Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
There are so many over the years. I think I would have to say the times I spent with Andy Johns working on various artists was such an privilege. The work I did with Danja Hands for 3 months at Chalice was great too as his engineer. Being part of the team for Usher's Raymond Vs Raymond was great too. There are just so many.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am working on a variety of different things. A few songwriters, a few producers. My artists music too. He is kind of pop hip hop party music. Also finalizing a few albums with a client that I work with every week. One is live instruments rocky type album, One is collaboration album with other artists more of the pop vein and the other is a EDM remix album.
Analog or digital and why?
A mixture is what is ideal I think. I mean if your recording and have great mic pre's compressors, convereters and mics then going straight from there to digital is fine but that's still a mix technically. For mixing plug ins have come so far especially UAD that you can do great mixes in the box but having a summing bus or a console is always a great thing!
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I guess if I had a promise I would say that you will get the best sound possible and that you can count on me to do everything I can to achieve that.
What do you like most about your job?
I think being a part of the creative process would be the top of the list. It is always amazing to help an artist producer etc achieve their vision and giving input from your experience and creativity to make that happen.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
I guess the only real one is that we can fix anything that has not been prepared or practiced. I can do allot but being a magician is something I can't do. Practice your craft and be ready to go in and do the work. Don't think the engineer/producer can fix everything. I had someone say to me once there are no bad artists just bad engineers. That is simply not true. If you are not ready then take the time to get there before you move on to the next step.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I usually ask things like:
What are you trying to accomplish (single, album, ep)?
What type of music is it?
Do you have instrumentals or are we recording live instruments or both?
Are you looking for someone not only to engineer but to help produce the song or songs?
Do you have a mixer or do you want me to mix it as well?
And of course I have to ask what the budget is to make this happen? That way I can put together some options to get it done the best possible way for the budget that is there to work with.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
I don't know about advice I would give but I would just have to say it's gonna be a great experience for sure and you will get something that sounds amazing and you are proud of!
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Well 5 pieces of gear is vague question and probably not enough but if I had too I would say:
Pro Tools HD 3 (with an apogee front end)
A pair of Adam S3X-H
Manley Vox Box Channel Strip
Neumann M149 Microphone
5 pieces if you include the computer and interface is really hard to do but that's probably what I would go with. Hope I can still bring my UAD plugs!
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I have been doing this for 10+ years. Probably more like 12 or 13.
I went to Full Sail in the early 2000's
I went from there to NYC where I worked first at Chung King in Soho then on to Sony Music Studios roughly until they closed their doors.
Then I move to Los Angeles where I have been working for over 9 years.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Well that depends on the type of music:
Hip Hop (Eminem) He is just amazing lyrically and I would love to be a part of his creative process. Jay Z would be cool. I would say Lil Wayne too but I have worked with him. The Game was fun to work with too.
Rock (way too many) But someone like Muse, Marilyn Manson or Linkin Park would be great because not only is their music great but I like that they use a mixture of live instruments and electronic to achieve their sound. so many possibilities. Nirvana, Sublime or Blind Melon would have been cool too. Can't forget Janes Addiction. There are just so many.
EDM (Skrillex)- I just really dig the stuff he has done not only with his DJ stuff but with the songs he has produced for different artists
Pop- I mean I have worked on allot of their projects already but I would say working with Rihanna would be great. I have worked on camps and produceers working on a few of her albums but never directly with her. She has some killer stuff especially Disturbia which is one of my favorites. Black Eyed Peas too! That would be great!
Can you share one music production tip?
The most important tip for recording production I can say is vibe. Creating the right atmosphere for the artist or group is so important. The way you talk to them while they are working too. Never use negatives always accentuate the positive and make them sound and feel amazing! That's the way to get the performance and song that they and you are looking for.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work on allot of Pop, Urban and Hip Hop but I have worked with all kinds of music from pop country to jazz to mixing EDM records. In the 10+ years I have had the opportunity to do so many types of music. It' been amazing!
What's your strongest skill?
I would say my strongest skill is arrangements of vocals and instruments. I love creating the song structure and overall vibe of the song. Other strong skills are my recording and editing techniques and the speed in which I do them. Overall I would say though it's the ear, the imagination and the creation of the vision of the artist that makes it all come together and work for me.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring over 10 years of experience engineering with many major artists, songwriters and producers and learning their techniques which I use with some of my own.
I bring the knowledge of going through the stages and working at large format top of the line studios where I had the opportunity to work with some of the best in the business and not to mention the best available gear. So I know what needed to get the project done the best possible way.
I bring the experience of producing my own artist signed to my own company as well as producing and arranging for many other indie artists. I have many artists that hire me cause of the producing and arranging that I bring to the table with my engineering skills too.
What's your typical work process?
That depends really on what the project entails.
Usually I talk to the artist or group about their music and what they are trying to accomplish.
If they have demo recordings then I have them send them to me so I can listen and come up with ideas and where we should go from there.
Then we talk about budgets and what kind of studio we will need to get the best product out for what their budget is.
Then we go and record everything we need. Sometimes that is just one day or sometimes multiple depending on how many songs, if they have instrumentals or if we are recording live instruments or a mixture of both. I help with the arrangements and producing during this time as well.
Sometimes after that we go back to my place and do all the edits, comping etc. Make sure everything is done properly and all the parts were done they way we need them to be.
If everything is done and we don't need to do any more additional recording then we move on to the mix. I like to mix the songs by myself because I can stay super focused if I can just absorb myself into the song. There is usually a good rough mix too that I did with the artist or group to refer to so that the vision is there already.
After the mix is done I invite the artist or group over to listen and we make mix fixes. Then at that point I send the song home with them to live with for a few days and then we do some final tweaks and sometimes a few different times until it's done.
Then print mix stems and passes and off to mastering.
Tell us about your studio setup.
For recording purposes I have allot of different studios that I use depending on what we are trying to accomplish. There are lots of smaller studios out there with the right gear and microphones that I know of that can duplicate the sound you would get out of a huge room with console. You just have to know what your looking at and what is the best pieces to use depending on the job. That is something that I def bring to the table working at these big studios over the years such as Sony Music Studios in NYC and studios in LA such as Glenwood Place, Chalice and Westlake. I do most of my recording at small high end studios to the big ones depending on budgets. I have super reasonable priced studios that get amazing sounds but I always love being in the big rooms if the budgets are there.
As far as a home set up I have a Mac Pro 8 core with 22 gigs of ram. It's a beast. I have an apogee interface and a pair of JBL LSR speakers that I love am are so used to cause I have been using them for over 7 years. I have a one fader port to do rides and tons and tons of plug ins including UAD. It works really well for editing, comping and mixing too. That way if I am working with an artist that has a somewhat limited budget we can record and get all the editing done here and even do the mix. It helps them to cut down studio costs when needed. Its a good process.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I think every musician and producer gives me inspiration in one way or another. There is always something that comes out during a session that makes you go wow that was great! I would say that some of the writers, producers and vocal producers that I have worked with like Sean Garret, Teddy Riley, Danja Hands, Kuk Harrell, Terry Lewis, Andy Johns and Jeremih have inspired different techniques that I use. As I said though almost every artist, producer, song writer etc that I have worked with have brought something to the table that has inspired me and influenced me in one way or the other.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Allot of the artists have an instrumental, lyrics and a vision but don't have a song. I take their vision record, arrange and vocal produce it which makes it a produced song. Then we go on to the mixing stage and make it all come together and through this process we make something amazing!