I'm a songwriter and producer work with artists in the Americana, country, roots rock worlds. My experience and skills make me a good 'critical friend' to have on your project, contributing anything and everything from song tweaks to full co-writes, mixing to full production.
My production style tends towards the rolling-my-sleeves-up variety, getting as involved as the projects needs in order to get the result the client is after. I'm a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, drums, keys, programming) so can generally lend myself to filling in gaps where need, or creating the complete sonic picture. I love to create sound through the creative process, with everything from mic placement through compression and post production, but... everything has to be about the artist's performance at the end of the day. I need the *song* to shine through, and the for listener to hear something authentic and believable. That's what I'll be helping you get to.
Testament to the quality of my songwriting is the roster of names happy to lend themselves to my projects; I've written with some of Nashville's finest songwriters including Angaleena Presley, Amy Speace, Ben Glover, Michael Logen and Brandy Zdan. Having lead Angaleena's UK band as musical director/guitarist, the Pistol Annies singer returned the favour by duetting on my latest album. Larkin Poe, Brandy Zdan, Good Lovelies, BJ Cole, Richard Smith, Mark Chadwick and Wild Ponies have all collaborated on previous projects.
Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.
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Interview with Jamie Freeman
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: It really is all about compression, I don't think I can stress that enough. Compressors can be a mystery for people for a long time until it clicks, but until you get the hang of them you will never make a decent sounding mix. I like to mix 'into' master compression from an early stage, with a Waves CLA-2A plugin across my master. It helps things gel early on, although it does require a little more care getting your overall balance as every fader move affects the hit the compressor is taking. The way compressors interact with the various instruments in a mix or sub-mix buss is fascinating, and such an integral part of what we expect from recorded music. While I mostly mix in the box, I I like to go through hardware comps on the way in. Bass, for example, I'll put through my dbx160a. It means that even while playing I'm starting to get the feel for the end result, and I normally end up adding more during mixdown. Vocals will usually see a tickle of outboard compression too (Art ProVLA II optical comp) mainly for some character, and to save adding too much digital compression later. So by the time you hit that final mix, some tracks might have gone through up to five stages of compression: record, mix, group bus, master bus and limiter!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I tend to be a mix-as-you-go person in the studio, especially if we're building a track with lots of overdubs. I generally have a solid idea of the end result we're aiming for, so getting those things in early can help with the vibe and affect subsequent takes and dubs. This doesn't mean there isn't a dedicated mix stage, but I like to sketch things out as we go if it helps the artist to get the feel of the thing.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I worked on a re-write of a song by The Levellers for a protest song compilation, which I then produced for Mark Chadwick the next day! I put a band together to record it live, vocals and all, in a tiny studio. Not only did this require doing the arrangement in the session, it meant careful mic placement as everything was going to bleed; managing that was a great challenge. Recording an experienced performer like Mark was a joy; his vocal just sounds right straight out of his mouth, and re-working a Levellers tune for the man himself, well... that was pretty amazing.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm doing a very 'pop' production for an indie folk duo, trying to see where we can take the song sonically while retaining their individuality. This is all being done remotely, with regular Zoom calls to assess progress. I'm creating the entire track here in my studio (Covid yo!) and when it comes time to record the vocals I'll do that remotely, running the session via webcam.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Let me hear the song, acoustic, no frills!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I think I have a talent for hearing into the future, envisioning what the artist is trying to get at sonically. Hearing what the song could be, and having the focus to keep working towards that, whatever it takes.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I'd describe my setup as a post-production studio, designed for editing, mixing and overdubs. I have a good selection of mics of course, and a couple of outboard bits I really like. I have a patch bay installed so that I can easily take a line from ProTools and run it through a real DBX 160a, or that Warm Pultec-style ex for example. Generally I work in the box, and I've gathered a set of favourite plugins that I can't live without. This is usually 'vibe' stuff, like Abbey Road plates reverb, or Kramer Tape - which I've used on about 80% of vocals! But for band production or drums I'd head out to a commercial space, or de-camp to a space and bring my gear.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Generally I've done full album production, but I've undertaken a bunch of single projects too. I've done pure mix projects too, which I like to do, but being a musician means I have the skills at hand to fix any minor issues that might appear in the multitracks. (I'm also very strong on editing and finessing.) As a songwriter I've co-written with a number of people, in typical Nashville-style - locked door, 50/50 split, egos left outside. Also, being a songwriter, that is always my focus when it comes to production - getting that song's message across.