Can you share one music production tip?
Remember that the recording and mixing process are part science part art. Focus on the creative, don't be afraid to be different. If everyone followed the rules, many groundbreaking albums would never have been created.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Guitar based Rock/Pop generally
What do you bring to a song?
Over 35 years as a guitarist/songwriter/band member, client of recording studios and also supplier of recording/mixing services. I know a good hook, how to structure a song, and how to keep the energy and spirit of a song intact through the recording and mixing process. I bring the perspective of having grown up with classic rock in the 70s, but really came of age musically during the punk and post punk revolution (as you can probably see from my profile) of the late 70's and early 80s.
Tell us about your studio setup.
My house! I have recorded and mixed several projects at my house. The space I use is a very open and vibrant space with hardwood floors and a high 2 story ceiling of approximately 20 feet. BIG sounds! At this time however I am looking to move into a permanent dedicated facility for any further recording work. Mixing takes place in a dedicated converted upstairs back bedroom
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I recently recorded (at my house), mixed and co-produced the CD "Lights Out" by Sin City Boys from Toronto Ontario, which was released shortly after Christmas 2016. The CD has sold out and the band were extremely happy. With 2 prior releases, many of their fans considered this their best sounding record.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the mixing stage on 2 recording/mixing projects, Earthdog and The Stand Alones, and mixing one song also for an artist called Screamin Deal.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Guitar, recording device, drum machine, mic, iphone with all my music collection
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Started playing guitar at 12, various high school punk/post punk/new wave bands, bought a TEAC 144 4 track cassette deck in 1987 and thereafter was "the recording guy" in all of my bands and still am and also for others now as I focus more on the recording/mixing aspect. I still have a band together to this day, The Stand Alones, a 3 piece all original band with a punk/post punk guitar style.
How would you describe your style?
I like to record and/or mix such that the listener is convinced that the artist/band are actually performing song, yet to a professional level. I want the original spark and inspiration for the song to stay intact.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
The Cure. Rob Smith has to be one of my favorite songwriters of all time and the band have created so many different sounds and styles through their career. They never tried to sound like anyone else, they created their own signature syle.
What's your strongest skill?
People skills. Getting along with and understanding the bands I am working with and being able to envision the big picture with each song.
What's your typical work process?
When recording a full band, I like to have the drummer come early or the day before and spend several hours setting up and tuning the kit, then trying various mic positions etc depending on the style of music, and analyze test recordings together with the drummer/band. Once the rest of the band arrives again spend as much time as possible getting the sources sounding great first, then ensuring that sound is being captured satisfactorily via various mic positioning, preamps, etc.
Next, set levels, get each band member a great monitor/headphone mix, then hit record.
1. What does the band want to sound like. My job is to deliver that sound at a professional level.
2. Create a rough fader mix, see what the song is all about (if I didn't actually record it), see what its telling me, make notes on key elements, what are the feature elements of each part of the song, etc.
3. Track cleanup - pops, clicks, breaths, mute silent sections, tops and tails, notch out any annoying frequencies or howls
4. Obvious timing/tuning/pitch errors
5. Edit to correct any above mistakes
6. Phase checks
8. Tape/Console simulation
9. Fader Balance
12. Balance again
13. Repeat above steps
14. Reverbs/Delays/Harmonizers, other FX
15. Recycle all of the above until the mix sounds great!
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois, Bill Drummond, David Balfie, Warren Huart, Brian Hood, Echo and the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Jesus and Mary Chain, Interpol, The Clash, Simple Minds
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Mixing and Recording