Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I'm proud of everything I do. I don't let something out the door I wouldn't put my stamp on!
Analog or digital and why?
Both. It's no longer about which is better; they both have their strengths and "sounds". I appreciate both sides, have equal experience in both and utilize both in every project I work on.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I won't stop until you're 110% stoked. I've yet to have anyone who wasn't!
What do you like most about your job?
I never have to wake up bummed out that I have to go to work. :D
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
What do I send you for mastering?
I prefer to stem master over the conventional stereo bounce master. As I mentioned elsewhere, most people want maximum volume these days and most producers and engineers aren't able to properly mix a track to allow for the desired end-result volume wise. So by using the stem mastering approach, I'm able to correct issues as they arise and engineer individual sounds to enable to most optimal end result. I still do stereo masters upon request, but I'll always advise stem mastering for the best results. In either case, my goal is not to change the sound of the record; I always respect and aim for what the artist is going for.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That anyone can do it after a bit of YouTube and Googling or with some magic plugins. When it takes decades of time and effort to arrive at a professional level and when there is no shortcut to acquiring these skills and abilities, that has to be valued. Professional engineers are not your friend in his bedroom with an Ozone 7 torrent. ;)
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
This varies with every situation, of course. But one thing I always ask for is 2-3 reference tracks!
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
It's cliche, but in this industry you do get what you pay for. If you are trying to take what you're doing seriously, it takes investment (in all facets). If you don't feel confident enough to invest in what you're doing, how could you expect someone else to?
Steer clear of budget services being offered mostly by "bedroom engineers" or automated services. There is a large sea of internet sharks looking to make a quick buck off uneducated people pursuing their dreams. Make sure to listen to examples of work and also that you generally just like the person. As I said before, our art is precious to us so it's important to feel comfortable and vibe well with the people you entrust to be a part of your team. Before I did this myself, I sought people who treated my art with the same love, care and passion that I treat my own.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A Shure SM7b, an Antelope Orion Studio, my guitar, a pair of monitors and the Dangerous Compressor (assuming the laptop doesn't count as "gear" haha).
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been at this music thing for over 2 decades. I've had great success as an artist myself in a metal band (guitarist/songwriter) in the late 90's/early 2000's reaching the level of playing shows for 20k+ people, and more recently as the producer/vocalist for a live electronic group called NU.F.O. We've spent the last 5 years touring the USA to crowds of thousands. My foray into the engineering side of things started around the time of my first real band, after we had to pay $3000 to record our first record. We were fortunate to have done that record at the world renowned Longview Farm Studios, and I was allowed to be hands on through much of the process; sculpting sounds, general mixing and automation moves, etc. (and on the same board Queen tracked Bohemian Rhapsody, no less!). We also tracked to tape so I got to learn that end of things before the digital revolution took over. Anyways, I decided I could do it myself and immediately bought some gear and started recording my own music, and other local bands. 20+ years later, here I am successfully doing this for a living! I've recently grown a bit worn on touring and doing my own stuff, so I've shifted focus to being more behind the scenes and helping others.
How would you describe your style?
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I'd love to work on a collaboration with Deadmau5, mostly because I greatly admire his sound design, the moods of his tracks and his engineering, but also because we both approach writing in a similar fashion. Plus, have you seen the dude's studio?!
Can you share one music production tip?
Today, it's all about volume. But you can't just make a track loud, it has to be engineered for it. Engineering for volume means a VERY clean mix; minimal to no overlapping freqs/freq build up, precise low end control, and programmed dynamics because if something is loud start to finish, it's actually not perceived as such.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Electronic ("EDM", all sub-genres), Rock, Metal, Pop, Hip-Hop...really everything except Country.
What's your strongest skill?
Again, not trying to sound cocky here, but I'd say my biggest skill is being equally skilled in everything surrounding music and audio!
What do you bring to a song?
PASSION - Comes free of charge.
EXPERIENCE - Over 2 decades of experience in the analog and digital realms for the best of both worlds. Whether it’s warm and dynamic you’re after, or maximum punch and volume for a club banger, I’m equally capable on both ends and everywhere in between.
TALENT - Musically, I’m a multi-instrumentalist with proficient coverage of all the bases: vocals, guitar, drums, bass, keys, synths, programming, production, sound design and more. You can rest assured knowing I can comfortably tackle whatever’s thrown at me.
AFFORDABILITY - Everyone wants pro sound but can’t always afford the pro price tag. I’ve developed pricing with options to meet everyone’s needs while providing those pro results alongside flexible budgeting. I do this because I love it, not to get rich off your back.
EVOLUTION - Music and technology are constantly evolving. A lot of artists and engineers seem find a comfortable place and wind up stuck in their ways. Not me. You could say I have a bit of OCD towards keeping up with the latest music trends, gear, plugins, etc.
SUCCESS - With a proven track record navigating this industry both with my own projects and my clients’, I have fostered success with a fearless, forward-thinking approach. I want to do more than just help you sound your best because when you win, we all do.
What's your typical work process?
Because every artist or project is different, I can't specifically outline my work process because I adapt to what produces the best results in every situation. I'll sum up my approach with the following:
I was an artist myself before I became anything else, so I know very well how precious what we create is to ourselves. I take great pride and joy in being able to help other artists arrive at the realization of their artistic vision. There is nothing better than seeing how happy someone is when the end result comes out better than they could've imagined! Anything I create myself for use by others gets the same treatment; I'm passionate and OCD in a good way regarding everything I work on.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have 2 studios; my tracking studio and my mixing/mastering studio.
As you could guess, I do all my recording at the tracking location (Manchester, NH) which is outfitted/geared towards that end of things. There's a wonderful selection of all the standard mics you'd find in a high-end studio, as well as some of the top analog gear on the market to run them through. With a spacious control room, massive live room outfitted with multiple drum sets, amps and cabs (should you need them), an on-site club-grade sound system for rehearsal, a leisure room featuring a giant HD projector screen with PS4/Netflix/Hulu/Amazon and Bose theater sound, a full kitchen and full bathroom with washer and dryer, I can quite comfortably accommodate both local artists and those who wish to travel to me for an extended stay/recording session. Save your dough for the recording process, no need to rent a hotel here :)
My mixing/mastering location (on a lake just outside Worcester, MA) is oppositely outfitted, with the focus being on post-tracking. I run a hybrid setup using both plugins and all mastering-grade outboard gear. The mastering chain, specifically, is entirely outboard with the exception of limiting. I also do a lot of my production here, or writing of parts/songs that don't require the recording of real instruments or vocals. I monitor on 5 different reference systems to ensure translation and optimal sound across any and all end-user listening environments.
Both locations are outfitted with multiple midi controllers for performance/control of synths, etc. I've amassed a serious collection of plugins over the past 2 decades. I've yet to encounter someone who passed me a project utilizing one I didn't already have!
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
My favorite band of all time is the Deftones. I appreciate their ability to constantly be morphing and pushing themselves, while finding continued die-hard success along the way. Engineering-wise, I'd say the person I've learned the most from has been Luca Pretolisi. But really, I look up to anyone who tries to forge their own trail, or goes against the grain while finding success or defining their own niche. I prefer originality over copying others. Don't get me wrong though, I appreciate all artistic expression!
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A bit of everything! What I'm doing varies day to day. From tracking sessions, to editing, production/co-production, songwriting, mixing, mastering, live sound, remixing, web sites, video editing...lol I could go on. I'm not trying to be cocky when I say I cover all the bases, it's the truth!