Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I recently produced/engineered/mixed a few singles for the band Air Supply. It's been so cool working with music veterans who wrote songs that had a place on the soundtrack of my early youth. Such great guys with amazing work ethic.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Katie McGhie told me about SoundBetter. She is a co-writer and client of mine, and she is so great to work with. She is a great singer who always brings a positive vibe. I just hired her for a vocal a couple weeks ago and she totally killed it!
Analog or digital and why?
I think it all depends on the producer. I tried working on tape, and it was a nightmare for me. At any given moment, I may have 10-15 projects I'm working on. My workflow needs to be FAST to keep up. However, I have some outboard compressors that I will use 9 times out of 10 over a plugin, again, depending on the song and how much time I'm given to mix.
What do you like most about your job?
I LOVE exceeding clients' expectations, and hearing how excited they get when they hear a finished product. There's nothing quite like playing your song full blast in the car, and smiling ear to ear at how cool the track came out. I love that feeling for myself, and I love to give that to my clients!
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Q:How much to record a song?
A:Depends on the track, how well rehearsed it is, and the kind of production. I'll typically have an artist book one full day ($600) to do one song to get the hang of our process together. Sometimes the track requires additional time, and sometimes it's done early, and the artist ends up out the door with a mix and some extra money:)
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That if an artist is well rehearsed, they can get a production that sounds radio ready finished in a couple hours. Every production is different, and true, I have cut simple tracks in a couple hours, but those scenarios are the exception, not the rule:)
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What is the purpose of your project (want an album to sell on the road/always wanted something nice to show to family and friends/shopping 3 songs to label or management, etc)? What other artists do you get compared to? What albums/artists/songs are you really digging recently? Who are you as an artist, and what do you feel makes you different from other artists in your genre? What is your budget?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Chose a producer whose sound/vibe you like, and then trust them implicitly for one or 2 tracks before working on a whole record. It's really important to have creative trust in the people you are paying to bring your art to life, and sometimes it's easier to let go of preconceived notions about how the process "should" go if it's just for a song or 2 initially. I also find that really helps build communication, and makes everything else go more smoothly when you decide to work with that producer again for the rest of the project.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
If we're not counting things like a generator/computer/protools, I'd bring one of my Prism Converters, my Manley Ref Card mic, Universal Audio 6176, API 3124 pres, and my ADAM S3X-H monitors.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Started playing piano at age 5, started my first rock band, "Umbrella Sauce" when I was 12 (1992), moved to Utah and started a band in high school called "Strange itch". I spent the money I saved for college on a TERRIBLE recording, and decided I could do a better job myself. I started recording other local bands in 1999, quit my day job as the manager at a guitar store to produce full time in 2002. In 2005, my band, "Broke (City)" got signed to Maverick Records. We made an album, toured all over the US and Canada with bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, Deftones, Thrice, and The Used. I continued to produce for other artists while not on the road, and since the band quit touring after a couple years, have been keeping busy at my studio here in Salt Lake.
How would you describe your style?
Punchy and clean! I produce lots of different styles, but those are 2 sonic adjectives that seem to get thrown around from clients.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Beware of Darkness. They are an emerging rock band with a really fresh sound. They are super talented, and seem like they'd be a hoot to work with!
Can you share one music production tip?
Work on songs in bursts. After working on the same song for 2 days straight, things can get over-thought. A fresh ear after not having the song stuck in your head can help deal with blind spots:)
What type of music do you usually work on?
What's your strongest skill?
My strongest skill is being able to hear a song in it's most raw form, and then take it to where the artist feels excited and proud to call theirs.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring energy and vibe to a song.
What's your typical work process?
To me, the song is key. I'll go over the song with an artist, either with them playing it acoustic in the room, or from a demo they bring in. We make sure that all the pieces are there and make sense without any production at all. Once the song is there, with all the unnecessary "fat trimmed", I'll go over the artists musical influences, and start drawing some production ideas (without copying, of course:)). From there, I record a scratch vocal/guitar or vocal/piano, and start tracking dynamics, whether that means live drums, programmed drums, or a mix of the 2. After that, I'll typically put in other "simple rhythm" tracks such as guitars, bass, piano, strings, etc, and just let the song guide the rest of the production. I'll usually have the vocalist come in and track their part once the production feels about 80% of the way there. Then I'll comp and clean up the vocal performance as necessary, finish production, and start on a mix. I'll typically send the artist with a "Mix_01" to listen to for a few days, and then take a couple of rounds of mix notes as needed, and send the final mix to my mastering engineer in Portland (who charges $60/track). We have a great working relationship, and his turnaround time and product are fantastic.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have a large live room that makes drums SING! At the heart of my control room are 2 Prism Audio converters that I use to get audio in/out of my Mac/ProTools setup. The studio is stocked with lots of loud vintage tube amps from the 60's/70's, and a good selection of guitars/basses.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
The Beatles, Chris Lord Alge, The Avett Brothers, Rick Rubin, Howard Benson,
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Full production songs starting from the ground up, starting with arrangement, all the way through the mixing process.