I'm a songwriter and artist first, and I learned how to produce and mix to survive. I love helping musicians find their authentic voice and sound through the creative process together. I love being prolific, finishing songs, and getting art out into the world.
I have an affinity for the real...real instruments, real sounds, the real you. This doesn't mean we don't use autotune, quantize drums, or use samples when we want to. It simply means I like music that breathes, music that sounds like it was done in a real room. This is easier said than done these days when pristine samples and sound bundles line our newsfeeds. In my case, limitations help.
I have a nice, tight studio with just enough inputs and mics to make the records I want to make. Good conversion, good preamps, good plugins, and good gear. Most importantly though, I'm a songwriter and artist first. I learned how to produce and mix to survive and keep being prolific. I love helping musicians find their authentic voice and sound through the creative process together. I love finishing songs, and getting art out into the world.
Feel free to reach out for full production, mixing, and even mastering. I love folk, rock, and all things indie. Hope to chat with you! - Kevin
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8 ReviewsEndorse Kevin Embleton
Kevin hired me as a session drummer for a project he was producing and I can’t say enough good things about my experience. He has a unique ability at navigating musicians when they’re tracking parts while still allowing them to contribute their own ideas and individual sound. Also, in post-production, Kevin not only made my drum parts sound stylistically perfect for the project, he added an atmosphere of sound that took the song to a whole new level. As a multi-instrumentalist, Embleton contributes a sensibility to his projects that’s extremely rare. Would highly recommend him to anyone.
Kevin is the most talented musician I know. He can do it all, and most importantly he knows how to write, structure and support the SONG. His understanding of music and emotion is invaluable, and hiring him will be the best decision for collaboration on your project.
Listen to any song Kevin Embleton has touched and you'll immediately hear the difference he makes. Whether he's producing, mixing, or mastering a song -- it always exceeds my expectations. Even now, when I've come to expect great results, I'm still impressed with what he comes up with. He does what he says he'll do, meets every deadline, and is always professional. Oh, and he's also one of the most talented songwriters, memorable vocalists, and proficient guitarists I've ever worked with. Just listen and you'll know.
Kevin possesses a unique quality of presence that inspires creativity and draws out the best in the artists he works with. He listens well to the vision of his clients and helps cultivate their imagination for the final expression of their song. Because he is a song writer and artist himself, he knows how important a song is to its author. He is also a talented multi-instrumentalist and meticulous engineer. My am so proud of the record we made together and have Kevin to thank for that. I highly recommend him.
Kevin is one of the most talented songwriters I’ve ever met. He’s very punctual, cordial, talented, and inspired. Hire Kevin as soon as possible.
I simply can’t say enough nice things about Kevin’s talents as a producer and a musician. Kevin has the gift. He uses it with his own music. He’ll bring that considerable talent to bear on your own work. He immerses himself in your project, and then elevates it to another realm. He is that good. He took a random assortment of songs I’d written during the pandemic and turned them into something real and incredibly easy and enjoyable to listen to. He makes music he touches unique and compelling. His ability to mix, play and produce with someone else’s musical vision is truly awe-inspiring.
I just worked with Kevin to produce my first single, and I can’t speak highly enough. Kevin brings the best sound out of you without changing your style. Whether it’s your first project or your a season veteran Kevin will help to make you a great record. Kevin is super patient, efficient, and diligent. Kevin does a great job of championing your gifts and talents, giving great advice along the way. Not only will you get a great sounding record, Kevin wants to help you do your best to share a story with your listeners. I highly recommend all my fellow musicians to work with Kevin.
I recently worked with Kevin as a recording engineer and producer on a song that was tremendously important to me. Kevin has so many strengths but the main one to call out is that he truly serves the artist and the song and provides a super safe space to create. As a producer, Kevin is incredible at adding emotion to a song playing multiples instruments in a way that greatly enhanced my initial demo. The final product greatly exceeded my own expectations for the song and I had a blast getting it done. I highly recommend working with Kevin. I will definitely be working with him again.
Interview with Kevin Embleton
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long is this going to take? Depends on when we can get you in the studio and how prepared you are! If I'm doing full production, I can usually turn something around within a week or 2. Mastering is a 3-4 day turnaround for singles. Mixing is usually a week turnaround for mix 1. After that it depends on how many revisions we do.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Check out the sample track on my profile. I just finished that mix for Before the Brave, and I'm excited about it!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Each project teaches me something new, whether it's about an instrument, plugin, mic or mixing technique, or songwriting style. This always boosts my confidence for the next project and gives me fresh ideas.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I can fix all poorly tracked material and mediocre performances ;)
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How can I help you accomplish your vision? What do you want the song to feel like when people listen? What music inspires you, and why?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask questions and I'll do the same! This will help us iron out expectations up front and make sure we are the right fit for working together. Some preproduction is crucial.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I often approach songs with a "first said, best said" attitude. Think Jack Kerouac's novel, On the Road. For me, it's more important to get caught up in the moment than to deconstruct every little thing about a song. You can always mute stuff later.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: RME Babyface, U-47, Acoustic Guitar, Rhodes piano, Macbook Pro :P
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Recently I've been traveling down to Nashville to do some writes and am making some progress on some of my own music I've been meaning to release for a long time! I'm also helping a great band called Before the Brave finish songs for an upcoming album (producing, mixing). I love alternating between seasons of working with clients and working on my own music. Both push me to become better!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Jacob Montague! As a producer and mixer he is meticulous. He understands the sync world very well, and knows how to make tracks sound incredibly clean and suitable for film/TV. He's an incredible multi-instrumentalist as well.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. I love analog gear, but it would be a mistake to not see the gift in all the available plugins, software instruments, and sample libraries. These things have helped make recording so much more efficient. That said, I'll always love the sound of a room, saturation from analog gear, and vintage synthesizers.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will not judge your song. I know what it's like to be vulnerable, write music, and offer it up to a busy, competitive, and heavily saturated world. I will do my best to approach your song with curiosity first and have a "yes, and" attitude throughout the creative process. I will ask questions to make sure you feel your heart is getting across in the music. By the time we're done, I hope you feel I'm as invested in its success as much as you are!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a small basement control room, and I run a long snake up to the attic when I need a live room for full drums or just need more space in general. I have an Apogee Ensemble (thunderbolt, 8 channel), which has exceptionally clean preamps and great conversion. I have one outboard preamp (Neve 511), which sounds great with everything and has plenty of head room. I have a handful of mics that I use all the time and really like (Mojave 301, M160 pair, Re20, plenty of 57s). Everything else is in the box (soundtoys bundle, fabfilter, melodyne, antares autotune pro, waves and izotope plugins, Arturia bundle, XLN keys, Circles Drum Samples and more!) I have plenty of instruments to work with: a Rhodes Mark 1 (1976), Fender Strat and Frankentele with boutique pickups, Blues Jr with some incredible BillM mods on it, Martin 000-18, 1970s Epiphone acoustic, Danelectro baritone, nylon string guitar, plenty of guitar pedals and a great midi controller.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, Damien Jurado, David Bazan, Daniel Romano, and Andy Shauf are a few I admire. I love watching artists who can create massive tracks on their own. I find it fascinating when artists and songwriters end up producing their own stuff out of necessity.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I produced my first album in garageband when I was 18, my freshman year of college. It was not very good, but somehow I managed to sell all 200 copies I ordered from discmakers within a few months. After that I was hooked. I started an indie rock band and kept growing my chops as a songwriter while also working on becoming a better producer with my own music. It took a while to be open to working with clients, mostly because I thought you had to know a lot about gear to produce. With some encouragement from friends I started my own studio 3 years ago and have been going strong since!
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I think working with Jose Gonzalez, Damien Jurado, or S. Carey would be so fun. I love their styles and how they use only a few instruments to create lush and beautiful sounds.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: A great producer named Vance Powell once said, "Make f*cking decisions." I think that's brilliant. The more decisions you make about a song and take in the moment, the less you'll have to go back and comb through 100 vocal takes after everyone goes home.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Folk, rock, and indie
Q: What's your strongest skill?
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I'm a songwriter and musician first, and I love getting a really solid grasp on the song before starting so I know it inside and out. That way when the artist says, "the chorus" or "bridge" I know exactly what they are referring to. I try to know the session, all the sounds, tracks, and intricacies better than the artist does so they don't feel like they have to keep tabs on anything. I pay special attention to vocals especially, because I want the singer to feel so confident with the song when they put it out into the world. The gear is just there to help us capture what's going on, and I prefer to capture the magic of the moment without letting the gear get in the way. That means I work quickly and efficiently on my end to keep the artist in a good flow. I like to break for snacks and walks when we hit walls! I'll always have coffee for you.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Depends on the needs of the client and project. I try to ask detailed questions up front so I'm positive I can exceed the artist's expectations. If it's a track where I build everything, I can usually turn those projects around within a day or two of starting. With mixes I like to kick mix 1 out pretty quickly so I can get the band's feedback before proceeding with mixes two, three, etc. This helps ensure we're all headed in the right direction. I prefer stems are cleaned up, tuned, and timed before I get them, unless that's part of the deal. Producing in person is fun because we can move quickly, but if we're working remotely I like to send frequent bounces throughout the process to make sure everyone is feeling good about how the track is going.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I tend to strike a balance between mixing songs, producing bands/artists, and doing full production work where I build an entire track for a vocalist to sing over.