Smooth and natural or in your face and loud, I have been shoving faders around for thirty years plus. I can work from your unmixed tracks or make a finished master from your two-track mix. I've written hundreds jingles for radio and TV, produced thousands of commercial tracks, and consistently have something on somebody's chart somewhere.
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2 ReviewsEndorse Phil Nelson
When I needed to find someone to produce my first 4 disc CD [self-help] release, someone suggested Phil Nelson to me. His selection of a studio was perfect. His presence as a director allowed the session to go smoothly; saving me both time and money. He edited the takes and composed and performed the background music. The CD sets are still selling.
I did my first recording session with Phil in 1978 and have done many more since then. We have recorded album projects, commercials, and audio for a children's book. One of the projects that I did in Phil's studio has been on a compilation album in the UK since 2015. I continue to admire his professionalism and expertise with recording techniques.
Interview with Phil Nelson
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Clients send me the session files, and I make a mix for them, subject to what decisions we have reached in the pre-mixing discussions.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: That's a tough one. I like the older big band recordings because of the natural room sounds, but I like the bottom end and punch of today's techniques. As far as industry heroes, I don't really have any; it's all a mixture of the musicians, the song, the vibe of the session, and how savvy the producer is.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My setup is basically a personal mix room, with an adjoining room that can be used for vocals or solo instruments. Since I started out as a technical engineer there is a good bit of custom built and modified gear in here.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Number one: get the deposit check in the bank. Number two: have a good meeting of the minds with the client, and make sure you both know how much or how little latitude is allowed in the mix or the master.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Two things: I focus on removing what is there that should not be, and adding what is not there that should be. Sometimes that is not as easy as it sounds.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My wife has perfect pitch. I also like to simplify and un-clutter songs that are overly complicated and cluttered.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: All kinds. Recently, I've done a lot of blues - sometimes it will be rock, sometimes country - it must depend on which way the wind is blowing.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Listen to the song enough times to learn it before you start trying out "creative" ideas.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I don't really have an answer for that. The artist would be constantly changing.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Straightforward common sense with a bit of insanity mixed in.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started out as a musician, worked in a few radio stations, and I have been recording and mixing for over thirty years.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A fast boat, lots of fuel, life jacket, flare gun, and a marine telephone.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Choose me first! Next, know what you want. After that, know what you want. So many clients have no idea what they want, and they can turn the most commonplace job into a train wreck. So, finally, know what you want, and then communicate it well.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want me to do? That's the opener, everything else depends on their answer.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People assuming that I am a party DJ, just because I am involved in music.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: How much? A: It all depends...
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: If I am alone, I can work in my underwear. Other than that, I really enjoy working with talented people.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will do my best to give them what they want (but I won't make it a lifelong career if they keep changing their mind).
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: That's no longer an issue, I don't think. Analog is more fun for me, but analog recording is becoming too expensive and labor intensive. Besides, it takes up too much room storing the master reels. I do like the sound though.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I don't know, I'm new here.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: At the moment, I'm trying to find where all the business has gone. I did have a client call me about doing a big band vocal album - we'll see how that goes. It would be fun.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Some years back I had to compose and arrange a theme for a commercial video production. It was great fun! We used a small orchestra of excellent musicians - strings, brass, percussion, the whole nine yards - and I did the mix and edits in my room. I still get that track out now and then just to listen.