Professional guitarist, songwriter and arranger. I have 15 years of playing experience, and have been touring and recording professionally ever since leaving University. I also have experience in more niche instruments such as extended range and fretless guitars, mandolin, bass, and ukulele. Anything with strings and frets is my thing!
I'm a creative and intuitive session guitarist, with years of experience, working with a wealth of different artists. I've played on a variety of pop music recordings, theatre cast recordings, and also have years of experience writing, producing and releasing my own music.
I love working with artists and bringing out the maximum potential in their music. Whatever concept you have, whatever idea you want to bring to life, nothing is out of the question and everything is possible!
I've also been playing 8 string guitar for the last 5 years, and have cemented my own signature sound on the instrument. I've really enjoyed introducing this new and novel element to people's music, so if this is something you'd be interested in experimenting in, don't hesitate to enquire about it!
I believe that to really excel in any style of music, you have to be a fan first, and I'm a fan of every style of music under the sun! I'm always looking for new experiences and challenges and I'd love to bring my unique guitar style to your music!
I'm happy to offer *unlimited* revisions to your music. Your artistic vision is the most important
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Leo Aram-Downs
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: There's a well-established meme that guitarists have no theoretical knowledge, and I feel like I've spent the last 3 years of my career trying to deconstruct that meme!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How specific can you be with your requests? If it's something you can sing or write out, that's usually when you get the performance out of session musicians in my opinion. There's nothing wrong with letting people take the lead, but in my experience, the best sessions are when the artist has the strongest conviction in their ideas.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: As a session player, I'm currently working on new releases for London based artists ELOI and Benjamin David (as well as a few I can't talk about yet!). I'm also working on my first ever video game soundtrack which is as educational as it is challenging! I'm also releasing my new EP, "We All Have Our Place, Part 1" on the 4th of June.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Professional quality audio, a unique guitar style, and the perspective of a fellow artist/songwriter.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One of my own actually! In 2019, I challenged myself to release a fully produced song every week of the year, and I did it! It was called The Year of Everything, and you can hear the whole project over on my website.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'm brand new to the platform, so I'm not sure currently! I just encourage people to listen to as many musicians as possible and just have fun exploring.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: It totally depends on what aesthetic you're trying to emulate, but also what you have access to. There's no shame or stigma attached to what gear you're able to use, as long as you have an artistic vision.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is that I'll listen, I'll treat them like a professional, and that their product will be elevated by my contribution to it!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to indulge in being a music nerd! I've been exposed to heaps of great music and met loads of incredible people, and I hope for that to grow exponentially.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I usually get asked if a vision an artist has is out of the question/not possible, and usually my response is that I'll stop at nothing to get it done!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Have an open mind when you're looking for people, you never know where inspiration is going to come from and what other people might have to offer to your process.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Assuming I have a power outlet; My custom 8-string guitar, my Larrivee acoustic, computer, interface, and a MIDI controller. I'd also smuggle my Nintendo Switch out there tbh.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing guitar for approximately 15 years, and writing music for the same amount of time. I've studied at The BRIT School and Goldsmiths University. My first job out of uni was a national tour with Maple Tree Entertainment, which has been a recurring gig ever since, with short stints all over the UK and Europe. In early 2018, I started working for Tunescribers, a bespoke transcription company that prides itself on turning any piece of music into sheet music. And since then, my life has been a sweet balance of gigging, transcribing, and releasing my own work.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Eclectic, technical, fun.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Gorillaz, that would be a dream come true. That band was my first introductions to big conceptual writing combined with interesting music. The blend of styles and ideas was also a huge eye-opener for someone who hadn't been exposed to much hip-hop at the time.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: For guitarists - mic up your electric guitar like you would an acoustic! The sound of the strings being struck is something that can add a lot of timbre to your recordings. Same applies to double tracking your electric parts with acoustic and mixing them down a bit.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I'd say the style of music I personally make is "prog-pop". I love bringing extended techniques and niche ideas back into the pop songwriting process. Outside of myself, I've recorded every style under the sun as it were! Musical theatre cast recordings, 60s memorial tours, "metal-soul", electronic pop, as much as I can get my hands on!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Probably my ear. I have perfect pitch, and my current main job is transcribing and arranging music. I've done over a thousand arrangements over the last three years, and doing this full-time has done wonders for my ability to sit in with a band in the right place.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to have as much completed before opening a session up. I think with the amount of technology available to producers nowadays, it's very easy to get option paralysis, so coming at any session with intention and preparation is very important to me.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I currently run an almost entirely digital setup right now, with the exception of some analog pedals that I like using in some circumstances. My preferred amp-sim is Bias, and I use a lot of the Spitfire LABS sounds in my production work
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: To name a few - Blake Mills, Kenny Beats, Allan Holdsworth, Mree, Brockhampton, The Staves, Saba, Tosin Abasi, Rick Rubin, Kendrick Lamar, Damon Albarn, Michael League, Beyonce, Bill Wurtz, Chris Thile, Mark Knopfler, Caroline Polachek
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I'm most commonly recording guitar, but occasionally I'm able to provide some creative insight to the production process, as it's something I thoroughly enjoy doing as well.