Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
There are two, the first feature length film I ever scored because it was a doc on Afghanistan for which the director wanted "traditional" Afghan music and I somehow managed to pull it off with a Roland 24 track hard drive recorder and an alesis synth. This was in late 2001. The second are the two album productions I did for singer/songwriter Vienna D'Amato Hall. The albums are called Red LIght Temple and It's What the Dog Saw and I'm just pleased with my work on both of them, but having really really great material from Vienna helped. Also the two albums I produced for Joanne Weaver, both of those, I think, are exceptional work. I have one more movement to write for my symphony, so I"ll hold off to see if I'm proud in the end of that or not. :)
What are you working on at the moment?
My first symphony... yikes.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
David Patterson is a fantastic guitarist who I've hired on a number of projects.
Analog or digital and why?
Depends, but it's ultimately a silly question. Listeners respond to performance, not recording format. The work, the material, the music and the performance comes first.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
To serve their vision and not my own unless asked.
What do you like most about your job?
It is different every single time.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Most common question is what are your rates? Most common answer is what is your project's budget?
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Oh, wow, there are so many. I truly don't know where to begin.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What is the nature of their project. What is the overall creative vision or idea. What is the budget.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
I can't give advice until I hear your music. I may have no advice, I might have some, who knows, but I have to hear it first.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
an 88 keyboard, my strat, a large diaphram mic, a hand drum with bells on it and a laptop with pro-tools installed.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I grew up taking piano lessons and listening to classical music, but was a terrible student. In my mid-teens, I discovered Pink Floyd and The Beatles and others and started playing and singing for the joy of it for the first time. In the early 90's, I moved to NY and got into a band and did the east coast circuit thing for a time, but by the mid-late 90's, I wanted more, both creatively and professionally, so I started scoring short films for zero or little money and producing my own songs. By early 2000's, I was asked to be an in house producer at skyline where I worked on myriad projects. I left in around 2005 and have been scoring films and composing for TV and producing since. So, I guess I've been doing it a rather long time.
How would you describe your style?
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I'd like to work with Beck and Yo Yo Ma. Beck, because I find his work interesting and his production choices often surprising, Yo Yo Ma because of his work with world musicians, which I find to be endlessly fascinating.
Can you share one music production tip?
Sure, listen to the thing in front of you and do what it is telling you to do and don't try to force anything on it that does not enhance or elevate it's own character.
What type of music do you usually work on?
It is truly across the board, but to give you a typical representation, I'm currently writing my first symphony in a somewhat classic, turn of the century style (20th century) style, but also just produced a very modern and hard edged, dark, kick ass cover of Billy Idol's White Wedding. Before that, I mixed a few songs for a hard rock band in Iran and composed music for a production of The Cherry Orchard starring Ellen Burstyn.
What's your strongest skill?
meatballs and pesto, but I'm also pretty darn good at producing records, mixing songs, arranging songs, scoring films, programming drums (very good at that one), string and orchestral arrangements, multi instrumentation... It's really better to tell you what I'm not good at or not experienced in, which would be Jazz and uber-dance pop stuff. Otherwise, I can probably have you covered pretty nicely.
What do you bring to a song?
Well, I hope to bring whatever is lacking, if that's finding and hiring the right singer, it'll be that, if the song needs full production bottom to top, I"ll do that, if it just needs a string quartet added or an electric slide guitar, I'll do that, if a film needs scoring, I'll do that, or a song needs mixing, I've got literally hundreds of those under my belt, so, you tell me what you need and that's what I'll do.
What's your typical work process?
Ha! There is no typical work process except to first spend time looking at the new project in front of me and figuring out what IT needs and then proceeding accordingly, but every project, I find, requires a taylored process.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Basic, but sophisticated within that. I do full film scores out of here, so tons of soft-instruments and professional samples. I work in pro-tools (but have Logic too and can work in it if I absolutely must) with string, orchestra and world samples both from the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra library and the East West. I have most major Waves plugins, plus some other specialties. Basic recording capabilities with a few large diaphram mics, a few 57s, a couple amps, various percussion instruments, beautiful late 90's rare edition strat, a fender bass, Taylor acoustic, various hand drums and shakers. High quality Focusrite A/D conversion.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Oh, literally everyone from Prokofiev to Pink Floyd to P-Funk to Puccini to Leonard Cohen to world music from almost anywhere. I find genius and commonalities in every genre.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I'd say it's mostly composition and production, but I often get straight up mixing gigs or one offs like string arrangements or such.