Steve Banik, professionally known as STACKTRACE, is an American producer, musician and engineer based in Madison, Wisconsin. Production credits include Stalley, Do or Die featuring Rick Ross, Emilio Rojas, G-Side and several other independent artists.
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Interview with STACKTRACE
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm polishing some older material for a non-exclusive library. I'm preparing material for a Beat Battle in May. I'm planning to work on an album with a very talented composer/engineer. I'm cowriting new material with a platinum selling Hip Hop producer. As the Vice President of our Audio Engineering Society chapter, I sometimes line up presenters and venues for our monthly meeting. When I'm not at my engineering day job or at home in the studio, I'm spending time with my wife and daughter.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I have two people I'd recommend. Contact me for more info.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I like both.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: When something I write or something someone else writes gives me the chills. I know I'm on to something at that point.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: What are your rates? A: What is your budget? Q: Can you make this sound like X? A: I think so. I'll send you a sample and you can answer that. Q: Can you get it to me tomorrow? A: If we double the rate, possibly.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Because I produce Hip Hop, people think I'm a "beatmaker." There's much, much more to it than that.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to their SoundCloud. If it doesn't grab you after the 2nd song, find someone else.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: MacBook Pro, MIDIMAN, Korg CX3, Technics 1200 and an ISDN line.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started taking piano lessons at age 5. When I was 16 I got my hands on a Korg 01/W and started creating non-acoustic music. Shortly after I got the Korg, I hooked drum machines to it and started producing hip hop for artists in north central Indiana. I released an EP in 1993. From 2003 - 2008 I lived in Nashville where I toured with several major label artists. I performed on the Tonight Show in 2005.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I cowrote a track that featured a major label artist, one of the most well known artists in Hip Hop today. I was asked to "improve the (existing) keyboards on the track" and they kept all my new keyboard parts in the final version.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My Fender Rhodes playing sounds a bit like a Neo Soul version of Herbie Hancock. Groove is always the main ingredient for me. If you're not feeling it, no one else will either.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: K Michelle. She has a great voice and she favors piano in her tracks.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If a track is starting to sound stale, try making a new arrangement. If it doesn't breathe new life or doesn't inspire you to continue, stop working on it and sell it on a royalty free site.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Hip Hop and RnB.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I try not to spend long stretches in the studio without a break. Breaks help minimize ear fatigue and they're also creatively refreshing.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I track in REAPER and do some writing in that tool as well. I also use Reason 7.1
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Q-Tip, DJ Premier, Pete Rock.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Interpolations, keyboard parts.