20 years experience as a touring artist. Former singer/guitarist/songwriter for Kerrang! Award winners Slaves To Gravity. Current session guitarist with platinum-selling UK Rock band Feeder and Producer / Songwriter / Mixer at Brickwall Studios in Lichfield, Staffordshire.
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Interview with Tommy Gleeson
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I will always be incredibly proud of the second album we made with Slaves To Gravity in which I was the singer and guitar player. It never got the platform we all felt it deserved, but I think we wrote some really special music and I learnt a tremendous amount in making it.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Mixing an EP for Scottish band Battallion of Flies and recording my 'lockdown' solo album.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Chris Sheldon. Mixer of Foo Fighters 'The Colour and the Shape' among many, many wonderful records. Chris has been a friend and something of a mentor to me for a number of years now. I have untold respect for his work, and he also just happens to be an incredibly lovely and excellent person.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analogue input sources into a digital recording medium. Best of both worlds.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Full, unrestricted access to every last resource i have at my disposal in order to get the job done.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Finding ways of communicating things that can't be communicated any other way.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: - "Can we just try X." - ''Absolutely'.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it isn't a real job.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Is the project time-specific? What's your budget? Do you have examples of the kind of thing you're shooting for? I always aim for fast turnarounds and l always do what I can to tailor my services to what the client can afford .
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Hire great people that you feel a connection with and let them be great. Trust them. Don't micromanage.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Gretsch White Falcon, a Roland RE-150, a Tascam 244, an SM58 and some kind of drum machine... maybe an old 808 or something. I'm going to assume all the necessary cables are included.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing guitar at 9 and signed my first record deal at 16. I've been working as a professional artist for 20+ years and in production / mixing for roughly the last 5.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I basically like dark pop songs with really loud guitars, loads of hooks and a healthy amount of 'vinegar' notes to always keep the ear guessing. I like songs that aren't afraid to be a little flamboyant at times and always wear their hearts on their sleeves. Love a guitar solo and a fade out. And I always mix the vocal too quiet.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to sit and pick Kevin Parkers brain. I think he's the Brian Wilson of our generation. Without all the weird insanity though.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: The Song Is King.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, in all its forms.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm a good listener.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A strong sense of melody, harmony, groove, hooks and great tones. An understanding of how to control and shape the energy of a track so that it's always flowing in the right direction.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Entirely dependant on the job at hand, but in terms of studio stuff I work 9-5 Monday thru Friday and during those hours you have me 110%.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: For the most part my set-up is pretty humble but I know how to get the best out of what I have. I've worked exclusively in Pro Tools since PT6, currently running 2020 point whatever Native on Mac. Plugins out the yin yang like we all do, but invariably I just end up using Soundtoys on everything. Monitoring via Adam A7x which I've used for years and feel I really know how to judge things accurately on. Guitars are recorded via a huge array of pedals and amps from Suhr, Marshall, Vox, Bogner etc. Big selection of guitars - something for every occasion - including all the usual suspects from Fender and Gibson etc. Microphones from SE, Audio Technica and Shure. I work in a nicely treated room with a good leather sofa in the back and a Nespresso machine in the corner that truthfully has seen better days.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I grew up in the grunge-era of the 90's and the majority of my principle influences stem from the artists and producers prevalent at the time, including but not limited to: Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Brendan O' Brien, Michael Beinhorn, Butch Vig, Chris Sheldon, Eric Valentine and Butch Walker. I'm also a huge Bowie fan, a huge Miles Davis fan and a closet Steely Dan lover.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Remote session guitar / vocal work. Remote Mixing. Full-scale, end-to-end production. Songwriting to brief for Library or for individual artists / bands. Touring session guitar player.