I'm a Producer / Engineer / Mix Engineer based out of 3 stories of a church steeple in North London.
I’ve learnt my craft from years of obsessive tinkering and recording with great producers and engineers including Jonathan Burnside (Melvins, Faith No More, Nirvana), Dean Tuza (The Rubens) and Graeme Stewart (Radiohead, Johnny Greenwood).
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Interview with Waratah Records
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Lake Michigan - Further. It recorded in two days, all we had before the project started was songs on an acoustic guitar. A lot of it was improvised on the spot. It's not the most hifi sounding album in the world but it was an experience and process. I produced, engineered, mixed and played drums.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm mixing some songs for Muntu Valdo and repatching my studio after building some new equipment.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Brett Shaw
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I like gear to bash sounds into a shape on the way in. I like digital for it's speed and clarity, but really enjoy the thrill of patching in a chain and making a decision.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I'll work my butt off and do my best to positively effect their project
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The fact that i get to meet new people, play with sound and create a product that my client and their fans are likely to cherish to the end of their days
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you make my songs sound like "_____" record. Could probably get quite close, though it would be more interesting to sound like your record.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I'm not working when I'm not in the studio.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What have you liked / not liked about previous releases and how would you like to push the envelope on this one.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Know what you want to achieve, be well rehearsed, get your gear serviced and try to have as much fun as possible.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: U87, Neve 1073, Pultec, Distressor, 8 track.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started working in music at a really young age. I got a music scholarship at my school and started teaching guitar from about 15. I played around in bands and made a couple of records with some great producers and engineers. I'd always kind of tinkered on my computer making strange songs and sounds and then one day just started recording friends' bands. I ran a couple of venues in East London for a time and started making all their records.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Pointed, dark, dynamic, ambient and gritty.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Tom Waits. I imagine it to be unorthodox and challenging. I'd enjoy it.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Spontaneity is your friend
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Alt Folk / Alt Rock / Indie / Acoustic / World although I'd like to do more band work.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Getting people to surprise themselves with what they are capable of inspiring them through the recording process.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a canvas, a selection of paints, a fresh ear and excitement.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I try to make records as thoroughly and efficiently as I can. I like to spend a lot of time talking to the artist in preproduction remotely and working out a thread that I can help encourage them to explore. Sometimes we'll talk about the tunes as if they were scenes in film and try to get the emotion and sonic texture from that imagery. Once we've worked out the gear we want to use, the songs we want to record, the intention of the recording, what limitations we'll enforce to work against (keeps things interesting) and the budget we head into the studio. I like to try and track live if possible, with limited takes and tracks. I like to capture performance and personality, I'm not generally interested in getting robotic sounding recordings (unless that's important for the project or section) I like to capture a sound recording like a family photo, spots, moods and all. After tracking I like to take a week off to give my ears a break and then mix. I don't master my own projects, I like to work with mastering engineers, mainly so I can attend and listen to the songs on big posh speakers.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I'm a bit of an outboard fiend and have crammed as much gear as I can into three stories of a 17th century church steeple in North London. It's not overly conventional, amps tend to get hoisted up ladders by pulleys but it's got a great unique vibe and fuzzy cctv does the video monitoring. It has charm, it's definitely not one of these clinical setups. I like coloured gear, with big transformers and valves.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm hugely inspired by the likes of Tchad Blake, Butch Vig, Spike Stent and Michael Brauer.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I either tend to mix records or work on a project from beginning to end. I'm a project kinda guy.