Nick Jolly on SoundBetter
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Interview with Nick Jolly
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Apart from the usual deadline and budget questions my main question is: What do you want the horn line(s) to add to the track? Are they subtle and just there to add colour or are they an 'in your face', stand out feature?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you have an idea of what you would like, if possible, have some examples of songs which demonstrate it - it helps us to get a feel for what you want. Also, have a look at instrument ranges and characteristics before sending a guide track - session players are great at what they do but some things just aren't possible.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing professionally after I left university. My first professional gig was with Rick Guard at the 235 Casino in Manchester, UK. I have worked on around 15 different musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar, The Producers. Annie and the London Premiere of Frankenstein - A New Musical. In between shows I spent a lot of time playing with big bands in and arond London and worked on a short contract with a circus in France. I played on my first recording session early in 2012 (No Illusions, No Cheap Tricks - The Lines) which was Kerrang Radio's Single of the Week in April that year. Shortly afterwards, I completed a contract as Lead Trumpet on the Saga Sapphire. After I returned from working on cruise ships I resumed playing with big bands and starting spending more time recording. Since then I have recorded on over 20 tracks for artists as far away as New Zealand, China and the USA and performed live with various other upcoming artists including single/album launches and tours.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: In 2012 I recorded the trumpet parts for 'No Illusions, No Cheap Tricks' by The Lines. It was my first major recording session and the song became Kerrang Radio's Single of the Week in April that year.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If you can afford that extra dollar, pound or euro then do. It's better to pay a bit extra upfront than having to spend more in the long run getting work redone or buying new equipment.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I mostly work on rock and pop music in the studio but I have been known to do folk and indie as well. On stage, it tends to be big band/swing music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Composing and arranging brass and string parts. Although my degree is in Performance, I actually majored in composition which has helped me develop an understanding of how instruments work together.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I start by discussing what is needed with the artist/producer. If they already have a trumpet guide track I will transcribe it and record it straight away. If the artist/producer needs me to write the trumpet lines I will listen to the track a few times and jot some ideas down. When I am happy that I have what I think the artist/producer is looking for I will create a MIDI trumpet track for them to listen to. If they are happy with what I have written I then record the real thing and send it over.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Being a trumpet player, I am regularly called on to record riffs for pop or rock songs - often with my horn section (The In-House Horns). I do a large amount of live perfomance - again, with IHH - but I also spend a lot of time playing in Big Bands and Pit Orchestras.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: In November I completed some work for Olly Flavell’s latest EP which was released digitally on Christmas Day. I will be appearing live with him in February so that is my current focus - adapting the recorded parts for performance on stage.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: As an online session musician I prefer to use digital as it easier to send files around the world but I do like the sound of an analog recording.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: It's cliche but I promise guaranteed satisfaction whether that means a few revisions or your money back.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the variety of different genres I get to work in and the people I get to work with. I have been able to work for bands and artists all over the world without leaving my own house - there's not many jobs which allow you to do that!
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Style... Colour... That little added something!