Effective and musically minded audio engineer with decades of experience in studios as well as on-location and at events.
I am competent and experienced in all stages of audio production—recording, editing, mixing and mastering. Be it a rock band or a voice talent, my capacity to tune in emotionally with the artist allows them to perform at their best.
Have recorded mixed and produced over 40 albums ranging from jazz to folk, from world music to hard rock, using my technical skills and musical sensibility to help emerging artists to find their ‘voice’ and sound.
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Interview with Davide Piai
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Collaboration, creation, accomplishment!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: It will be better than you expect.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Music production, including re-arranging. Recording voices as well as most acoustic and electric instruments. Editing, Mixing & Mastering.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Trevor Horn, Bob Clearmountain, David Hentschel, Brendan O'Brien.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I mostly work in existing studios, do some editing work on my MacBook Pro (logic).
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First I tune in to the artist and try to find out what they want to express and what makes them unique and beautiful. Then it is all about supporting them in the process of creation and using my experience to choose the right technology to use and the right process: sometimes is better to record live on a 2 inch machine and sometimes is better to layer the recordings on Pro Tools from the get go.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I am a musician and I listen to what the song feels and if there is anything in the way of what it tries to be I share that with the artist. It can be structure, arrangement, instrumentation. On any of these I can offer a lot. Then It is all about recording it well finding a way to enhance the personality of what is being played.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: As an effective and musically minded audio engineer with decades of experience in studios as well as on-location and at events, I am competent and experienced in all stages of audio production—recording, editing, mixing and mastering. Be it a rock band or a voice talent, my capacity to tune in emotionally with the artist allows them to perform at their best.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Pop, folk, anything 'hand made' really.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Keep it essential while being aware of the weaknesses as well as the strengths of the artist and enhance the latter. Not everyone sounds better if recorded 'live'...
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Peter Gabriel! He is the most amazing creator of songs, sounds and feelings!
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Full & warm.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Since 1994 I have recorded mixed and produced over 40 albums ranging from jazz to folk, from world music to hard rock, using my technical skills and musical sensibility to help emerging artists to find their ‘voice’ and sound.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Well... is there electricity there and is there anyone to record?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Are you ready to record? Do you need some more time to figure out your style and voice?
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: If I am producing: Who is paying? and how much money/time do we have?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it is easy and simple to make things sound 'natural'. Once you record something there is nothing natural about anything anymore, is about how you want it to 'sound like' not how you recorded or processed it.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can we stay a bit longer in studio? Often after 12 hours of continuous work!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: The main question is: how do you want it to sound like? There is plenty of records produced on Pro Tools that sound 'analog'. That is because microphones, preamps, outboards and plug-ins have a much heavier influence on the sound than the recording medium IMHO.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not Yet
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Just moved to Amsterdam so I am getting the word out!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I produced, recorded and mixed Mountain to Mohammed by the moroccan artist Kili el Houssaine. www.houssainekili.com It was a wonderful mix of traditional berber/gnawa/arabic music and funk. Was recorded in several studios which is something I really like since the final result is much richer this way. The musicians involved were stellar, especially Kili himself and his percussionist. Mostly first takes with a killer groove! Only sometimes I had to ask 'where is th 1' as the rhythms were unusual for me...