Specializing in alternative rock, post-hardcore, pop rock, pop punk, punk rock, indie rock, emo, alt-pop.
I'm a certified Pro Tools Expert with 7 years of professional experience in audio production and have a Bachelor of Arts in Music. I offer full-song productions, recording, mixing and mastering services. Recording sessions are offered at my private studio in Nashville, TN. Every song I mix includes mastering as well.
As a musician, I'm a multi-instrumentalist and play guitar, bass, keyboards at a professional level. I have advanced drum programming skills, as well as being a singer/songwriter and vocal producer.
Let's talk! Contact me for any questions you may have. I can't wait to hear about your project!
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Interview with Raphael Sepulveda
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Full song productions! This includes recording, editing, mixing and mastering. Most of my clients are solo artists who sing or play an instrument and have a need to partner up with a genre-centric producer who has the skill-set to advance them from where they are all the way to the end, hitting all the points to a final outcome. Some of them have lyrics already written, some prefer a co-writing situation. Wherever they may be, I facilitate the process of obtaining a radio-ready product!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Just need an 1176 and a 3A!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The rewarding experience whenever you're working on a project you really like and the client is enjoying every step of the process. The synergy that is created is like nothing else.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Have you worked on any other projects before? What are your influences? What sound are you after? Can you provide references of what you imagine your songs to be like? Have you recorded any demos? Do you have a deadline for the project you're looking to do?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I cannot fix everything! Sometimes people come to me with recordings they've done in their bedroom or a less than perfect situation and I, unfortunately, have to decline to work on the project. I am more than happy to provide consultation to help clients that record themselves to achieve better recordings and acoustically treat their space.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My musical influences are (in no particular order): The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Bring Me The Horizon, Saosin, Chiodos, Circa Survive, Blink 182, Paramore, Hawthorne Heights, Pierce The Veil, Owl City, Lights, Taking Back Sunday, Billy Talent, 30 Seconds to Mars, Billy Talent, HIM, The Fall of Troy, From First to Last, Bring Me The Horizon, Metro Station, Bloc Party, The Pillows, Man Overboard, The Mars Volta, Modjo, Motion City Soundtrack, The Veronicas, Zedd, Skrillex, Interpol.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Aggressive and modern. Vocals slammed front and center. Larger than life drums. Exploding choruses. Cinematic bridges. Heavy breakdowns. Songs with replay value.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! I believe in embracing all of the technology available in the process of making a record. I have a love for analog gear (unfortunately the expensive kind) but coming up in a world dominated by Pro Tools I've spent my entire career trying out every piece of equipment and comparing it to its digital counterpart to see which one fits my workflow better. The analog gear usually gets me 'there' faster, but sometimes the plugins get ridiculously close to the hardware, to the point of questioning if it makes sense to hold on to the outboard. A recent example of this was the SSL G Comp MKII 500 series Bus compressor, which I used to have permanently inserted on my 2-bus chain, vs the UAD SSL G Comp (the latest version with the HPF). After running some tests I decided I was satisfied with the sound of the UAD plugin and sold the hardware. Sure, it wasn't exactly the same, but it was very close—close enough for me. Then again, I do have a hardware clone of the same compressor which is more aggressive and saturates very nicely, so I decided to keep that for the drum bus!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I specialize in Alternative rock, pop rock, pop punk, punk rock, post-hardcore, indie rock, emo, and alt-pop If it's in half-time, I'm into it. I have a background in hip hop and r&b from my time working at commercial studios in NYC. I also love top-40 pop music ala Katy Perry, Britney Spears or pretty much anything produced by Max Martin). I've done it in the past, guitar-centric pop tunes, but not so much for it to stand out in my portfolio. Wished I did more of that though, so if anybody out there is reading this and thinking "man, that's what I want", you know what to do!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Try to get to the point in which you're committing much of your processing during the recording process. I'd admit it took me years to have the confidence to record a vocal with 20+db of compression on the way in, but once you start committing you'll notice everything is so much easier to work with during the mixing process and closer to the final product. This makes clients happy, and if the client is happy, you're happy! If you're not happy, then get it right!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on getting you to do a record with me!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Research the hell out of the producer you're thinking about hiring. Google them and listen to everything that shows up. Find their website, Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Get on the phone with them and make sure it's the right vibe. If you're not sure, ask more questions! No good producer is cheap, so chances are you're about to make a big investment in your career. It's imperative that you make sure that the person you're working with is on the same page. If everything checks out and you feel good about it, give it a shot! Start with one song and see if you're expectations are met. I promise you it's smooth sailing from there!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: "Did you play all those instruments?" A: Yes I did! Q: "Wait, those are not real drums?" A: No, I played those on a MIDI controller and programmed the nuances. Real drums, is an additional charge. Q: "Can you sing as well?" A: Yes! I can also sing bgvs for your songs if you're into that. Q: "How long does it take to do a song from scratch?" A: It varies depending on the amount of work but I average 4 to 5 days per song from nothing to final master. Q: "Ok, so how long does it take for a mix and master?" A: Usually 3 days. Prep day, mix day and revision day. These days may not be consecutive. Really depends on my schedule and your deadline!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Foresight. Just play me a chord progression, or 2 seconds of a melody, or a riff on a guitar and I can already put together in mind how that idea could develop into a fully fleshed out song. I can imagine the instruments that would go in there. I can hear the harmonies, the production ideas, and the mix style. I tell my clients all the time, we can create so much from the smallest idea.