With over 15 years industry experience, and millions of streams, I have produced tracks for Universal Music Group & Iamsound Records. Currently based in Calabasas, CA. Formally part of RedOne's team. I specialize in left-leaning indie pop & alternative hip hop.
"Though a dark heart beats below the surface, Daniel James Smith's debut LP, It's Not About the Witches, glimmers with hope and comfort. As T.O.L.D., the Los Angeles-based Brit imbues many of the tracks with the levity of steel drums to lend a tropical vibe, while employing a gospel choir to elevate the mood. If Bastille and Kygo got together to write an '80s new wave tribute album, Witches would be it. Produced by Smith, Tom Biller (Kanye West, Eels), Biggi Veira (of Gusgus), and Cameron Parkins, Witches is polished yet heartfelt, veiled in an aura of mystery."
-Full Instrumental Production
-Mixing & Mastering
-Vocal Tuning & Comping
-Guitar & Keyboard Production
-Orchestral & Choral Production
-EP & Album Production
-EP & Album Development
I have extensive experience in Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Bedroom Pop, Hip Hop, Dance, Pop, Classical, & will bring a vibrant energy to all projects.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
8 Reviews - 1 Repeat ClientEndorse The Order of Life & Death
Daniel was beyond.. I knew he would.. but the instincts him and his partner Krystall had were on point.. brought the vision to life even more and stacked their vocals to create a choir effect.. so beautiful and was so happy to have them a part of it.. it made the song what it was.
I was so happy that I chose to work with this very talented producer I have to say that I am very pleased The work that he has done to my song was awesome thank you Daniel .
Working with Daniel was above our expectations. It was our first time using SoundBetter and the collaboration went so smoothly with him. Communication was five-star. He is very talented, attentive and professional. We sure will work together again!
A quote from Sarah text “How talented is this chap, I genuinely cannot thank you enough, my dad is elated.
The Order Of Life & Death
Working Daniel was very pleasant, nothing was too much trouble.
Got the Job done.
What else can you say.
A complete professional with the ability and cool, slick style to match. I was nothing but completely satisfied, and I cannot wait to work with him again.
Excellent to work with . Responded very quickly and was always open to my ideas and how I wanted it to sound . Will definitely be working with again !!
I'm really satisfied with the work and I'd surely recommend to work with him - a patient, professional person who will give your song just the right vibe!
Interview with The Order of Life & Death
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I recently collabarated with Lil B on a song. I made this beat one night and freestyled some vocals, using the first take of everything. I was playing with a new keyboard, a DX7 so it had a super retro vibe. I made three tracks that night so I kind of forgot about it. A few weeks later I listened and it made me feel really excited, but it was missing something. The song was called 'that's not enough' and it wanted to be better. I sent it off to Lil B and he wrote a verse, sent it back. It was perfect!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on 3 different albums right now. One indie pop record, one hip hop album, and one alt-country record which is completely new for me!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I love a mixture of both. Digital allows total freedom of expression, but Analogue forces you to engage the natural world. Analoge almost always brings life into a digital mix. It's yin & yang baby!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to make you a product that lifts your spirits and inspires you to keep making more.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like building worlds. One of my favourite things to do after I finish a song is to lay down with headphones and close my eyes. I enter the world of the song. It's such a trippy feeling, that this world didn't exist before and now it does.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How did you know what I was thinking? Because I had the same thought.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's hard. It's the most fun thing, and when I'm doing it right, the most natural and easy. That's why I started doing it in the first place! It just feels good.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What songs are you playing right now? What are your three fav artists of all time? Can you think of a song that improves your mood just by listening to it?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't be afraid to follow your intuition, that's where the magic is. The goal is to bring the 'youness' out of you and put it in the song.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1. An acoustic guitar 2. A laptop with my fav synths and plugins 3. A solar power generator 4. A Shure SM7B Microphone with XLR cable 5. A UAD Audio Interface
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started releasing music at the age of 14. By the age of 19 I signed to Universal Music Group, one of the largest record deals of the year. After 5 years I decided that the major label dynamic wasn't working for me. It was set up to make them far more money than it made me, and I was doing all the work. I moved to Los Angeles and signed with an indie label. I have always produced and written music at the same time. I guess I was an early adopter of modern music technology.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Dark experimental pop.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with somebody like Travis Scott, somebody who could jump on the track and instantly approach it with a playful spirit, not be afraid to freestyle from the top of their head.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If it makes you self-conscious, it will probably make other people feel like you're directly speaking to them. Vulnerability is a super power.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work in left-leaning pop music, something grounded with great hooks, whilst pushing the boundaries. Also bedroom-pop, dark wave, and chill dance music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is building songs. I play a little bit of everything, but my specialty is guitars, bass & synths. If I was in a comic book, I would say my superpower is creating immersive worlds of sound, or vibe-creation.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Every song is different, but I like to bring a sense of wonder and adventure, I always want the experience of listening to a song to be a mood lifter. You enter the experience in one state of mind and by the time it's over you feel better, clearer, happier. I have a bunch of techniques I use to achieve this but it's mostly just playing around, having fun, and being adventurous.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I tend to work at night time, and have to get the vibe right before starting. I'm a bit proponent of vibe, and believe that how you feel at the time will be directly transferred into the song you are making. I have a bunch of tools to help create vibe but the two big ones right now are trail running and meditation.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a full studio set up here on a ranch. We use UAD interfaces and a wide range of microphones. I mix mostly in the box but love playing with our wide selection of analogue synthesisers, guitars, basses and drum machines. We recently brought in a full drum kit too. I mix on Genelec monitors.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I like the approach of people like Kevin Parker from Tame Impala, and Damon Albarn from The Gorillaz/ Blur. People who aren't afraid to do everything, writing and playing all the parts themselves to make sure the project is exactly how they hear it in their head, also leaving room for play and experimentation.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Full song production is where I really shine, either taking your idea to the finish line or coming up with something completely new, and building it into something fresh, vibrant, and exciting.