What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That I don't actually write, produce, play guitar, keys, bass, drums, sing, mix, and master in all the styles that I do with the level of skill that I have. I started working in music before I was old enough to drive, and it's really all I've ever had an interest in, so hopefully I developed some skills after this amount of time :)
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
"What is your specialty/favorite music to work on?"
Many of them! If I liked one style the best, I would probably only be a recording artist/performer. It's because I like working on so many different styles that I produce, play, mix and master–all the jobs are fun for different reasons and it keeps things interesting!
What do you like most about your job?
Being creative, making dreams come true, making people happy.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Be realistic and as professional as possible. Give as much direction with as much clarity as you can. Have references available for similar things you like. If you don't know what you want, listen to more music until you have some idea. Don't get super stuck on small details, take the advice of the person you hire–that's why you hired them!
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
If we're talking production gear, that'd be: mbpro laptop, nice controller, my custom guitar, p bass, and NOS audio u47.
If it's mixing/mastering: Neve Master Buss Processor, Dramastic Audio Obsidian, Manley Massive Passive, Serpent Audio SB4001, and Apogee Symphony–the stuff I use everyday lol
Can you share one music production tip?
Red means stop! Haha the most common problem I see in beginner productions is pushing fader levels up far beyond where they need to be. In digital recording, you can have each track meter not hit above -10db for optimal results and add volume where needed at the master buss–no need to go near the red. Also don't automate any volume levels on the faders.
Another important thing to remember: you can't turn something up without turning something else down. For example, if you turn up a snare sound in a song, this will start to compete with a vocal in the same frequency range. You turn up the bass, the kick will be quieter. A mix is a compromise of elements to achieve a balance.
Lastly, be yourself! Find out what is unique about you and cultivate that in the style of music you love–don't chase trends!
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I just finished the first EP for my new dirty disco act, Flower and the Snake, available everywhere for purchase and streaming. It's the personal project in a while, and the music is great! I'm very proud of all aspects of the recording–I wrote and played all the music, sang backups, mixed and mastered it with my partner Megan who sang lead and wrote the lyrics.
What are you working on at the moment?
Indie rock/electronic albums with a NYC female artist, pop dance stuff with a Boston artist, singer songwriter folk artist from West Africa, Film/TV stuff, Hip Hop and Country artists in Los Angeles, you name it!
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
My partner Megan is a great singer/songwriter who will have a profile up soon–I've been recommending her for jobs–I record and help with whatever is needed.
Analog or digital and why?
Both are absolutely necessary–there are things plugins can't do and vice versa.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
That I won't stop until they love the result!
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I love to get references for what the client wants. If the vocal is already written, I love to get a scratch vocal recorded in time to a (not audible) click–anyone can do this with a laptop. An instrumental is great too if I'm doing something similar. Having the BPMs for a track is key. Obviously, if we're starting from scratch or one of my tracks these do not apply.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started playing professionally at age 13. I started playing drums at 10, guitar at 12, and by 13 I was making money touring with a rock act (guys in their 20s who could drive lol). I went to music school on scholarship and won awards for performance and composition, moved with my band to Chicago, got signed, toured internationally playing guitar and bass, landed some billboard #1 dance tracks, moved to Los Angeles, and am now going between Nashville and LA producing, engineering, and performing with my band Flower and the Snake.
How would you describe your style?
Grit and edge with pop sensibility
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Any artist that is passionate, determined, and understands the value of great production work.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work daily on electronic, rock, country, pop, funk, soul, urban, and folk music in popular and underground styles.
What's your strongest skill?
My strongest skill is my collection of skills all honed to bring any project at any stage to completion. I can start at the ground level, only do mastering touches, or anywhere in-between to make a song the best it can be. I'm an excellent communicator–I've been a professional singer, performer, engineer, musician, and producer so I understand the psychology, language, and skill set of each position on a project and can wear any one of those hats.
Beyond the technical work, my greatest is ability is being able to figure out what is special about an artist or song and bring that to the forefront, i.e. "mine the gold."
What do you bring to a song?
I bring an open mind, creative ideas, and a desire to serve the song and artist, not my ego. My highest goal is to make a client/artist happy with the end result. I bring as much or as little as a song needs–if the mix is 90% there and the song only needs vocal tuning, a bit of balancing/eq, and mastering touches, that's what I do! If the song is great but what the artist wrote for the bridge is weak, I'll work with them until that part is as strong as the rest.
If an artist brings me nothing but a melodic sketch, I will work from the ground up with drums/percussion/rhythm section parts, bass, keys/guitar/other instruments, help on vocal writing/lyrics, editing, recording/adding elements, then take it step by step through each phase until there is a commercial quality master recording the artist and I are proud of.
What's your typical work process?
I first consult with the artist/client, often asking for reference tracks or songs, until I have a clear picture of what they want. I start working and send drafts for feedback, incorporate their ideas until they are thrilled with the result, and send them the files!
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work out of commercial facilities in Los Angeles and Nashville, and I have an amazing home setup including Apogee Symphony i/o 16x16, amazing outboard gear: Manley Massive Passive tube equalizer, Neve Master Buss Processor, Dramastic Audio Obsidian compressor, Serpent Audio Sb4001 compressor, Chameleon labs modified 7720 compressor, Sonic Farm Creamer Plus stereo tube preamp and line driver, BAE 312a preamp, Midas preamps, and more.
For mics, I have one-of-a-kind handmade U47 and C12 style tube mics from NOS audio, Shure SM7 and Beta 87a, Studio Electronics SE5000 tube mic, NOS audio Panther ribbon mic, and others...
I have all the best plugins including many before they are released to the public by Slate, Kush,
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Anyone who is in it for the right reasons–no matter what style or genre–if someone is grinding because they love the music, that inspires me.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I mostly do full production (tracks, beats, instruments), mixing and mastering–a complete song start to finish, but I do lots of anywhere-in-between jobs. Sometimes mixing and mastering, sometimes adding a few instruments, editing, tuning vocals, mixing and mastering.
I also have written a lot so can help with lyrics and melody writing. I have so much experience in every area I really can do it all!