible. After the test mix stage, I then work with the client toward the final mix if any changes are needed. I then do various versions of the mix which would cover every possible requirement from thereon. That would include an Instrumental, A Capella, TV Mix, Vocal Up/Down, and the main mix. Stems can be done but can require extra time if needed so please specifiy if needed for remixing etc. The stems tend to be for me to recall and are done in the format I mixed the song in. So that way, if changes are needed, we can do this easily. Don't expect everything separate as it was sent because that can take a very long time and I would probably have to charge extra.
Production - We would discuss what the requirements are in terms of added parts, arrangement, writing etc... and then I would give an initial take on what I feel best suits the song to make sure it is in line with your view on the song. Then I would hone in based on feedback and our mutual thoughts to work toward getting a final monitor mix version ready to be sent off for mixing.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I typically bounce between different full format recording/writing/mixing studios, however my simple setup is monitors, computer, Pro Tools, secret weapon plugins, Roland electronic kit, midi keyboard, bank of controller faders, and percussion (shakers, tambourines, cabasa etc.). All that I need to work in the way I can produce great results.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Latin/African percussion is a huge influence on the way I approach my work. Rhythm plays such a huge part whether I am adding percussion or drums to a track, or choosing effect rhythms in delays, reverbs while mixing. I pay huge attention to detail to groove and the bare bones of a song until that is solid. Another major influencer would be Manny Marroquin. The way he is able to dip in and out of different genres and artists is inspiring, and to be able to consistently output quality work makes him that much more admirable.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Mixing, producing, and engineering artists in a studio setting.