I'm Adam, and I work from a small studio space set up in my bedroom. Don't let that put you off though, it's not what equipment you have that matters as much as it is how you use it. I've been producing my own music for approx. 3 years and I'm now trying to get into the bigger land of local artists, and artists from elsewhere in the world.
Although I don't have a huge array of fancy equipment, I do know how to use it to its full potential and that's the most important thing. What's the point of having equipment if you only know the bare essentials?
I mix with Slate Digital plug-ins in Pro Tools 12, which runs on a Mac mini Server from 2011 with 16GB of RAM. Anything I mix goes through: extensive listening to identify strengths and weaknesses in the song, mix buss processing, complimentary EQ carving, compression to bring out the best of the tracks, automation, and effects (such as reverb and delay).
Aside from mixing, I'm also available for songwriting and session work; however mixing is the thing I'm best at.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Lucid Recording Studio
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The project I'm proudest of is the songs that I'm currently working on. They sound and feel better than anything I've ever produced before, and I feel like they can easily compete with professional mixes. On my own songs I do everything. Write the parts, play them, record them, edit them, mix them, and master them.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Right now I'm working on my own songs that feature a range of different instruments you'd expect to hear in a typical rock/ballad kind of mix.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Right now I don't know anyone on SoundBetter, so no.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I have to say digital. I've only ever used digital, but I do prefer analog in some aspects. For example, the sound you get from tape is truly magical, and plug-ins can only come close to replicating that sound.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My 'promise' is to always deliver the highest quality product that I can, but without charging prices you'd expect for that. There's also the fact that, no matter how many revisions you'd like me to make, I won't get angry (unless those revisions are ridiculous).
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The best part for me is that I get to go wild with my favourite plug-ins to make songs sound as amazing as I can, which in turn puts a smile on the faces of my clients.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The most common one is "Would you mix this for me?" and my reply is always "Absolutely. Send me the files."
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Most people think I literally just sit at a computer, open a song up that's pre-mixed, and slap a ton of effects on it. That's not it at all. There's the subtractive EQ moves, the compression, the saturation, the attention to little details like percussion, and then after all that I'll have one or two reverbs and delays that are so subtle you don't notice them until they're gone.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How do you want the finished song to sound? What if we changed this to make it sound better?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't think it all comes down to what gear someone has, or how much they're charging. The way I see it, as long as you know what you're doing and how to use your gear then you can make a hit record. I don't have anything you'd see in somewhere like Mix LA or Abbey Road, but what I do have is gear that I know how to use to its full potential. I don't charge a lot because I know that not everyone has a major label sized budget, and so it's better to be cheaper.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Logically speaking, I wouldn't take any because I'd have no way to power it and use it/ If I were to take 5 pieces of gear though, they'd have to be: My Mac mini (and the screen obviously), my M-Track Plus, my MXL 2010, an acoustic guitar, and my MIDI controller.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Originally I started out in 2013 trying to record and release my own solo music. In 3 years I've gone from a kid using Mixcraft presets, an acoustic guitar, and one mic, to someone who knows how to use EQ, compression, saturation, and automation well. I also now know WHY to EQ or compress things, or whatever it is I'm doing. I've gone from making my own terribly produced songs, to wanting to provide a high quality service to musicians on a tighter budget.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Ideally I'd like to work with bands like Neck Deep, The Amity Affliction, or Yellowcard. They know how to write songs well, they know how to play their instruments well, and they're all in genres of music I'm most comfortable with.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Always use EQ and compression on your Mix Buss for the most clarity and detail in your mixes.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Usually I work on: pop-punk, hard rock, metal, acoustic, and alternative
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: By far my strongest skill is mixing. As I said earlier, I've had to do quick mastering jobs, but I much prefer mixing. I'm also quite skilled at playing the guitar. I'm by no means a beginner, but I'm not the next Angus Young.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I feel like I can take an alright song, and make it a hell of a lot better. More life, energy, punch, and impact are what I add to songs that I work on. Even if it's not the catchiest song ever, I'll be able to get it stuck in people's minds with the way I mix.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Typically for mixing I start with a rough fader balance of whatever song it is I'm working on Then I'll pull up the Virtual Mix Rack on my Mix Buss and do slight EQ moves to give the mix some life and energy, then comes a compressor that does around 1dB of gain reduction, then some harmonic exciting, and finally a tape emulator to finish it off. Afterwards I put my mix in mono and start to EQ each track individually, usually boosting and cutting in 3dB chunks (although sometimes more is needed). Following the EQ comes compression, in which I do around 3-5dB of gain reduction. After the compression, I may do parallel compression on drums to give them more punch and help them to cut through the rest of the mix. Finally, I'll add any reverb or delay that I feel is necessary, as well as automation, and adding any necessary percussion.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I use a 2011 Mac mini Server with 16GB of RAM as my base of operations. It runs Pro Tools 12, as well as every single Slate Digital plug-in. The monitors I use are Alesis Elevate 3's, but I also compare mixes on the Mac's built in output, headphones, and my computer monitor's output. Audio interfaces I use are the M-Audio M-Track Plus Mk. II, and a Line 6 POD Studio UX1. I usually don't use more than 2 inputs at one time so this is fine for me Guitars I own are: A 2003 Gibson SG Special, A custom Mexican Fender Telecaster, an Epiphone Explorer, and a Legacy acoustic. Mics: MXL 2010, MXL 550, MXL 551, Shure PG58, Electro Voice N/D767A Other: Alesis Q25 MIDI controller, Steven Slate Drums 4, Slate Digital Trigger 2
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Chris Lord-Alge, Tom Lord-Alge, Dave Pensado, Graham Cochrane, and Jordan Valeriote are all pros that I look up to and aspire to be like one day.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of the time I mix songs for my clients and that's it. There's been a couple of times I've done a very quick mastering job for a song, but that's not my strongest area of work.