Producer, Mixer, Engineer
Award winning engineer and record producer based in NYC, working in the greater NYC area, New Jersey and Westchester.
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Interview with gaBe
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Overdubs phase of an album with The Normal Living, an indie-rock band from NJ. Mixing it next month.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Because you can't beat the practicality of the digital workflow and editing capabilities, but there is definitely a character in the analogue domain that you can't get digitally. My whole setup and workflow, whenever possible, is a hybrid one, with Pro Tools and my favorite plugins, plus a handful of my favorite hardware (LA-2As, 1176s, Distressors, API 560s and 550s and Dakings), with analogue summing in a console if available.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I care about the concept. I try my best to understand where your music comes from and where you want to take it, and will then give my inputs to help get it there or even show you other places where I think it could get. I'm not the type of producer/engineer who thinks their sole job is to put microphones up, setup a recording gear and get the "best" possible sound.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to make cool music sound even cooler.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Fixing it in the mix. People sometimes think mixing is more than it really is. Of course it's a powerful and transformative stage of production, but you should try to focus on getting what you want from the very earlier stages, since pre production, and specially tracking.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you have demos? What genre of music do you listen to and are influenced by? How many shows have the band played in the last 6 months?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be prepared. Rehearsed, with well finished arrangement compositions, have a well laid plan. Studio time and studio professionals time is valuable and expensive. The more you can be prepared ahead of time, the more efficiently you'll spend your resources, be they financial or creative. Of course, when I'm hired in the pre-production phase of projects, that becomes part of my responsibilities as well.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Neumman U67 microphone Neve 31099 Preamp LA-2A compressor API 560 EQ And I guess now I'm stuck with having to use a digital multitrack recorder or all the rest is render useless, right? So a Tascam DP-24SD.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been working in the music and audio production industry for the past 8 years. I've started as F.O.H. and Monitor engineer in Brazil, where I had the chance to work for several national and international acts. I switched my main focus to the studio side of production around 2012 and moved to the U.S. where I got the position of Chief Recording Engineer at Water Music Recorders, a world renowned state-of-the art multi room facility in Hoboken, NJ. There I had the opportunity to work with several A-list, Grammy winning artists, producers and engineers. Since December 2015 I have started producing and engineering records on my own, in several studios around the greater NYC area and at my own mixing space.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I aim to achieve elements of uniqueness in every project I work on. I'm a sucker for traditional recording methods, using hardware gear, large format recording consoles, recording to tape (even though nowadays I mostly record to Pro Tools because of budgets and client convenience), but I'm always looking for a way to pervert some of the traditional uses of those elements to create a unique sound or texture for my clients projects.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: One artist I'd like to work with is Jack White. I like the way he combines going back to traditional methods and pushing the limits of music production at the same time. My own style of working is somewhat based on this philosophy.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Whenever possible and genre appropriate, track live band performances in the studio, instead of the one by one instrument approach. Even if t the end of the day only drums and bass are kept from those takes, or even just drums, that will help the resulting feel of the song to be more alive and organic.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I worked as Chief Recording Engineer at a world class Recording Studio in the NYC area for a couple years, so my work expands really through all genres. I've recorded orchestral scores for movies, jazz big bands (30+ pieces), teen pop-stars, hard rock bands, indie rock. As an independent record producer and engineer, I still try to branch as wide as I can, since I enjoy all kinds of music really, but I could say the type of music I've been working mostly on is indie rock.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is the combination of musicality with technical skills. Being a musician and multi-instrumentalist, and a professional audio engineer for almost a decade, I listen to the songs in both their musical and sonic aspects, and can relate one to the other in a cohesive way. Being a music lover all my life, I can get really involved in the projects I wok on, and commit to make that music sound the best it can.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring several things to a song or project. My main concern and goal is always to help a band find and achieve a defined concept and character. That can be confined to sonic elements and textures sometimes, but other times can be related to musical parts, arrangements and instrumentation. I bring to the table the experience, knowledge and skills to get a band to sound unique at the same time as sounding professional industry level.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: If producing a band I start the process with pre-production meetings, usually at band rehearsals. With that I can get familiar with the band and the songs, plan for the most effective recording strategy and work with the bands in arrangement, parts and repertoire when necessary. For recording, my ideal working process is blocking a few days for basics tracking (usually around 4 days in a row of the band in the studio - and most importantly, playing altogether as a band - I avoid at all costs the one instrument at a time approach unless it's the only way for that specific style). Then, after a few days break, another block of days for overdubbing (usually 3 to 5 days depending on the project) - vocals, harmonies, percussion, guitars parts. The last step, sometimes the only one I'll do, is mixing. My process is different if the band is present or not for one reason: STEMS. If working on an analogue console, with outboard gear, you got to print them, no way around it. So if working in a facility like that, with the band present, I'll spend some time mixing, present it to the band, tweak after comments, and after we agree on the mix it's time for the band to go out play ball, eat, get a beer (next hour is just printing STEMS, boring but necessary). That means that usually a 3 to 5 day block is required for mixing an album in this environment. If mixing at my own space doing remote, all my outboard hardware gets printed to the session, so recall is automatic and the schedule and mix changes can be more flexible.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: For tracking I use mainly two rooms, depending on what the project is: One is a very spacious live room with vintage microphones (Neumann 87s 67s 47s 84s 56s etc. plus all the common microphones you'd find in studios), a 48ch Neve 8088, several pieces of vintage outboard gear (LA-2As, 1176s, LA-3As, Pulltecs, APIs), 32ch of Pro Tools HD, Genelec 1030a and Yamaha NS-10s monitoring. The other is a little more compact but great sounding room with more modern microphones (Peluso, Bock, Mojave etc), a 24ch SSL AWS 900, 12ch of API preamps, and a great collection of modern outboard gear. Dynaudio BM15A and Yamaha NS-10 monitoring. For mixing I use both rooms if the band wants to be present. For remote mixing I use my own mixing studio witch is a hybrid space with Pro Tools, several of the most relevant plugins (Slate, Sound Toys, Waves etc.), hand selected and personally built outboard gear (FET compressors, analogue EQs, Summing Box), and Tannoy Reveal 601a and Sennheiser HD600 monitoring.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm a big fan of bands and producers who pushed the envelope of studio creation possibilities: guys like Geoff Emerick, George Martin and The Beatles; Alan Parsons and Pink Floyd; Brian Eno. More recent examples include John Congleton and Dave Fridmann.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I work as recording and mixing engineer for clients of several musical genres and industry levels. From jazz big bands to singer songwriter, indie rock bands to pop music hits.