I am an engineer and mixer in Los Angeles, CA with over ten years of recording experience. I have worked with a wide range of genres and always looking for a new challenge.
I have a great selection of microphones, preamps, and outboard gear. In addition to all my fabulous gear I have an enormous collection of the best plugins and vitrual instruments from UAD, Slate Digital, Soundtoys, Native Instruments, and more.
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Interview with Noel Molenda
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Excited to be writing some of my own music again.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: a mix of both, duh!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You will be happy with the results and we will have a good time in the process.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That I get paid to work on music and that I have the opportunity to help shape the future of music.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I'm a magician. I'm just really good at what I do.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How many songs? What do you sound like? Can I hear a demo? Do you have reference tracks you would like me to listen to? Whats your budget?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Practice, practice, practice. Feel confident that you know your songs and you will be less nervous and play well in the studio.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A grand piano, a Martin acoustic, a drumset. Thats all I should need if there isn't power and I'm stranded forever.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I just wanted to be in a band after seeing some of my friends get signed when I was a teenager. I didn't have money to record a demo, so out of those first DIY projects sprouted my love for recording and production. I've been doing this for like 15 years.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Adele, because who really has a better voice? Foo Fighters because they write such powerful rock songs with guitar tones that dreams are made of. Sia, because incredibly catchy pop music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Cut the mud
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I enjoy working on so many styles. I came up recording hardcore, metal, and punk bands. Then I moved on to writing super mellow folksy music, but I really love working on all styles. I want to work with folk artists and super guitar driven rock bands alike, and I have even produced some not-your-typical pop songs. Keep the mumble rap out of my earholes, but I'm stoked to do anything with some talent.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Mixing; I kind of feel like a master sometimes.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: As a producer, my ears are adept to noticing the weakest link in a song so it can be improved upon, as well as adding the right accents to make it all really come together. Most artists have also found my help with vocal harmonies to be quite helpful.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When working with a band I'll usually let them all record at once while laying down the drum tracks. The instruments will be on DIs with amp sims when needed, with no amps in the live room so there isn't bleed. Then once there are a few good takes of the drums they can be comped and then we can set up amps, get tones going, and begin replacing those scratch instrument tracks. Often times, however, I'll just re-amp the DIs after getting a solid track. Once basic tracks are in place vocals can be recorded. If I'm producing and the song calls for it I'll usually have plenty of ideas for harmonies and backgrounds. Once vocals are done we can decide if it needs any extra percussion, pads, intros, etc. Once that's all done it's time to mix, and I do my best work alone, but you can sit in on a mix as long as you are okay with paying hourly.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: At the heart of my studio is my Antelope Zen Studio plus, which I chose for it's incredible sound quality and the ability to go mobile. I track and mix on a beastly Hackintosh computer and I have a MacBook Pro for working on the go. I mix in a treated room through Focal monitors and I run Sonarworks to further flatten the frequency spectrum, so my mixes translate from system to system very well. I have probably 100 amazing plugins from UAD, Slate Digital, Soundtoys, and more, but I have quite a few analog options as well for sweetening up your tracks. I have API and Universal Audio outboard preamps, and a large amount of Neve-inspired preamps, compressors, and equalizers. My microphone selection is large, with many being custom modded by some of the top guys like Michael Joly and Dave Thomas.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm inspired by the mixes of Michael Brauer and Chris Lord Alge.