Solid Air Music is owned and operated by Pete Mason who spent 17 years working in the UK for both major and independent record labels. Pete worked as Executive Producer on Paul Weller's live solo acoustic album "Days Of Speed." The album reached no.3 in the UK album charts and earned Pete a platinum disc award for his work.
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Interview with Solid Air Music
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Sadly in 2009 my music hero John Martyn who I became friends with passed away and a few months after his death, John's record producer Jim Tullio asked if I would get involved with putting together a tribute album that would be dedicated to John and his music. Without hesitation I agreed and I assumed the role of Executive Producer and spent the following months approaching artists who were fans of John's music, asking if they would be willing to each choose their favorite John Martyn song and record it at their own cost, for inclusion on the tribute album and also donate their potential royalties from the sale of the to John's family. Not an easy task, but in 2011 the tribute album titled "Johnny Boy Would Love This - A Tribute To John Martyn" was released (double CD + DVD) including cover versions of John's songs recorded by the likes of Beck, Robert Smith from The Cure, David Gray, Snow Patrol, The Swell Season, The Emperors of Wyoming (feat Butch Vig), Joe Bonamassa, and Phil Collins. What makes me especially proud of this project is the fact that all these highly talented artists gave their time for free to remember an artist that inspired them along the way.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm about to start recording Leah Brooke's second album with her new band which I am very excited about and then a second album with Leopard Hound too! I am constantly busy composing new production music for a music library that I am working with.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Why not a bit of both ;-)
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: The project is not complete or approved until you tell me so.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Working in a creative environment with like minded creative people and that no two projects are the same. Each provides a new challenge to overcome.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q. Can you polish poop? A. Nope!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That we can somehow polish poop!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Find a provider that you can feel comfortable working with, that will incorporate to your ideas and suggestions and work with you to achieve your desired results. It's your music and as provider it's our responsibility to help encourage and enhance the creativity that is already there.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started my career in music at 16 when I left school back in 1984. I was lucky enough to secure a job in the mail room for Polygram Music (now known as Universal Music) I gradually made my way to becoming a Production Manager, which was the person (back in the day) who was responsible for making sure that all the parts such as cover artwork, master tapes etc were delivered on time so that the final product (Vinyl, CD's) could be manufactured to make the release date set by the record company. I was also involved with a couple of studio based music projects which is where I got my taste for writing and recording music. I loved being in the studio. As the dawn of file sharing took it's toll on the music industry my role as a Production Manager became redundant. Soon after I met my (now) wife who was from Madison, WI in the US and after a period of doing the long distance relationship thing, I moved and settled in Wisconsin in 2004. Since then I have been developing and building my studio "Solid Air Music" and have been, recording local artists and composing production music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening carefully to the client to asses and understand what exactly it is that they are looking to achieve with their music and using that information as the foundation from which to build upon to deliver on their expectations.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I think you would have to ask my clients that question. In a recent radio interview a client of mine
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I feel that their is no real typical process to follow when your working in music production and that's what keeps everything fresh and exciting. Each project brings a different set of challenges and you need to be able to adapt in order to produce the best results.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio takes over the basement of my house with a dedicated control room separate from the band performance room. It is built around 2 X Motu 896HD A/D converters that provide a total of 16 inputs which allows for recording a full four piece band live if required. My recording software of choice is Logic Pro X running on a Mac pro tower with a full memory capacity of 32GB which helps when running the huge library of waves processing plugins that I own, along with an equally large sample and instrument library from the likes of EastWest, Arturia, Native Instruments.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I have been very fortunate to work with both my music hero's (John Martyn & Paul Weller) while I was working for record labels in the UK. John Martyn's album Solid Air remains my all time favorite and the inspiration for the name of my studio. Everything from the songwriting, the performance and production on that album is just incredibly inspiring to me.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: So far the work I have performed for my clients has been from recording, adding additional production elements and programing when required, editing, through to mixing and final mastering.