Drummer & Mix/Rec/Engineer
Kingston Ontario, Canada. Started playing drums at age 4, performing live at 11. Began recording at 13, first professional contract at 19. 4 track cassette, to 8 track reel to reel, then 16 track to digital etc. 35 years experience. etc
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Interview with George Witham
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One that comes to mind is a project I worked on that was 12 songs for a band that had recorded everything in a bedroom including the drums. My job was to mix the songs and try to take the room out of the mix. I'm proud of it because the end result was great. I was really happy that I was able to help them and they were excited too.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm remixing a pile of songs for an old fellow musician pal of mine. Great songs too!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That they will love my work or at the very least like it. I'm being honest. You can't score 100 every time when collaborating but you can give 100% and try.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Usually what their expectations are? Do they have a specific sound or playing style in mind? Are they open to suggestions? Turn around time? Recording format, Stems, 2-mix...etc
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing in band when I was 11 years old and recording when I was 13. When I was in my early twenties I worked at a Radio and TV station, running the recording studio and doing all their music and production work. Plus I was their tech as well. I did this for 22 years.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Use level automation before adding plugin compression. Level automation is the most natural dynamic control there is in production. IMHO
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Pop, Blues, Acoustic, Instrumental
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The end results and the learning something new everyday gift.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: The ability to be grateful and remember that I'm always learning.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I always try to be original and different where possible. I like to experiment and try new things, without loosing the feel and meaning of the song.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I kind of work by process of elimination if you will. I listen take notes, then I do a few passes and listen back to what I did. Noting what worked then discarding the rest. l sometimes end up with two or three versions and play these for the client. For drum playing I tend play off the other instruments and voice without subtracting from the feel and groove of the song. The song tells you what it needs most of the time but not always. I try to be as tasteful a player a possible by thinking what best compliments the song.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is mainly my drum and mix room. Not large but effective. DAW: Nuendo 7, Converters: Lynx Aurora 16, Fostex 1/2" 16 track with dolby S. Pre Amps: Gordon Model 5, Great River, API, Seven Circle Audio. Compressors: UA 1176LN, API 2500, Crane Song STC8, DBX 160x, Pendulum Audio OCL 500, Petes Place 500. Mics: 2X Royer 121, 2X Shure KSM 32, 4X SM 57, 4X Sennheiser 421, 4X AKG D-112. 2X Crown PZM, Peluseo 2247-LE. Mogami cabling.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Oh there are so many greats, but off the top of my head: The Beatles and George Martin, Frank Zappa for both music and production. Al Schmitt, Yes, Pink Floyd,10cc, Rush, Various Classical and Jazz artists and albums etc..
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: For my clients I mainly do drum tracks, record and or mix their songs for them. Sometimes I get asked to play live too which I love.