Vitruvian Sound was built to provide a safe harbor for creatives of all stripes to work in a serious manner. This studio is a crossroads of technical resources and knowledge. It is a hub for artists to finalize their expressive output. It is a place where quality tools are not dismissed as unattainable luxuries, nor held in blind reverence, but
Owner Stephen Kurpis is a veteran of the Manhattan large facility recording scene who has recorded voice-over for Nickelodeon, audiobooks for Simon & Schuster, VR for The NY Times, and live streamed events for The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. As an engineer, he's recorded jazz, classical, hip-hop, folk, rock, and Broadway cast recordings; highlights being Philip Glass, Spin Media, and Audiomack. He's spent time as an educator and studio manager while continuing to build his freelance base. The studio has been designed to embrace the future of audio production in an increasingly fluid and dynamic creative environment without the sacrifice of quality.
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Interview with Stephen Kurpis
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Tracking, editing and mixing of music.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: T-Bone Burnett; Daniel Lanois; Tchad Blake
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I'm a firm believer in the pre-production process; it's extremely valuable communication that ensures the maximum quality for the minimum of hassle (thus ensuring repeat business). I ask the client for numerous commercial references that are directly linked to the project and then contribute my own; gauging their feedback and building further discussions. From there my focus in the earliest stages of the project is based upon creating meticulous organization schemes and ensure that all data is labeled and presented in a fashion that will facilitate faster workflow over the course of the project; or, if receiving data from elsewhere, I ensure that the data is of an appropriate standard of preparedness before beginning the work in proper. Creation of a specific session setup, if my heavily tweaked templates prove less than absolutely appropriate, with careful consideration placed at the beginning stages to the client's preferred deliverables (specifically in terms of alternate edits and stem mix material). Mixing proper with plenty of ear breaks to ensure the efficiency and quality of my work are then followed by a mild mastering job applied to the individual song to give the client context for the revision stages. Upon project being approved, all mixes, reference pseudo-masters, alternate edits, stems, etc. are prepared for final delivery to the client in a precisely labeled fashion; invoices of the project are also included to flesh out the client's records. A follow-up e-mail explaining all the deliverables, their location, their purpose, etc. is then provided to the client; this e-mail is also included as a Word/PDF document in the project delivery proper.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Organization and focus on the goals of the artist are the traits what I bring to every project.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: This is strongly linked to my interest in spatial audio (specifically the use of binaural 'head' microphones), but I pay an extreme attention to sonic image. I view a great recording as being a painting made of sound, visible even by the blind.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Primarily rock, folk, and jazz; some classical, hip-hop, and RnB.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: The art is in the editing
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My computer, my UAD card and licenses, my Genelecs. That's three choices, my other two will be reserved for ensuring I have a great acoustic environment; that's worth more than anything.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Take advantage of my willingness to chat at great lengths about your project prior to it's beginning. I've worked that into my rates and you'll only benefit; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Beyond the typical budgetary and scheduling concerns. I ask for recording references, the meaning of their art and what the sentiment they wish to express with it; I believe every sonic choice I make should be absolutely subservient to the will of the client in expressing themselves.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Is it too cliché to say 'just about everything'? It's true...
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I do generally prefer digital workflows due to their ease of recall and the stability of the media. That being said, certain steps of the process, such as recording with certain processing applied can only be effectively done with analog gear due to the limitation of even the most advanced of computer systems (namely latency...).
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would be thrilled to engineer a session for a T-Bone Burnett production. He has an immaculate sense of storytelling with every sonic choice.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: 8 years
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That you will never regret hiring me.