Award-winning songwriter; garnered press in No Depression, Glide and Atwood Magazines. I can assist in songwriting/structure, parts/session work, completing arrangements/production, coaching performance, and overall vision of a song. Musician/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist specializing in helping artists bring their songs to life in recordings.
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Interview with Matt Hoffman
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am proud of the new Ellsworth record, that releases Jan 29, 2021. This is a prime example of collaborating with a talented artist, talking through arrangements, some coaching of the artist, and tons of arrangement/production vision and session work. I was able to work with the artist and set the vision, then help execute both musically and on the recording side of things.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Just finished tracking B3 for a customer, and am heavily involved in writing and pre-production for Strange Americans' next record (Americana, Rock).
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I am new to SoundBetter but hoping to make some connections!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I like the idea of analog a lot and use it in some ways. Since we're recording in DAWs obviously a lot of what we're doing is digital, so I try to embrace that side of things as well.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I want you to be satisfied, so please feel free to communicate if you did not get what you want. I want you to feel 100% confident in your song.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being creative and doing music.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What are you hearing on this track? Like what instruments? I usually use my intuition and, based on the song, tell the collaborator. Most of the time it works, but many times that leads to discussion and other thoughts come from that as well.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Ha--I'm not sure!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you looking for with this song? What direction do you see it going? Do you have an idea of genre for this song?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Get what you want out of your recordings; you have to stand behind them 100% in order to be successful bringing them into the world and to your fans.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Drum kit, Gibson J45, Piano, 1966 Guild Starfire, Mustang Bass. I'd use my phone to record.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been at music all my life; I have a Bachelors in Music Composition, and Masters in Music Theory. I've been recording and releasing original music for 11 years. I currently teach in CU Denver's commercial music program, Music and Entertainment Studies (MEIS) and have been teaching about 14 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Simple is best, and be sure to listen to the song. Try several ideas to see what fits. Then lean on musical intuition.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Hiss Golden Messenger, H.C. McEntire, The Jayhawks, The War On Drugs, Broncho, Matt Berninger, Bruce Springsteen. Each artist would be different to work with and learn from, but all of these artists have albums that I've been really into lately. Great recordings, writing and performances.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: When arranging/producing and thinking of mixing, I tend to prioritize the lead vocal, and depending on the song/genre, the drums. I like to work everything else in after that, find a place for each part both in terms of arrangement and in terms of stereo/EQ location.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Americana, Rock, Singer-Songwriter.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: General musicality and overall vision for a song and it's recording. Insistence on groove and good rhythmic performances, both from myself and from collaborators. Emphasis on good tones and strong, musical and emotional takes when tracking.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Simple, melodic sensibilities. Parts should serve the song, making it more meaningful and interesting; I typically try not to overdo tracking and, unless specified by a collaborator or demanded by a song, try to leave some space both in individual parts and in full arrangements.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: After discussing direction with collaborators, I usually listen through a song, try to understand the vibe and energy and what the song calls for in terms of parts; from there if it is a single part I will do takes until I feel I have something solid that serves the song. For larger arrangement and production I will typically discuss in more detail to get the artist's ideas, then add to the song, check in with the artist for thoughts and any revisions.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I am in a basement studio with sound treatments. We use UA Apollo interfaces and have several mics including a Coles 4038, Shure SM7b, Shure KSM141 stereo pair, Cascade Fat Head stereo pair, and several others. If not recording live bands, I prefer to build tracks from the rhythm section first. We have a 60s Ludwig Super Classic Kit (Black Beauty Snare), multiple basses and guitars (Fender, Guild, Martin, Gibson, Hofner) including 12-string, keys (Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Yamaha U3, Moog, Hammond, Logic Pro X). Lots of options and I can explore tones/sounds you are looking for on your tracks.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Session Work: I can provide keys, guitars, bass, drums and/or percussion for your song. Package deals too. Arrangement and Production: I can arrange and record full song production, and have a passion for creating in this way. Songwriting: I can assist in writing considerations, revisions and edits, critique, creative process and anything you are looking for regarding how your song is written and/or finished.