Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Mixing and recording a 76 member choir for a song to be played at the Women's March. I had to write the charts, conduct the choir and record them in one 4 hour session. It was exhilarating.
What are you working on at the moment?
A project featuring hip hop artists and singers from LA Opera. Loops and live drums for a presentation this summer.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Nicki Gonzalez is the most talented singer I know and she can eat an entire duck at our fave Chinese restaurant and not gain an ounce. I won't do a recording without her in some capacity.
Analog or digital and why?
Both. For example I recorded James Taylor's backing singers and guitar on 2 inch tape at an analog studio in Studio City and mixed those files to digital in protools at my studio for country singer Tony Jackson's newest release.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
To help them get what they "hear in their head" on tape so they achieve artistic success. Very simple.
What do you like most about your job?
Using the gifts I have been given to make a difference in people's lives whether it's a simple guitar and vocal or full on 60-80 track pop song.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
How do I become successful?
Be amazing. There's a lot of mediocre. Be amazing and people will notice.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That producing and writing is easy if you have an Garage Band with loops and samples. I can make a hit song without electricity. (I would need an iPhone with a fully charged battery to record the song)
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What is your goal? What is your experience so far in attaining your goal? Do you just want a song posted on youtube and Spotify? Or do you want to perform in front of an audience? How long have you been doing this? Do you want to work at your craft to keep learning and achieving artistic success or do you want to show your friends? (There's no wrong or right answer)
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Whether you hire me or not, educate yourself to the process, creativity & science you are about to embark on. If you've never priced out a music project the numbers can be intimidating and/or confusing. Come to the conversation prepared as possible. I can help educate you but it's easier if we both already know what we're talking about. The only way to make music is to make it excellent, not "good enough" I don't make music with apology. If you've never recorded but you have an AMAZING song that is almost there, I can help. If you've just started and recorded a new song in your bedroom with your iPad it will probably need more work. Be prepared to hear that. Mostly, making music is the most enjoyable thing to do. It's supposed to be fun!
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My guitar, my piano, MacBook Pro, Logic, a generator that runs on seawater (and my girlfriend)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
20 years. Signed to Warner Brothers, toured as an opening then headlining act. Band broke up, moved back to LA to score and produce. I am grateful for my career path.
How would you describe your style?
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I would like to work with Stevie Wonder. I would learn so much and perhaps help him create something he hasn't yet.
Can you share one music production tip?
When someone hears your production, the ONLY response should be "let me hear that again." If you don't hear that response, you have to go back to the drawing board.
What type of music do you usually work on?
All types of music. Music is not about ego. Music is about honoring the gift. The only music I won't do is jive.
What's your strongest skill?
Earning the client's respect and trust to accomplish the question above.
What do you bring to a song?
Beauty, honesty, authenticity, integrity, soul. No bullshit!
What's your typical work process?
Meet with client in person or Skype, find out what their vision is for the song. If it's a fit, that is; if we agree on the vision and can find a working arrangement that includes key, length, vibe and budget, I map out the plan with a goal date in mind. If there's more than one song I try to arrange it so musicians that need to play are available for the same session, eg, recording a string quartet on the same day in the same studio for 3 different songs to keep the budget affordable. I get a deposit and depending on how many songs, payment in the middle and balance upon delivery at the end.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work at 3 different studios, each having different facilities depending on the size of the project. Real string quartet or drums versus a choir vs a project studio where I can begin (and sometimes finish) the entire project. Logic, Protools, a boatload of mics and preamps, guitars and keys.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Daniel Lanois, Quincy Jones, Dave Cobb, T Bone Burnette, George Martin, Phil Ramone, Jack Antonoff, John Leventhal
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
As a producer my job is different per client, but it includes composing the song for them or co-writing and helping them make sure their song is complete, arranging it in a key that highlights their voice, write the charts, rehearse and record the band, mixing, editing and mastering for final release.