What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
There's a formula to making music sound good
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What emotion do you want your listeners to feel when they hear this track? Where do you want it played? What message do you want them to gather?
What are your favorite parts of this track as it is? What do you not want me to touch?
What are the limitations of this track to you? What are you hoping we can improve?
What platform will this track be distributed on? This will affect how loud and dynamic it should be.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Have a vision for your work and make sure you find someone who can help you realize it
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
1. A flat pair of headphones
2. Solar panels
3. A laptop
4. A sturdy dynamic mic
5. Recording interface
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I have been recording and mixing for around 10 years. I started mixing FOH for churches and concerts and went on to produce and mix EPs for three bands I was, as well as work for musician friends of mine. I have played guitar for 15+ years, bass for 4 years, and synth for just 2.
How would you describe your style?
The music I write is guitar-driven electronica that often incorporates hip hop elements.
Can you share one music production tip?
Treat your song like a place and let every decision be about describing that place to your listener or decorating it to make it more interesting. This applies to the chords you use, the effects you use, the balance of the mix, and even the final mastered loudness.
What type of music do you usually work on?
electronic music, old-school hip-hop, rock, singer-songwriter stuff
What's your strongest skill?
What do you bring to a song?
First and foremost, I bring a focus on the emotion and meaning of a song. I approach each song differently, depending on what the artist wants the song to communicate and will break whatever production rules I need to in order to make this happen.
In addition, because I have skills across the writing/recording/production process, I can contribute whatever is needed for a song, even if it isn't what you hired me to do.
What's your typical work process?
For me, the first and most important step is to identify the mood and message of the music I am working on. I believe that all choices in the production, mix, and master process should serve the vibe the artist hopes to achieve and that this is always more important than technical perfection. I want the music I work on to put the listener in a place and experiencing a feeling that matches the lyrics and artist's intent.
Production: I usually start with a few layers of percussion to develop a groove that matches the feeling of the song. Then I add a guitar or synth idea and build from there. My productions tend to be very layered with multiple instruments contributing to a melodic idea. I try to use unconventional percussion parts and groovy basslines to keep the music from sounding sterile.
Mixing: I start by hearing the artist's vision for the song, what it means to them, what they like about it, and what they hope to improve on during the mix process. Then, I make notes of the elements of the rough mix I want to be sure to preserve. From there, I typically start from the ground up. First, I address any issues in the project (vocals that may need tuning, clicks/pops that need to be removed, etc). Next, I balance the elements of the song, paying particular attention to how each part contributes to the mood and meaning of the song. Finally, I address the dynamics of the song. I use parallel compression and automation to maximize the dynamics of the music while keeping the energy even in quiet parts. I typically get feedback from friends whose musical opinions I trust to make sure I haven't missed anything.
Mastering: I try to address the dynamics issues carefully during the mix so that nothing invasive is needed during the master. When I master, I focus on checking how the song sounds on a variety of sources and make sure the loudness and dynamics are appropriate for the platform it will be distributed, especially if that platform uses loudness normalization (like Spotify.)
Session work: I listen for space in the song to make sure my parts do not interfere with other aspects of the music. I am not afraid to play simple parts in the background but can add spice when needed. I often like to record double-tracked guitar and synth parts for extra stereo depth in case that is needed later on.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work out of a home studio which houses my computer, mixing equipment, synths, and guitar equipment. I monitor on a pair of Mackie MR5s and work in Logic or occasionally Reaper. I have NI Komplete 10 and a handful of other VSTs in addition to outboard guitar effects and a Korg Minilogue. I have two acoustics (one steel-string, one nylon), humbucker and single-coil equipped electics, and a Thunderbird bass. I run my guitars through a range of effects including a Strymon Timeline and Flint and then through a Jet City amp.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
The Edge - changed the game for how electric guitar can fit into a mix
Jeff Beck - dynamic emotional playing is always cooler than speed
Forrester Savell - phenomenal production and mixing on Sound Awake by Karnivool
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Mixing, composition/production, electric and acoustic guitar work. Because I have experience with each step in the recording process, I can be your one stop shop to perfect your song.