Hi I'm Russell! I am a CA-bred, Brooklyn-based musician, producer and sound engineer here to help you realize your sonic dreams. I have a theory background, perfect pitch, and a long list of former clients including funk bands, rock bands, Hip/Hop artists, singer/songwriters and even gospel!
Currently, I work as a recording engineer for Dubway Studios in FiDi. We are a professional studio with modern and vintage gear. I have full access to the studio if you are looking for somewhere to record.
Services I Offer:
- Session/Live Gig Musician as a guitarist/singer
- Recording, Comping, Mixing
I have been playing guitar for 18 years and have been writing songs for most of that time. I took private music lessons and completed a Minor in Jazz Music at UC Santa Cruz. I have been in multiple bands in San Diego, my hometown. Since moving to NY four years ago, I have been working as a professional musician, producer and engineer. I am in a touring band called Cosmonaut Radio as a guitarist and background vocalist.
I specialize in:
- Guitar part-writing, soloing and improv
- Vocal Harmonies
- Drum Recording
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Russell Castiglione
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My proudest accomplishment was getting to record Norah Jones. She visited Dubway Studios last year and I was a part of recording her vocals for a collaborative project with Rhumba Music and Dubway Studios.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: At the moment, I am finishing a record I am mixing for Bill Popp, a Queens-based artist working on a solo album.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Bea Go is an amazing pop singer, look her up!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog, because its better.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise that I am truly a professional. Lots of guitarists and "producers" out there show up to gigs late, without learning the material or preparing. I do everything to make sure I am 100% prepared for a show or a recording gig ahead of time.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The fact that my job is my dream, and it is the only thing I want to be doing for the rest of my life.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Are the vocals too loud?" "No, you have a beautiful voice, embrace it!"
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: "Producer" is a term thrown around a bit loosely these days... A lot of people think I just make beats which I do not. I do a lot more to bring songs to life by recording the instruments, helping to arrange parts/layers, and mixing!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is the instrumentation of your track(s)? How many songs are you looking to record? What do you want to walk away from the session with (deliverables)? Send me music samples of what type of sound you're going for!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Meet whoever you're looking to hire in person first and ideally, visit their space. You can tell a lot about producers like myself upon first meeting them. If you are looking to do a long session or even a session over multiple days, getting along with your engineer is essential to having a successful session.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Fender Jazzmaster Mesa Boogie Amp Microtech Giffel UM92 Avalon Preamp My computer so I can actually record something!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing guitar for 18 years. Started playing in bands in 7th grade. Learned how to record with protools in high school. Then, upon moving to NYC five years ago, I started working at a recording studio and playing in multiple bands both locally and around the country.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Relaxed, positive, efficient.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I think it would be fun to work with Radiohead! They go for a different style in every album and I would love to help them to achieve their next release, but I also know this is a pipe dream...
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: To get a different type of drum sound, instead of overheads, I use two of the same type of mic on the left and right sides of the drum kit, pointing at the center. It's an interesting sound because you can actually hear and FEEL the movement of the cymbals when they are hit.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock and Soul
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Guitarist - Soloing/Improv Producer - drum recording and arranging harmonies.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Guitar-wise, I bring atypical elements to a song. I don't use common chords unless specifically directed to. I like to do inversions, maj7, maj7, min 9, or other different types of chords to give a special sound to a song. I also like to add little riffs/motifs in a song that wouldn't otherwise have them, without overplaying of course ;) Producer-wise, my goal is to serve the song best. I don't have a specific style of producing other than working with the client to make their track sound the best and achieve what they're going for. I have lots of experience and a strong musical background, so I am happy to make suggestions.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: For gigs/sessions working as a guitarist, I have the clients send me over their music. Depending on the timeline, I like to give myself at least a week to learn the material by ear. Usually, we will rehearse. During recording, I will give the client several different takes on a song to see what they're going for and together, we figure out the end product. For recording, I ask for the setup a week in advance, getting all instrumentation and information ahead of time. Then, with studio staff, we set up the whole session before client arrives. I like to record rhythm instrumentals first (drums, bass, rhythm guitar/piano), then do overdubs with lead instruments and vocals.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have access to the facilities at Dubway Studios: 3 smaller control rooms/sound rooms and then 1 large "Mezzanine" recording studio for bands. This studio has a large live room that I typically use for drums along with 4 other isolation booths around it that I use for piano, amplifiers or singers.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Jimmy Page is my biggest inspiration both as a guitarist and producer. However, I've worked with a few other great producers: Chris Abell, Rob Friedman and Brad Jones, who definitely had an influence on my engineer/producing style.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Play guitar for studio sessions or live gigs as well as work as a producer.