Multi-instrumentalist and conceptual songwriter, my skills are focused on transforming my clients' music into the best version of itself. I've been the head engineer at commercial recording studios, a bedroom producer, and a fill in session musician for my clients. My emphasis is doing what will make the song the best it can be.
Having worked in and out of recording studios of all types since 2010, I've had a decade to hone my skills and stretch out in different areas of music. Whether it's slapping some bass to a song, adjusting a single's song structure, or mixing and mastering an album there probably isn't something I haven't done at least once. I've done a lot of work writing and recording keyboard parts for rock and metal bands that desire a cinematic flair to their music, but I've also performed bass and rhythm guitar when necessary.
I specialize in production and songwriting, but I've also performed mixing and mastering duties while working out of some of Toronto's enduring commercial studios. I built my own production suite called Old Haunt Recording Studio to allow me to be flexible with my prices, as well as have a space to do whatever the project needs to become legendary. My academic background in English, Philosophy and Religion has also given me some useful insights to writing lyrics for thought provoking heavy metal songs.
I own an arsenal of custom and boutique equipment- whether it be guitars, amps, microphones or otherwise, I definitely have a "really cool" tool for the job. In the odd time there is a gap in my skillset I'm friends with tons of professional session musicians that can record easily at my recording space for your project.
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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Interview with Old Haunt Records
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm pretty proud of the upcoming Malacoda releases! I played guitar, bass, keys, sang, played some drums across a few songs and got to work with the guys in my band to make what I think is our best material yet. I mixed and mastered a few of these as well. They sound killer.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Some remixes and remasters for my band, Malacoda, doing some keyboards for a doom metal band in Brazil, and restructuring my studio website to cater to more online services.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Michael Farina- best session drummer in the city.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both for different reasons. Analog is how I learned how to record and mix- a tape deck and a console. That gave me the understanding and skills to create a workflow, understand signal flow and allowed me to physically work with audio. Digital is much more reliable, most of the times it can be cheaper and it's much more compact. A lot of digital stuff is modeling analog anyways, and the sounds are getting pretty close.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is that I'll always be honest with you on how I feel about a project, and that I'll always strive to make each and every session a learning experience- for you and for me. There's no egos, that's all left at the door, and I just want to make your project as awesome as it should be.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like all the different music I get exposed to. I tend to listen to a lot of the same stuff that I've listened to for years just out of habit, but when I'm working with a new band I get to hear not only their stuff, but their influences, their go-to favorite bands.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Most questions directed to me are about my rate, and what gear I have. I generally provide them with a gear list or mention select pieces that are suited for their project's needs. For my price I give them a ballpark depending on the service/combination of services. The more I'm doing, the better deal I can give. I really try to figure out their budget and come up with a price we're both happy with- as well as a strict timeline so nobody feels like the project is dragging on.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Some people believe that I do a lot of mixing with outboard gear and on consoles. Even when I worked at the big commercial studios with the 80 channel SSL boards, the majority of the mixes I did were all in the DAW using plugins. I tend to mix a lot in my laptop because I can take it anywhere with me and not miss a beat. I feel I'd be in trouble if I couldn't get something sounding good on just a laptop!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I usually ask what the direction of their project is, what sound, what bands they compare their music to. The typical stuff. I usually ask if they are looking for someone to produce their songs and their songwriting, or if they just need an engineer. What DAW they use, what their process was, if their tracks are edited- anything I need to know in order to get working after I've heard the music.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Know exactly what you want who you are hiring to do. A lot of providers in this industry wear multiple hats and they can be interchanged. Nothing is worse than being hired on as a producer with some creative input for song structuring, when really all my client wants is an engineer to just record and mix their tracks. Be clear with what you want, because I don't have a problem with giving a little bit more in the creative department if it will really make your project awesome.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Of gear I own? My Kenny Hickey Baritone, my laptop, my interface, my 5 string bass, and my midi controller. I can make everything I need with those things comfortably.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've worked in the music biz for at least a decade, maybe a little bit longer than that. I was a teenager when I first started playing in bands, and it was around that time I started learning how to record and produce- working with bands in my parents' basement and learning everything I could. I went to MWI and then worked out of a few different studios after graduating, and did a lot of freelance work as an engineer and session musician. I started my band Malacoda in 2013 and then in 2016 I started my own studio. I've dabbled as an music production educator as well, and it's something I'm looking at expanding upon.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would say my style is epic, symphonic, textured and focused. I like lush productions that are rich in tonality but also have moments where you're hearing details you didn't hear in the first few listens.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Katatonia- their music is so influential to me and I find that they've gotten better with each release. I'd love to work with them so I can see their creative process, they are experts at songwriting and lyricism.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: One music tip I have for heavy metal guitarists- or really anyone playing electric guitar, is when you are tracking guitars in the studio invest in some green painters tape and just leave it in your gig bag or guitar case. When you play electric guitar the entire body resonates- and all the other components rattle, vibrate, or otherwise resonate with what you are playing. This is then picked up by your guitar pickups and colors your tone. Some guitarists like to use a little bit of foam and put it behind the strings on their headstock, or underneath their bridge- I find painters tape is even more effective. You wrap the painters tape around each string on your headstock and at your bridge and stick it to the headstock/body of the guitar in between the strings and you've got an even tighter dampening option that doesn't rely on finding a piece of foam that fits just right. Your guitar tone will be much cleaner and you'll hear less noise from the guitar in your tracks- even if tracking DI.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on Heavy Metal, but I've worked on everything from punk, pop, rock, blues, reggae, country, folk and hip hop. Typically, if it has a guitar in it somewhere I can work with it. I do like working on EDM/Industrial- just need more opportunities to do it.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Definitely in songwriting and arrangement. I've been playing piano since I was 7, guitar since I was a teenager, and singing for close to a decade. All of this leads to my strong production skills.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I can bring a fresh set of experienced and insightful ears. When I hear a song I can generally figure out what will make it better within a listen or two- and it's usually the song structure that needs adjusting in my mind. I'm able to figure out the flow of the song and hear the potential the song has with every element even if it's just a barebones demo. My skillset with mixing/mastering, songwriting, lyric writing, and multi-instrumentalist abilities allows all of that to work in tandem to envision a complete version of the song before production even begins.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My typical work process involves making sure the demos are as close to the final product as possible. This way there's no second guessing and any experimentation during the production process is focused on improving what is already near-finished. At this point I really make sure the song structure is 100% perfect and allows the song's strengths to shine, but also keeps it interesting from beginning to end. Once that's done, we track the song (usually starting with drums, then bass, then guitars, keys and lastly vocals) and I edit everything. Then it's time to mix and master the songs and voila- we have (hopefully) a hit.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: RME 802 Interface Ferrofish AD/DA converter Alesis X2 Recording Console SM PRO 500 Series Rack API 512c Lindell 6x-500 Black Lion Auteur DBX 580 (x2) DBX 560 (x2) Patchbay Tech 21 Geddy Lee 2112 Sansamp iMac ProTools Too many plugins Kontakt Native Instrument Midi Controller Tons of guitars, basses, amps, pedals & microphones 5 Piece Drumcraft Drum Kit Control Room & Live Room
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Joey Sturgis, Jacob Hansen, Katatonia, Type O Negative, Kamelot
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Keyboard composition/recording, vocal, mixing and mastering