Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Recording, producing and engineering Southern Revival's debut album. I'm very proud of that one. I got to call all the shots, write almost all the music, played all the instruments except drums and basically steered it to its' destination.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have a couple of gospel albums in the works plus a demo or two. And, of course, my band is always experimenting with some things.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Actually, I'm new to SoundBetter and haven't had an opportunity to discover who's involved in it. But hopefully, within a few months, I'll know some people here on a first name basis.
Analog or digital and why?
I love analog but digital keeps the cost much lower for the client. Tape sounds great but it takes more time, the equipment is steadily getting more expensive and rare and the industry standard has all but moved to the digital realm. It would be extremely hard to compete using analog equipment these days.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
To give them the very best I am capable of in the most cost effective way possible. I don't come from money so I know what it's like to struggle. I've had a lot of good people help me out through the years so I feel like I can try to help others out as much as possible.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
You can't "fix it in the mix". You've heard the saying, "you can't polish a turd". It's true, especially when it comes to recorded tracks. If it starts out bad, there's nothing you can ever do to make it great, and that's the point of it, a great sounding recording. Get the foundation right, the rest will fall into place.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I'll ask about a time frame, their restraints, and budget. Regardless of what deal we make, I will always deliver the very best I can achieve. I've heard other engineers give an excuse why their recording for a client didn't sound so great. They always say the client was on a limited budget. To me, that's cutting your own throat. If I agree to do a project for a client, it will be to the best of my ability. I would hate for someone to listen to my work and say that doesn't sound very good only because the client was limited on their budget.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
An acoustic setup, since a desert island has no electricity. That's a trick question, isn't it?
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Essentially, I've always been involved with music my entire life in one form or another. I've always played music on a variety of instruments from an early age. Then I started playing live, then got interested in the technical end of things once I got my first experience in a recording studio. The more complicated it got, the more I liked it.
How would you describe your style?
Old school philosophy with a modern approach.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
The unknown artists who could have great potential. The guy or girl who has a notebook full of songs and poems they've written over time can have a goldmine stored away without knowing it. Or the person who sings at home without realizing how talented they are. It would be great to put someone on the map who deserves it.
Can you share one music production tip?
Get it right at the recording stage. I can't stress this enough. Never record something mediocre and think you can fix it later. If you want the end result to be great, the foundation must be strong as possible. That rule applies to nearly every type of construction, whether it be a building or a song.
What type of music do you usually work on?
A broad range from country to rock and gospel to blues and anything in between. I love the fact that I enjoy many genres of music, and in this business, it's a useful tool.
What's your strongest skill?
Helping the client to get their material to its full potential. An artist who is new in the industry doesn't realize there are times a subtle change can take their work from good to great. A slight adjustment in the direction can be monumental. That's what I'm there for, or try to be.
What do you bring to a song?
I try to show the client every possible option their song is capable of. There will be times the artist starts out with a certain idea for a song then after we collaborate for some time, it usually ends up in a different direction and to the artists' satisfaction.
What's your typical work process?
I've learned that the best end result is achieved in the recording process. Most people don't realize how much of a difference a quarter inch can make in mic placement. Instead of EQ'ing, you can move the mic around until you get the desired effect. Mic types also play a huge role in the sound you are looking for, and if you get the sound you're looking for at the recording stage, you're almost where you want to be. If it's recorded properly, it will literally mix itself.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have a dedicated drum room, live room and control room. I use a hybrid process of mixing in the box and outboard gear.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
John "Mutt" Lange, Steve Albini, Warren Huart, Chris Lorde Alge, among many others. As for bands, there's so many out there it's hard to name them all. The Eagles impress me with their harmonies. Rush is a band that, to me, no one can match. There's so many with their own creative style and every one is unique in their own way.
What do you like most about your job?
It's creating art and it's different every day.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Usually my fees, and I usually answer with "we'll work something out", especially if the client has potential. I hate to see an artist with great potential be held back because of lack of funds.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Talk to previous clients and fellow musicians I have worked with. Listen to my work. That will give you your best inclination of what I'm capable of.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
For most, I start with the artist and their idea to create what they're mentally hearing to produce the final product.