Top notch Mix Engineer, with credits on 50 Cent, Redman & Method Man, Granddaddy IU, Monifah, Sadat X, MOP, Smif-n-Wesson, Sebastian Kole and more.
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1 ReviewsEndorse Lew Savage
Lew Savage has exceed the expectations of NEC Managing Partners, LLC. We trusted him with the career of our artist Alyssa Colòn and he has not only done the job of engineer but he has become a great friend that helps us get the job done every time. He Michael Jordan on the Mix and a brother with advice, we cannot see ourselves working with any other engineer or studio.
Interview with Lew Savage
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I engineered Sebastian Kole's Motown album release a couple of years back. Sebastian is an AMAZING songwriter and is the pen behind the super talented Alessia Cara. It was amazing to be a part of his process. He is truly genius level talent.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently I am working on a producer's project for HipHop veteran Granddaddy IU. He and I have been working together for years, and most people doesn't know that he's an excellent Hip Hop producer. I convinced him to set aside rapping on records for a second to concentrate on putting out a project of him producing new and veteran talent on one project. Currently we have songs with Sadat X, Craig G, Prince Po, Rah Digga, MOP, Mr. Cheeks, Steele from Smif-n-Wessun as well as some of New Yorks hottest MC's on the come up. It's going to be an important project for the "culture" this year.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Merty Shango! He's an awesome songwriter and one of my in studio clients. I have worked on several dozen of his songs both for himself and his clients and he's an amazing talent. He's actually one of the people who validated the usefulness and benefits of the Sound Better platform!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: For me, BOTH or EITHER! LOL. I am old enough to have been in music production before the advent of digital technologies, and young enough to not be an Analog purist like some of my veteran engineers are. The truth of the matter is there have been chart topping records built on both technologies so does it really matter? If a song is great, the fact that is was produced in the analog or digital world will NEVER matter! That said, I enjoy a combination of the two. As a preference, I like to stay digital, and then route out to outboard gear for bigger/warmer/unique sounds. There is a definite difference in sounds, however only us audio nerds really care about those things. The general consumer does not.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is to always bring my A game to any work that I do. I am a hard critic of music and I have no problem engaging with my clients to discuss how their music can be taken to its fullest potential.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I enjoy the creative nature of my job the most. The feeling that I get when my clients are jumping up and down in my control room because they are happy with how their musical vision has turned out.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Many of my clients often ask me about the process of putting out and promoting their music once I've finished mixing it.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That music/songs can be fixed as easily as ordering food off of a dining menu. If the effort isn't put in by the artist/producer at the song composition level, there is no amount of audio trickery than can make a bad song great. In my opinion, the greatness of a song is evident even in pre-production. The quality of a great song can be heard even as a demo.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: If they could have any successful musician's current career, who's would it be? If they could make an album made of current artist's songs as if they were their own; which songs would make up that album? That allows me to understand their production/music tastes so I can better help them cultivate a sound they're happy with.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be fearless about what your music goals are!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Computer Rig with ProTools, a Mojave MA200 Tube Mic, an Akai MPK 88 Key trigger, a pair of monitors and a Manley ELOP stereo compressor!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been doing music for the last 25 years. I got started making music as a recording artist and eventually fell into engineering and production. In 1995 I won an internship to D&D Recording studios and have been behind the scenes ever since. During these years I have worked at major record labels such as Wild Pitch, Polygram, Motown and Sony Music. In 2008 I earned a BFA in Music and Audio Technology from the City College of NY.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Clean and punchy!
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Would love to work with Jay Z. I got my start at D&D Recordings studios in 1995 when Jay was recording Reasonable Doubt. I was a lowly intern then, but I did get to work with people in his orbit (Jaz-O, Sauce Money, Ski). Who knew then Jay Z would become the artist he is today.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Put first things first. In order to paint a masterpiece, one has to first prepare one's canvas. What that means is, once the recording is done and the mix starts, clean up and organize your music sessions so that the mix process can be about creativity and not administrative tasks. As an example, order your tracks in groups by song elements and/or instruments (ie. Drums together, Bass, synths, keys, lead vocals, background vocals, etc.). Also do any utility editing that is needed; loud breaths, bad notes, coughs, etc. Save the special FX editing for later on in the process. This way you are starting the mix process with nothing but the music on your frontal lobe. :-)
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I get a lot of Hip Hop at my studio, but also receive a significant amount of R&B and Pop with occasional Rock clients.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Music Procudtion (with a capital 'P'). It is my belief that having a fantastic music bed or the best lyrics, doesn't guarantee that the song will be great. There is a ballet of elements that are integral to making a bad song good and/or a good song great. So whether I'm recording and/or mixing, ensuring that these core elements receive the proper attention increases the chances of making a great song production
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Being a musician as a younger person, and an overall student of music in multiple genres, I have an encyclopedic recollection of the strongest trends in musical tendencies. Being a 20+ year veteran in the music business, I fully understand the mechanics of producing a polished sound that is competitive with contemporary music releases.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My approach to the song production process is typically driven by the artists' vision and genre of music. Overall the key mechanics of a piece of music start with the composition and arrangement of the music and vocals, then employing certain "standards" that the genre dictates. For example, the strong drums for "Boom Bap" hip hop, the bass & 808 drums for more recent hip hop or "mumble rap", strong backgrounds and harmonies for R&B/Pop or the guitar tones for a Rock piece. By starting with the basic standards for the genre and artist, I then focus on "breaking" the standards to have the artists' song stand out in the genre they're in.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Running a HD Rig with Pro Tools 10 HD, a multitude of plugins and analog gear
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Pharell, DJ Premiere, Sebastian Kole, Timbaland, Phil Tan, Dave Pensado
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recording, Mixing, Editing and Production