Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
The album I produced for Savannah Terez is something I'm very proud of. It involved taking mp3 bedroom demos of her songs, arranging them for a full band, rehearsing the band on the whole track list and then flying the artist in for the tracking session. Worked with horn sections, winds, strings and backing vocalists all over about 2 weeks of studio time. Beautifully written songs, really fun arrangements and some world-class players.
What are you working on at the moment?
Other Americans - Trip-hop/Pop group.(Producing/Mixing)
My Own Solo EP - Pop/Whatever (Writing/Mixing)
Game Re-score - 1979 Revolution (Composition/Mixing)
Songwriting Reel - In partnership with the talented Rachel Mallin. (Coming soon)
Analog or digital and why?
Ideally: record digital and smash to 1/2" at mix down.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Your song(s) will always come first.
What do you like most about your job?
What's not to like??
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That there is not enough success to go around.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
Budget and timeline are important and they'll definitely come up but they are not the whole story by far. Mostly, I'll want to get into the client's vision for a project. Mostly that means letting the conversation develop naturally around the needs and goals for the project.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
"Razzle-dazzle producers" only do razzle-dazzle and they tend to sell the exact same razzle-dazzle to every client. No one - industry people or fans - wants to hear you sound like someone else. They want to hear you sound like you. The best producer is the one who helps you become more yourself. Choose a producer/collaborator with that in mind.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
MPC 3000, 1974 Fender Telecaster Custom, 1964 Fender Bassman, Wurlitzer Electric PIano, Mini Moog.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I was putting out records I'd made in my parents basement when I was a teenager and was signed before I got into college. Many bands, record deals, publishers, studios and albums later, I'm still alive, overjoyed to work in music and to keep improving all the skill sets that enable me to keep working.
How would you describe your style?
The fundamentals of the old-school for whatever you're into.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Cowrite - Linda Perry, Dianne Warren
Produce - Adele, Lady Gaga, Kitten
Play Guitar for - Lucinda Williams
Make Beats for - MIA
Be a fly-on-the-studio-wall - Any Jay-Z session.
Can you share one music production tip?
Unless you have a song, all the gear in the world is just crap.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Lots and lots of rock and lots of things that harken back to 60's soul/R&B. I love EDM influenced pop but there are not many artists in my area who do that sort of work.
What's your strongest skill?
What do you bring to a song?
As much or as little as the artist needs me to.
What's your typical work process?
For commercial, film and game music it typically starts with a round of demos from which we'd select the right track. This can take 24-72 hours for a commercial project and up to two weeks for a film or game project. The meat and potatoes production can range from a few days to more than a month depending on the scope of the work and mixes/masters generally turn around in 1-3 days depending on revisions.
For pop, rock or dance music I can tell you that the process starts with a song and ends with a mastered mix. The process of getting from the first place to the last is entirely dependent on what the artist needs and what will best serve the song(s).
Tell us about your studio setup.
The "Little Studio" is simplicity itself - A sweet front end of Vintech 1073 and 1272 preamps, MOTU HD converters and Logic Pro X. I monitor on Yamaha and JBL, mic with a couple of nice condensers, a cheap dynamic that sounds great and use a couple of simple controllers for programming and sequencing in-the-box.
The bigger spot for bigger projects, mixing and mastering is here: https://www.facebook.com/elementrecordingstudios/
Best tracking gear for several hundred miles and more instruments than you can use in a month.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I'm very old school with my personal favorite producers. People like Phil Spector, Nelson Riddle, Dan Penn, Chips Moman and the producers of 1000 obscure soul singles from the dawn of time. Producers who knew how to find the guts of a song and capture them. The hero musicians are always people like James Gadsen, The Stax house band, The Motown "Funk brothers" band, The Wrecking Crew (in all its iterations).
Writers are always Lieber and Stoller, Goffin and King, The Holland Brothers and Lamont Dozier.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
In Pop, Rock, or Dance styles the most common work is arranging and tweaking the architecture of the songs themselves before the record light goes on.That is really where the rubber meets the road. In commercial, film and game music, it's instrumental compositions to fit whatever genre is called for by the director.