I’m an classically-trained, award-winning British music producer and arranger, specialising in gospel, spiritual and Christian song production. I have a masters in music from Oxford and 20+ years’ experience working with people like Tony Visconti (Bowie, Bolan), Simon Napier-Bell (Wham, Ultravox) and many others.
I offer the following services:
Complete song production - create a professional, distribution-ready song from your rough demo or idea.
Song development - take your top line or basic melody and turn it into a fully-fledged song production.
Song arrangement - for example, turn a solo acoustic demo into a full-band arrangement (or vice versa).
Strings, orchestral and choral overdubs - arrange and record everything you need to give your songs the professional edge.
A bit about me:
Based in a converted coachhouse in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, I work with a huge range of artists from around the world whilst continuing to produce my own repertoire of 100+ original compositions and songs.
My songs and compositions have received acclaim from people like Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2), The SAE Institute, Wychwood Music Festival, Jack.fm, The Wedding Present and Stornoway. I work primarily in Logic Pro X, specialising in scoring for virtual instruments and tracking live instruments, including guitars, bass and piano.
I'm entirely self-taught on a range of instruments including guitars, bass, piano, keyboards and percussion. Whilst much of my work is in the gospel, spiritual or Christian music genres, I also specialise in pop, rock, classical, theatre and cinematic soundtracks.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
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Interview with David A. Griffiths
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: About 7 years ago I was asked to mix four tracks recorded by a tribute band called T. Rextasy. This was a real joy in itself because I love the music of Marc Bolan and T. Rex. After creating the initial mixes, unbeknownst to me, the band sent my mixes to the original T. Rex producer Tony Visconti for feedback. Imagine how happy I was to receive a message from him in my inbox! He praised the production and offered a few valuable hints and tips that I still refer to today.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm about to start producing a new song for songwriter and top-line writer Debbie Moogan. It's a soulful number with a gospel feel, so right up my street. Debbie is a repeat client; she has a wonderful voice and her songs are some of the best I've heard. It's always a real pleasure to work with her.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'm new to the site, so haven't had a chance to properly meet anyone yet, but very much look forward to doing so!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Digital is wonderful because of the flexibility and potential it provides. Virtual instruments, for example, allow me to add a really convincing string section to a song at a fraction of the price it would cost to record real strings. Though in many cases you can't beat analog. In my case, by 'analog' I mean real instruments. I play as many real-life instruments as possible on all of my productions.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will always tell you if I don't think I'll be able to create the music you're looking for. If you're unhappy with what I send you I'll do everything possible to make it right.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the clients I work with. I love having the freedom to do the work I enjoy doing and the satisfaction it brings to others. Above all, I love the tingly feeling I get when a song is really starting to sound amazing.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Question: can you include (insert instrument here) in the finished production? Answer: (nearly always) yes!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Clients often assume I'm based in a huge soundproofed room with the latest and greatest equipment. This is 100% the opposite of my production ethos. I grew up working with minimal gear, recording with producers using reel-to-reel technology, based in converted barns, garden sheds and disused industrial sites. So much amazing music is produced in this way, using raw talent, authenticity and a good understanding of the principles of music production, that I tend to find I can't work in any other way.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I ask clients to provide YouTube links to songs in a similar style or genre to the one they'd like to create. I also ask them for details of any production styles or instrumentation they'd like me to feature. I'll also spend some time outlining the process we'll be following when working together, and providing additional explanations when needed.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't be afraid to ask even the simplest of questions. If at any point you feel intimidated or overwhelmed with technicalities - you're working with the wrong person. You should feel listened to, understood and respected at every stage. Take your time when choosing and research potential producers carefully. Check out their websites and playlists - producers specialise in a multitude of styles and not everyone is necessarily right for you. If in doubt, drop them a line requesting more info. Their response time and how well they answer your questions is a strong indicator as to the quality of their work.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A Mac, midi keyboard, guitar, speakers and monitor. Assuming there is some kind of power source :)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Over the past 20+ years I have written and contributed to hundreds of arrangements and compositions in a wide range of styles and genres, from classical, pop, rock and gospel to funk, EDM, music theatre and cinematic soundtracks. I was trained under renowned Welsh composer Michael Parkin before receiving a fully-funded unconditional offer to study music at Oxford in 1996 where I specialised in advanced compositional techniques. With a background in piano and orchestral performance I formed my first band at age 19. I spent a decade fronting two bands, recording several acclaimed albums and sharing stages with artists as diverse as The Sugababes, Foals and Carter USM. I'm entirely self-taught on a range of instruments including guitars, bass, piano, keyboards and percussion. My distinctive voice is similar to David Byrne, and I can currently be heard fronting Talking Heads tribute band Heads Up.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I grew up listening to the warm, rich vinyl sounds of people like Elton John, T. Rex, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and this has always been the foundation of my musical style. I like warm guitars, understated pianos, soulful solos and strong vocals. In other words, everything that made up the great pop and rock songs of the 70s and 80s.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My music production has been heavily influenced by people like Tony Visconti (David Bowie's producer), Brian Eno (particularly his work with U2) and Gus Dudgeon (Elton John's producer). Above all, I am continually inspired by the musical ideas presented by my clients.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: It's unfortunate that most of my favourite artists are dead! I don't have any particular artist I'd like to work with. I get all the creative satisfaction I need working with my many wonderful clients and continually producing my own music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Learn when to rest your ears. Step away from the mixing desk, get a good night's sleep, come back to it the next day. Keep going and you'll never solve the problem. Come back fresh, you'll fix it in 30 minutes, guaranteed.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I've worked in just about every genre imaginable, but I am increasingly specialising in gospel, spiritual and Christian songs and music. As a spiritual person myself I have enormous respect for the beautiful creations my clients bring to the world, and it is enormously satisfying to help bring it fully to life.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Without a doubt, it's the ability to listen to a short demo, read a handful of production notes, and immediately hear the finished song inside my head. The challenge is always to bring this to life, and I work relentlessly to do this.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: It depends on the song. If it's in an early stage of development I'll often be asked to create - say - a chorus melody or other musical component so as to complete the initial composition. This is a particular strength of mine, since I have a 20+ year background in songwriting. Once the initial song is written, my skill is in the structuring and arrangement of instrumentation, creating contrast, tension and release. I spent years studying the production techniques of people like Tony Visconti and Brian Eno, and this feeds heavily into the arrangement component of my work. I am also renowned for my ability to listen to my clients and understand the sound and style they're looking for. I pride myself on strong communication. It's very rare for me not to be able to make the connection needed to ensure a successful outcome.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Most of my clients have a rough demo or sketch of a song, and I start by discussing any ideas and requests they have for their production, e.g. instrumentation, arrangement, song structure etc. I will then transcribe the chords, melody and lyrics and map out an arrangement in Logic Pro X. Depending on the client's preference, tracks may be guitar or piano led, so I'll normally track one of these instruments first. I will then add my own guide vocal, meaning I have a complete framework for the song. Then comes the part I most enjoy: layering instruments. This will include drum programming, adding bass, guitars, pianos and other core instruments and, if needed, full string arrangements and more. After creating an initial mix I'll send this for review and see what changes are needed. Revisions are then made, and everything is packaged up for final delivery, including mastered lossless audio files and individual audio stems.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work in a beautiful converted coachhouse in the countryside just outside Oxford. I work in Logic Pro X using a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 audio interface and PreSonus E3.5 speakers. My guitars include a Takamine G Series acoustic and a James Tyler Variax modelling guitar. For virtual instruments I use an Alesis v49 keyboard, and use a weighted midi keyboard for piano work. In addition to live instruments, I specialise in virtual orchestral instruments and choirs utilising the EastWest Composer Cloud suite. My pride and joy is my Kala U-Bass which has featured on innumerable recordings and has a distinctive warm sound, somewhere between a double bass and an electric bass.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of my work is song production, i.e. taking a rough idea or demo and developing it into a fully-fledged production ready for release and distribution. I work in a huge range of genres, with a significant percentage in the gospel, spiritual or Christian genres.