Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Honestly, my current project with SAL is the one I'm most proud of thus far. He has an artists mind and has allowed me liberties in creative direction that many keep tightly in their control. My role in this project is both Production and engineering.
What are you working on at the moment?
Producing a 5-track EP with an artist called SAL. He is a contemporary Americana artist based in Texas with a style that of Sam Smith meets 3 Doors Down.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I don't personally know anyone on SoundBetter yet, but I know I will soon and yes I would recommend SoundBetter to anyone looking to hire out parts of their project.
Analog or digital and why?
They both have their benefits. I prefer mostly digital because I travel a lot and portability is key for me. I do appreciate the analog sound though.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Quality. I can guarantee that the client will be more than satisfied with the work I do - whether it be tracking, mixing, or producing.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the process of creating and building a song from barebones all the way to a finished product. That speechless moment in the room after we all get together and listen to the final mix.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Most common question - How do you know so much about music?
My answer - I'm a student of the craft. I follow trends and deconstruct songs down to the cellular level to figure out exactly what happening in songs. I've been unknowingly doing this since I was a child so the reason it appears that producing and mixing comes so naturally is because I've done it a lot. It's what I love to do and I am good at it.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Two things -
First - The importance of great production is a big misconception that I encounter. You can play the same chords the whole song, but if you play them the say way, the song will suffer.
Second - Details of a great mix - The nuances of a great mix can take it from mediocre to great just by adding some details and smoothing things out.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I like to get to know the client if possible. I'm naturally curious about people and I do ask a lot of questions, especially with art. I'm curious to get into the perspective of the client and for to learn how the think and feel. That helps tremendously when I start brainstorming ideas for the project.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Don't expect anything less than you deserve. I know that a pretty broad and philosophical statement, but I made the mistake of accepting less when I was younger and it really came around to bite me later on. My advice - Get very clear on what exactly you want and go get it.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Let's be honest, I wouldn't have audio equipment if I were on a desert island. I'd have thinks to help me survive.
But if the question were something like "What are your top 5 favorite pieces of gear?" - To that I'd say I'd need these (in no particular order)
- a great microphone (large diaphragm)
- a great preamp -Neave
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been a musician for over 10 years. I've done studio guitar, vocal, and production work on over 50 projects. A studio that I frequented decided to retire and I bought some of the equipment to start doing more freelance recording projects from home.
How would you describe your style?
My guitar playing has been compared to that of John Mayer/Joe Bonamassa.
My mixes tend to me more contemporary pop sounding.
My production style also leans more toward a mainstream top 40 style.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
John Mayer for sure. He brings a level of musicianship and writing that I highly respect and admire.
Can you share one music production tip?
Don't worry so much on the timing or the pitch. The one thing to really focus on that the song FEELS right. In my opinion, people feel music more than they hear it.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I usually work with contemporary Pop/RnB and Americana artists.
What's your strongest skill?
Producing. I am great at coming up with musical parts that just fit the song.
What do you bring to a song?
Dynamics, polish (in the form of lyrical clarity and design), as well as instrumentation and proper placement to get "the song in my head" so to speak.
What's your typical work process?
I like to start from the ground up - depending on the project. If I'm producing for an artist, I like to start with the song barebones. For example, only piano or guitar and vocals. In the early stages, I will help the artist polish the song structure and flow by replacing chords, adding a few musical breaks, etc. Once we have that finalized, we track it and build from there. In this "ground up" format, we start with drums and bass, then rhythm instruments, main instruments, aux percussion, and vocals last. Once we have all the desired parts in place, I will either send it to one of the engineers I work with or mix the track myself. Then off to mastering.
If I'm only doing a mixing project, I will start by listening to the whole song, then specific tracks to get a feel for the vibe the artist is going for. I may listen to some similar artists to get a more refined sense of the direction the song needs to go. Again, I will start with drums and bass and work my way up the chain applying EQ and compression on the first round.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I utilize a 2013 Mac Pro Quad-Core with a Universal Audio Apollo 8 interface into Yamaha HS8's with a matching Studio Subwoofer. I use an outboard UA 6176 preamp/compressor and a Telefunken AK47 MKII mic that is typical for my Vocal Chain. I also use industry standard microphones like the Shure SM7B, and AKG C414's. I have a TON of guitars, pedals, and guitar amps for a near endless combination for the best tone for the track.
For software and plugins, I use ProTools 12, mostly Waves, FabFilter. and UA plugins as well as Kontakt and more.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
As for musicians, John Mayer is my biggest influence as a guitar player and songwriter. I also love the honesty in artists like Ed Sheeran's music and the all around pop sensibility of Maroon 5.
My favorite mixing engineer is probably Jack Joseph Puig.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Tracking - Guitar (lead and rhythm) and vocals (lead and harmony) Coming up with parts that fit the song.
Mixing - I excel at mixing these genres - Acoustic singer-songwriter, Blues/pop, and Pop/rock.
Pre-production - Keeping the bigger picture in mind, I help my clients write parts on multiple instruments that help their music flow naturally with dynamics and detail. I have the ability to pull out the best of what's in their song.