Soft Monkey Music
session keys, vocals & mixing
Songs that I have recorded and mixed have been on indy records, in jingles and in movies like "Foodfight!" and "The Stream."
I am a songwriter/producer/session player and mixer. I have recorded and mixed hundreds of demos and master tracks. Using Protools 12 with Waves Platinum and SoundToys bundle, dozens of virtual keyboards, Kurzweil, Yamaha and Kawai keyboards and a Yamaha grand piano. Vocal mic is an AKG 414XLII and main mic pre is a Manley Voxbox.
Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.
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Interview with Soft Monkey Music
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Writing and recording with a three piece progressive rock band, the "Trinity Site Players".
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's easy to do and that anyone can do it. Some people think that buying a laptop with garageband or ProTools, getting a mic, guitar and a keyboard makes them a studio owner. I guess that is technically true, but when you are trying to make a record to sell to your fans, or a demo that you can pitch with confidence to a label or music supervisor, it's good to have a professional session people and mixing engineers. I am a studio owner, I have been collecting these pieces for over 30 years and it all works together properly.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My CD "Shadow To Shadow, Dean Madonia's Frankenstein," is a 29 track concept CD, based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It was a side-project and it took me 4 years to complete. It has opened a lot of doors for me.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I just joined, I don't know who's on here yet.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital because I am also a visual artist and I like to be able to "see" my music.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'm going to do my best - my name and reputation mean a lot to me - that's all I have, and I want the client to be happy. If that means I am going to have to refer them to another session player, producer, mixer etc, then I am going to do that.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love music. I love seeing songs go from a seed of an idea and blossom into a finished product. I like meeting people who are enthusiastic about what they are doing and have the work ethic and talent to back up that feeling!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: "What do you think of this song?" A: "What's it for?"
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is this project for? Is it a demo or a master track? Is it for you or are you pitching it to another artist? Realistically, what song or band would you compare this song to (for reference)?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure your songs is good and make sure you are finished writing it. I turned down a lot of session, demo and mixing work in Nashville because I didn't think the songs were ready to demo and I didn't want to take the clients money.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: For recording? Macbook Pro, ProTools, My Audio Tecnica Headphones, an AKG 414 XLII and a line 6 variax.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I stearted performing with my dad when I was 8 years old. I have been writing since I was 13. I took lessons in piano, guitar and violin and played mostly coffeehouse gigs until I graduated college and performed wih over 40 bands. My first "multitrack recordings" were with two tape decks and a mixer. I would record on to one, play it back through a mixer and play along with it, recording it into the second deck. Eventually I bought a tascam 244, then some ADATs, Then when I was working for ProTools guru, Charles Dye, I fell in love with digital recording. I have been a protools guy since Sound Designer...
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: It depends what I am doing. As an artist, I have been compared to Kevin Gilbert. As a producer, I try to listen to what the band is doing and let them do their thing, gently steering in rough spots. I have written and mixed Pop, Rock and Country and I think I am credible and authentic in all of those styles.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Alison Krauss. I love her voice. I would love produce and co-write a CD with her.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Less is more. The best way to get a good mix is to plan out the arrangement first. Prune it down as much as you can get away with, that way the instruments are not all fighting each other for sonic space.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Country and pop.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Songwriting, vocals and keyboards
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Experience. I have been writing and recording music for over 40 years, I have been in over 40 bands and written an recorded hundreds of songs. Also, I am amulti-instrumentalist and programmer, so I understand exactly how these instruments can be combined to acheive certain results.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: If I am singing or playing on someone's tune, I try to "serve the song." that means that unless the client has a clear idea what they want, I am going to try to do the part that makes the song the strongest.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Mac Quad Core i7 running ProTools 12 with Digi 003, and beringher lightpipe expansion Waves Platinum Bundle, Soundtoys Bundle, Omnisphere, Keyscape, Kontakt, Reason, Predator, Sampletank, Stylus RMX, Trillian Bass, Strike, Steven Slate drums, Kurzweil controllers. Manley Voxbox, DAV Electronics Broadhurst Gardens #1 stereo mic pre, Crest Audio Pro 2 Stereo Mic Pre, Presonus Blue Tube Stereo Mic pre (2) AKG 414 XLII, Audio Tecnica ATM 25 Kick drum mic, Shure SM 57, (3) Shure Beta 57A, (3) Shure Beta 58A, (2) 87C, Audio Tecnica 4033, Josephson C42 mic Lexicon, Furman, Hear Technologies, DBX, Line 6, Roland, Korg, Alesis, Mackie and Beringher outboard gear. PRS, Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Charvel, Aria, Alverez and Bill Lawrence guitars and basses Roland Jazz Chorus amo, Sano tube amp, Ampeg and Montgomery Ward combo amps, DW drums with Zildjian cymbals and Porcaro rack.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Kevin Gilbert, Paul Simon, John Mayer, The Beatles, Coldplay, 21 Pilots, Walk the Moon, Yes, Genesis, Kansas, The Police, Jeff Buckley, Roxy Music,
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Songwriting, Producing, session vocals and keyboards, mixing and production of demo and master tracks.