Credited RIAA Recordings / Grammy Nominated & Award Winning Recordings
James R Carter III is a veteran Audio Engineer with over 32 years of experience in Recording, Mix, Mastering, Producing, Live Sound, Artist Management & Product Development. Credited on RIAA Certified Gold & Platinum Productions along with Grammy winning & nominated Recordings. Accomplished Musician.
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2 ReviewsEndorse James R Carter III
We did a whole album with James and really enjoyed working with him. He had awsome insights on the music and was a true professional!! Quick response time and a very trustworthy person to work with. Made the music come to life!!
James is an absolute pro who pays special attention to detail! He will bring life to a mix and add the sparkle that you never thought was possible to your music. You’ll never be disappointed working with him. A True Master!
Interview with James R Carter III
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I have just completed the tracking on Wynonna Judd's upcoming PBS special & currently setting up for mix sessions. Also, Producing a new Gospel Quartet that has successfully entered Charts with our second Single Release.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. I've listened to & created amazing projects on both platforms. To me, there is no argument. Have the right tool for the job.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I grew up with an amazing LP collection that included everything from Mozart to Zappa. I learned on Analog & chose to embrace Digital technology in it's beginning. This influence brought understanding of all types of music so, my style is to make it all about the song.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I do not believe in Genre, if it's good music, then its's just good music. Although, I really find joy in working with Gospel Harmony Singing groups. To me, theres just nothing better than good harmony.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I am an accomplished multi instrumentalist & proficient in music theory. These skills allow me to communicate with musicians on an intelligent level. After 32 years of Producing & Recording prolific songwriters I have a great insight of Songwriting & Arrangements.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Mr. Bruce Hoffman. I've had the pleasure of working with Bruce for over 20 years & everything he does is completely professional. Another true gentleman. Do yourself a favor & check Bruce out.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will do everything in my power to help them achieve their goal.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Hearing something new. To me there is nothing greater than to hear a new Song or Artist.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The most common question at the end of the day is about distribution. My answer is, Find Your Audience.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception that I experience is that everything has to be loud. To me, Dynamics are just as important as the Melody.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I like to know their history & what is the absolute goal for the finished project.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Questions. Have a list of questions & have no reserve about your knowledge in the process. It is our job to not only help you with your project, but to also educate & pass on what we have learned. The ultimate goal is to continue the creation of our Art. Pass it on.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Guitar, Stereo, LP Collection, Sunglasses, & the Bible.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: As a lot of us, I started off teaching myself how to play guitar. I was influenced by so many different Artists that I realized writing & arrangements are an infinite venture. I had several original bands as a youngster but, the dream of being a "Rock Star" was for from my grasp. So, in my area & at that time, learning the process were crew calls, meaning unloading trucks & setting up concerts. I did this to see what the inner workings of a touring Artist was all about. This led into retail at a local Pro Audio Shop. There I was very fortunate to be trained by industry professionals on everything from Recording to Live Sound. Eventually, I made connections in the business & gained a position with the late Mel Tillis. Mel was an amazing Artist but, I quickly realized that his greatest love was songwriting. From there, Mel put me in the role of Producing literally hundreds of projects over a 24 year tenure. I owe a lot to Mel, he gave cart blanche in the industry from working with an unbelievable list of clientele to unlimited budgets on projects. Mel was a true Artist & the definition of a gentleman.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: At this moment, David Grohl just knocks me out. From studying his career, I feel a common ground on the Love of Music & passion to create something everyday. Butch Vig is also one of my favorites. I simply love everything he does. His productions are as perfect as you can get in the new age of recording yet, he has the ability to let the song speak for itself. Daniel Lanois is another one of my favorites. To me, there is no one more honest in the process of creating music. Regrettably, I would have loved to work with Frank Zappa. Think about the knowledge you could have gained by being in that camp.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Let's be real about it, there a great songs & recordings of every kind. There are amazing sounding recordings on every platform. So, my best production tip would be to know your client & do your best to understand what they hear in their head. Ultimately, I believe that the Artist is just that... the Artist , & my job is to help them bring their ideas to life.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I believe that my strongest skill would be communication & attention to detail.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I view all projects as a unique production. The first step is to get to know the Artist & find a common approach as to present the Artist in their fashion. Ultimately making my role transparent so the Artist is represented properly to their audience. Preproduction meetings to discuss the schedule, budget, gear selection, musicians, arrangements, & setup. From these discussions, a plan will be executed to insure the best results for the client.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: The Studio is a Russ Berger Design built around a custom Neve Console. The primary recording sources are Radar, Protools, & Logic. There are various outboard Preamps from Neve, SSL, Grace, Millenia, Manley, & API. Our Microphone package includes; Neumann U 47, U67, U87, KSM 84, Sennheiser 421, 409, 4032, Shure 57, 58,, Beyer M88, AKG D112, & Lawson etc....Outboard Processing from Eventide, TC Electronics, Manley, Millenia, Yamaha, dbx, Focusrite, & Apogee. Monitoring; Dunlavy, Westlake, Genelec, Tannoy, JBL, all external powered by Bryston
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I admire Alan Parsons, Bob Ezrin, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Bruce Botnick, Vance Powell, Harold Shedd, Richard Dodd, Glenn Gould, Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns, Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Mel Tillis, Steve Miller, Elvis Costello, Marty Stuart, Bob Katz, Butch Vig, Les Paul, & List goes on & on.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I play many roles depending on the client & project. Producer, Preproduction, Tracking, Overdubs, Editing, Mix, & Mastering.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: During my time with Mel Tillis, Mel had gotten in a place where he was writing & recording a lot of new material but didn't want to put any of it out. "In the can" as they say. So, I started putting together ideas of different projects that we had never done before. Now, if knew Mel or had ever seen him in a live environment, one of the most obvious things you would notice was his ability to tell stories. Really funny stories & with the added stutter that Mel possessed, the audience was in for some genius entertainment. This put the idea in my head that we should put together a Comedy Record. I presented the idea to Mel & he wasn't interested in doing a video shoot or trying to capture the material without an audience. Now, something to know, Mel recorded everything. Being a songwriter, it was common practice to record every show, show rehearsal & every moment of a session & document it. Over time, the archives became vast with all sorts of recordings. I took it upon myself to start going through the vault of different recordings & sort them into a file containing what I felt were good performances. This was an incredible trip through time as I found everything from Ampex Mono tape recordings of the 1950's to pristine digital multitracks. Over a 6 month endeavor, I collected over 80 hours of material. At this point, I made Mel Cd copies & a color coded book of what I considered the best takes. Mel would then listen & mark his choices in the book of what he considered the better performances. After each time of Mel reviewing , I would create a new book & Cd's containing what he had selected & we would repeat the process. Finally, we got the material under 74 minutes (then the allotted time for Cd) & started the Editing, Mixing & Final Sequence. After this much time on the project, I realized that my point of view & my ears were "bent" so, I consulted Richard Dodd to do the Mastering. Richard did an amazing job bringing everything to life. I really put him through the gambit due to the fact that we were dealing with every type of source recordings imaginable. Seriously, Mono Tape, Analog Multitrack Tape, Digital Files, It was crazy the but, Richard pulled it off with his brilliant approach to continuity. Now we had a product & through a chance meeting with Toby Keith, we had distribution on Toby's Show Dog Label. The Album took off. Made the top 10 on Billboard's Comedy Chart & was Nominated for a Grammy. The Title is "You Ain't Gonna Believe This" This experience really made me reflect on how you can take recordings of the past that are literally sitting on a shelf & bing them into a new light. I'm very proud of this project. It has brought laughs & happiness to many people over the years.I learned a lot during this time & it made me realize that there is always a way to create a great project. You just have to be dedicated & put your mind to it.