I've been working in recording studios since 1999 before starting my own, Red Planet Recording, in 2004. I've recorded and mixed many genres including blues, hip hop, noise, and country, but excel at heavier types of rock, punk, metal, hardcore, shoegaze, and alternative rock
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Interview with Joe Smiley
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Ken Andrews, Steve Albini, Butch Vig, Kurt Ballou, Trent Reznor, Björk, Chris Lord Alge
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recording, mixing, editing, drum replacement, vocal tuning, re-amping
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Digital workstation. 24 track simultaneous recording with virtually limitless overdubs. Large live room with vocal booths and amp isolation closets. Tuned and treated control room for accurate monitoring during tracking and mixing.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: A lot of my clients have been metal, alternative rock, punk, shoegaze, and indie rock. Have also worked on singer/songwriter, hip-hop, blues, and gospel.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started making 4 track cassette demos when I was 15 (1995). I majored in music in college and between semesters I interned at a few different studios. After graduation, a friend and I decided to open our own studio and rehearsal space, slowly expanding the space, building rooms, and adding gear over the course of the past 13 years, all while building up a base of clients.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Are we to assume this desert island has electricity...?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: In the case of a client who wants to record, prepare as much as you can. Demo your songs on your own first and know exactly what you're going to do when you come into the studio to maximize the value of the studio time.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How long have you been a band? Have you ever recorded in a studio before? Is there a unified vision for how you want your record to sound and if so, what is it?
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to work with new people all the time. Sometimes I get to exercise my creativity. Being a part of the process of laying the groundwork of a song and hear it get fleshed out as new layers are added is really rewarding.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: If I have to pick only one, digital. The ease and flexibility of recording digitally vs recording to tape is no contest. Every day more software is released that models analog gear with greater accuracy than previous versions. Ideally, I use a mix of both analog and digital gear.