Music Creator, Mixer, Producer
André St-Denis is a bilingual Canadian-American producer, engineer and musician. Drawing from a diverse musical background, André’s style incorporates an open-minded, holistic approach to popular music. His focus on Indie, Folk and Rock, coupled with his knowledge in Jazz and Classical, give him a creative and encompassing perspective.
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Interview with Andre St-Denis
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I was hired as an engineer to record a live off the floor 8 piece Latin band. The goal was to make it sound like it was a live concert in a club while recording and mixing in a very "clean" sounding recording studio. We had about 20 hours to record and mix 3 songs over 4 days (5 hours/day). It was incredibly hectic but very rewarding. Everyone brought their A game and we ended up with an EP that exudes character and emotion.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I think the most important thing to realize is what type of relationship you want with someone as myself. And, to reflect on what aspects of you and your music that are truly important to you. Also, don't be afraid to ask literally anything. If you're unexperienced and don't know certain information, ask away! Other than that, be organized and respectful. Nothing is less productive and emotionally draining then when someone is overly scattered and/or has attitude.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It depends entirely on what I'm being hired to do. Some artists like to talk about the direction they want to go, play me some music they enjoy and/or the demo's they have and then ultimately decide on a direction together. Others simply send me multi-tracks and tell me to go. I work both ways. Once we've agreed on a price, I ask for 50% before I start working and 50% once I'm done. If we happen to be in the same city you are welcome to come to any mixing or editing sessions. If we don't, I'll send you my first mix of the songs/album and we can talk about any revisions, which I include 5 in my mixing fee.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I look up to many artists but the ones I'm most interested to work with are up and coming, talented artists who are determined to share their message with the world.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I'm a big proponent of the law of diminishing returns. I'm all about finding and creating that "new sound", but going too deep down the rabbit hole can be dangerous. Take breaks and constantly put yourself in the listeners shoes by asking yourself "will the audience enjoy or even notice this?". If the answer is no, you should probably move on to something more pertinent.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: It's typical, but perspective and experience are the two strongest things I bring to a song. As a producer I am able to give you a big picture perspective and deter any pitfalls that could happen. As a mixer, I am able to offer an outsider's perspective disconnected from all the emotional and technical work that has gone into the song up to this point.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I like to be fairly mobile as I'll only call home for about a year or two and work out of commercial facilities quite often. I currently use Focal Solo6Be speakers with a Coleman monitor controller and Lynx Aurora Converters. I use UAD, Fabfilter, and Waves plugins, among others. I have various microphones and preamps from Beyerdynamic, API, Mojave, Rupert Neve Designs, B&O, Neumann...
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To always be honest and ensure that we're happy with the work we've done.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That I get to work with a wide variety of people and music!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Besides all the artistic conversations, I typically like to know the time frame for the project as well as the budget. Sometimes I'll ask for technical information but that's pretty rare. I'm also always interested in getting to know all the individuals related to the project.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been making music for close to 10 years now but I've never followed any typical career path. I've always loved working on music and have therefore developed various skills pertaining to the creation of music. I've been the musician, the producer, the assistant, the grant writer, the engineer, the arranger, the teacher and various things in between.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: This might not be a preferred answer, but I don't identify with a style. My job is not to impose a "sound", it's to realize whatever is in your head. I can be gentle and I can be aggressive with sound, it all depends on the music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is to tap into the aspect of the music that translates the most emotion and expand upon it
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mostly work as a mixing engineer and a producer