Matt McFarland (aka Athair)
Session drummer, Producer
Greetings! My name is Matt McFarland. I am a session musician/educator/music producer from the Toronto Area. I have been working professionally for 17 years in live and studio situations. My self-produced album "Late Bloomer" is set to drop in the fall of 2016. Its different...
Toronto Father, MC, Session Drummer, Music Producer.
Lover of Hip-hop music and brass instruments in any musical context. Ear worm for lyricists.
Smoker of Cuban cigars.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
Interview with Matt McFarland (aka Athair)
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: "Late Bloomer." Its me. All me. The drummer gets to step out from behind the drumset and take the mic and the piano and the synth and the...you get the idea.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Fishing up my upcoming album "Late Bloomer" and writing instrumentals for "What News of The North" a mixtape to be released in 2017.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Rayne Supreme. They're wonderfully awesome. Work with them.... Trust me.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: A little of both. Nothing sounds like Analog, but digital is really user friendly and cost effective.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise you'll be surprised by what we create.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Making music. Interacting with people. Being creative. Doing the touchdown dance when a lyric sits just right.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: Whom have you worked with? A: Many Indie Acts in the Toronto Area. Countless sub-gigs with original and tribute bands. Musicians....I've worked with many musicians.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Drummers are not musicians. They don't read and have little concept of melody, song structure, lyricism and production.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you looking for musically? (Use adjectives and nouns). Can I hear some comparables? (Genre's, artists, specific songs). What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Are you okay working out of your comfort zone?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I'm not the only game in town so feel free to look around. I'm honest. Make sure you know what you want before you hire the wrong producer.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: MacBook Pro Arturia Beat Step Coffee Bean Grinder/Beans Universal Audio Apollo Twin Shure SM58 Mic. Its all purpose.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Ontario College of Percussion graduate. 17 years of live and session percussion. 17 years of percussion education. Published Method Book Author. 10 years of songwriting in rock and hip-hop situations. I spent time touring North America in Indie Bands.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Rooted in groove. Funk. Orchestrated feel. Synth's and strings and syncopation.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Eminem. Because he's Eminem. ... Get Tracy Chapman on a hook. WOW.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: There is no such thing as a bad idea. Try everything. The worst a client can say is no to an idea. The nuance you fail to try could be the breakthrough in a song idea.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Hip-hop, pop, rock.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm a doer. I set a deadline and stick to it. Consistently of a student mindset. Consistently polishing my craft.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Steve Gadd, Kenny Aronoff, Carter Beauford, Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, Pharrell, Rick Rubin, Eminem.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: 17 years of live and session experience. Years of songwriting experience in hip-hop and rock settings. Experimenter. Unafraid to try something different. Unafraid of dissonance.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: As 9-5 as possible. Everything from scratch. Instrumentals, drum tracks, vocals et al. Constantly tinkering with instrumentals.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Very simple. MIDI keyboard, MIDI controller, MacBook Pro, Electronic drumset, vocal mic and interface.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Session and live drums. Music production, primarily hip-hop. Music education in a private setting.