I'm drewchowen, aka Chris Heille. Emmy award winning songwriter. I've been accused of 1) being funky, 2) crafting hooks and earworms, and 3) cooking up irresistible grooves. Guilty as charged. Weirdest musical highlight - MTV used my music in a scene with a fratboy taking a swim in a penthouse aquarium.
Minneapolis based songwriter/producer/musician/mixer/engineer. I've worked in various capacities on a number of independent projects, labeled releases, and music for picture. I have my own studio where I do most of my work (who doesn't these days) where musical ideas and performances take center stage. I'm into ear grabbing hooks (that irresistible melody or instrument break, the groove you can't sit still to) and interesting sonics (the crunch, slam, spark, and texture of the sound as a whole.) I've worked just about everything on the creative side of music production, have interfaced with lots of "interesting" scenarios.
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Interview with drewchowen
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recently lots of sound for picture and licensing for TV.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Small is beautiful. Ideas First! Mac, DAWs, Focusrite and 1073 clone mic pres, hand built mics, old school compressors, tons of guitar stuff. Gear can be bought and sold, imagination and craft are priceless.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: What's "typical" anymore? For clients I need to know what the desired end result for project is (independent release, label release, sound for picture?) Each approach is different. I like audio and song references for projects (simplifies communication and sets expectations.) I tend to demo alone and review with client for collaboration or critique. From demo selection we can pre-pro, track, and mix quickly.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: An ear for melody, lots of exposure to diverse popular musical genres to avoid conventional (boring) approaches, problem solver, and the motivation to get things done.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Creative problem solver and musical Swiss Army Knife. I've lived to tell about many crazy studio scenarios - including illicitly pulling power from a city light pole.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I like edgey new pop, I was raised on The Beatles so I love hooks and melodies - but my ears like to hear new sounds. Recently things have EDM elements but I'm more interested in songs that stick - the ones people can't get out of their heads.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Your creative self needs to be free to embrace the crazy, your editor needs to be ruthless. Know when which one should be behind the wheel.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I like working for/with female musicians and vocalists. I think they can get away with a lot more than guys. St. Vincent would be crazy. Tove Styrke would be interesting. I'm not interested in your 7-string anything or China crashes.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Unconventional Pop. Emotional Gravity. Irreverent Fun.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Too long, I'll spare you the details.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Mac w/ Ableton/PT/Logic, Focusrite I/O, my hand built u87 clone, my Fender Jazzmaster, Roland S-50 sampling keyboard.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Trust your ears.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you into? What's your project history? Deadline? Budget? Scope?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Making music is like living in your favorite theme park where amazing moments magically happen.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you finish this in an afternoon? A week? A month? There's 3 options and you can pick any 2; fast, cheap, or done right.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: When you're "in the moment" or "in the flow" it's pretty amazing, and I like being independent.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I've only disappointed one client - the one that never wanted to finish their project.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: If you can afford analog, sure. But most people can't afford analog and don't know the difference.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Writing for licensing.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: As a writer/producer/engineer there isn't a completed project that I've done that I'm not happy about musically or sonically, and 95% or more of my clients found my process to be their smoothest efforts. I think that's the takeaway - work smart, be prepared, have fun, keep honest and open communication, don't settle for easy and you'll have few (if any) regrets.