What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
People think its very easy and quick. I run courses on recording and production, and it really amazes people when show them how much time, effort, and concentration goes into making a record, and all the possibilities that modern recording offers. It even shocked a student of mine who works as a video editor, which in turn surprised me, as I would have thought the two would be similarly complicated.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
1x SM58 (plus cable, stand and pop filter....)
1x Almost any interface
1x Recording computer
1x Beyerdynamic DT880
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I was asked by an elderly gentleman if I could record a 40+ person choir for an album to be released on CD and DVD. I had never done that sort of project before, so I was naturally intrigued by the challenge and took the job. It was lovely, they were all lovely. The guy contracting my services was actually gifting the whole process from recording to the final CD's/DVD's to the choir. It turns out his son, a poet and artist, had died some years ago and his best friend composed a song for the choir using one of the poems. The father was so moved when he heard them perform it he wanted to give them something back. I got to hear a lot of traditional folk songs of the area during the process which was also nice. I took care of everything for him, from finding quotes for the video team, graphic design for the CD's, even ordering the CD's. We also recorded some very moving speeches. A lady even fainted on stage, but after a short break they were back at it. The most challenging part, for me, was during the mix. They are an amateur choir, and as such weren't all that great. I had a lot, and I mean a lot of vocal tuning to get through. When the client compared the end results to the raw recording they were amazed at the difference, after initially being worried about them not having performed very well. Plus as we decided to record in an auditorium, there were various noises like thuds and scrapes of shoes, coughs, page turning noise, etc. I have NEVER used so much automation in my life! It took some time but the results were worth it, and I regularly get told that the live recording sounds like a studio recording. That, plus having been a part of something so special to the guy makes me happy :)
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently wrapping up the next release for App Street Games.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Analog or digital and why?
Digital. It has come a long long way. Analog is great for imparting specific character to sounds, but again, its the ears, not the gear, and if you don't know what you are doing it doesn't matter either way. If you DO know what you are doing, it doesn't matter either way either.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
That I will endeavor to provide the best possible results in a timely manner. I treat all projects with respect and honesty and genuinely care about client satisfaction. If my client is happy, I am happy!
What do you like most about your job?
Meeting like minded people, taking ideas and making them a reality, helping people acheive their goals, the variety, the challenge, the music.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
How much do you charge. The answer is usually "it depends on the project and your budget, so come over/lets chat"
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I ask for reference tracks to get an idea of what they expect. Then I ask what they want, to get a better idea of what they want. I find that the only time any issues arise is if there is a lack of communication with regards to expectations.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
1. Have a clear idea of what you want
2. Get in touch ;)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
My parents are not musical in any way, so I feel like I was a late bloomer compared to many. The only music I was exposed to was in Bollywood films! I remember as a young lad, finding a cassette that must have belonged to my Mum, and locking myself in the bathroom to listen to it. I think it was ABBA haha...When I was 10 myself and my younger brother were taken to a boarding school in India, where for 3 years the only tapes I had to listen to were Michael Jacksons HIStory and the Titanic soundtrack.... I know right. Don't tell anyone! While at that school, I took some classes in Classical Indian Music and learned to play the basics of the Tabla, an Indian percussion instrument. I also by chance found a guitar, which was missing strings and was undoubtedly out of tune yet I managed to take the melody in my head and play it after a few tries. That really sparked my interest. It wasn't til I was around 15, my cousin was learning to play the guitar and after teaching me a few things I was already becoming better than him. Sadly he gave up playing because of that.
So I really discovered my love for music around the age of 15, and soon after formed my first band. I roped some friends into it and taught them how to play their instruments so my songs could become a reality! Then while at University I auditioned for a band and realised I had to study more to get to where I wanted to be, and took a 1 year course in music, which in all honesty opened my mind to other styles that previously did not interest me. Basically up until a couple of years before opening my studio, music production had been more of a hobby, a way to record my own demos without having to pay for a studio every time, I just wound up recording a lot for my friends and other students and realised I enjoyed it very much, possibly moreso than writing and playing music, and so here I am!
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Tinie Tempah because his debut album was incredible. Adele, Alicia Keys (what a voice!), Eminem, Nero, Korn, Little Mix, Ellie Goulding, and loads more obviously! Plus Audioslave, because their second two albums were nowhere near as good as the first. They need my help!
What's your strongest skill?
Being versatile. Also I never seem to get bored of listening to the same thing over and over :D
How would you describe your style?
Smart casual :D
Can you share one music production tip?
Its the ears not the gear. Learn to use your equipment to the best of your abilities.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I have worked with most genres, from 40+ people choir album recordings to mobile video game music, punk rock bands and rappers, one of the most enjoyable parts of the job for me is that it is so varied.
What do you bring to a song?
My years of experience across multiple genres and a fresh pair of ears!
What's your typical work process?
It's always best to have the clearest idea possible of how the song is intended to sound before starting, so I'll listen to the mix several times first and speak with the client about what they want (If I have't recorded it myself, in which case this would have already been done!). Timing is so very important so i start by editing drums, then bass, then guitars. Then I'll do the vocal comping and tuning before getting into the mix itself.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I use Cubase Pro 8 and a Roland Studio Capture. I have a growing mic locker and pump everything out through my trusty Tannoy Reveals. I use Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Superlux, Apple and a range of other head/ear phones and speakers to reference on. Waves SSL and and Fabfilter plugins among others.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Rick Rubin, Phil Spector, Bob Rock, Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Tom Morello, Chris Cornell, Mark Ronson and many many more!
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Tracking, editing, mixing, mastering, composing, session work, sound effects