Currently working with Space Knife (seen in Stranger Things).
Mix/Master Engineer, Producer, Musician (Guitar, Bass, Piano/Synth, Drums, Ukulele, Vocals, Voice Over), Editor.
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5 ReviewsEndorse James Curtis
James was great to work with and he was super helpful in shaping our sound and getting the most out of our songs. I will definitely work with him on future projects.
As always James did a fantastic job on a reamping job for me. I highly recommend him for ANY artist needs. He just does a good job always. Thanks!
I was most impressed by James' ability to interpret my vision into the specific sound I wanted for my project. He instantly understood any musical reference I mentioned, resulting in tracks that felt familiar but sounded entirely original. James can magically produce any attempt at a song, while keeping it's integrity, as if the finished song was always supposed to sound that way.
James is amazing! He helped take my demos and turn them into incredible sounding radio quality songs. I highly recommend him and will definitely work with him again.
Working with James has been nothing short of amazing. Not only has he catered to my specific needs or issues, but he's made me a better musician in doing so. He will be forever recommended and he will be my go to producer/mixer etc. Thanks James!
Interview with James Curtis
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I do what it takes to meet the client's expectations. Sometimes that includes retracking instrument takes or BG vocals, for instance. Sometimes it includes performing all instruments for a song that was sent as an acoustic demo. And even sometimes that includes leaving things as they are to keep the feel. It's the clients vision, and my job is to help them get as close as possible to what's in their head.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I would say Butch Walker is probably my most influential person. He's a master of all trades - entertaining, producing, and an amazing musician.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Mixing - I like to listen to what the overall idea of what the song is. What kind of mood is it going for? Then I start listening to individual parts and deciding where they need to be to add to the mood and go from there. Tracking - I like to start with drums typically. Get a scratch track from everyone and let the drummer do his/her thing. Tracking is the most exciting part to me because you get to interact with the client and help them get the best performances they never new they had in some cases.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Every project is different, but I like to push everything in the direction to servethe song. I love working with people to push them beyond their known capabilities. Its always an amazing feeling when you hear how proud people are of their performance that you helped them achieve.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Being versatile is the most important skill anyone can have today. You need it to survive. If its something I can't do, I know someone who can. The goal is to make the best possible product, and knowing how to get it done is what keeps everything moving.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: If i had to narrow it it to one genre, i would say rock. That's probably about as vague as one can get.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Gain stage!!!! Do it right, and the rest is easy!
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Eric Nally would be really fun to work with, I think. He's an amazing talent, and he conveys so many emotions through his vocals, and that's what it's all about in the end.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 2 Distressors, 1 Fatso, and an SSL Comp. Wait that's 4... and an entire recording studio... does that count as one "piece of gear"?
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you wanting to get out of your project, but more importantly, what are you willing to put in?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception is that it's easy. However, people tend to not credit most for their efforts before they were good at their talent. This goes for anything - sports, music, etc. Most people don't see the hours upon hours of not hanging out with friends, not going out, or just not having a life in general. They just see that you make it look easy, and it's really not. This also goes for tracking... I mean, its a 3 min song, it should only take like 10 mins to track everything, right? :)
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Do you have paypal and/or venmo? Yes, both. What does this do? What does that do? Can we fix that in post?
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To not suck.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style would probably fall more on the modern side of production. I like to embellish things a lot. Big harmonies, big guitars, big drums...
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: DAW - Protools HD, Logic Plugins - Slate, Waves, UAD, Soundtoys, and others Hardware - Distressors, Fatso, Avalon Comp, Sansamp RBI, Orban 418a stereo limiters, Vintech 573 pres, CAPI VP28 Pres, Bogner (Shiva, Ecstasy) Amps, Fender American Strat and American P-Bass, PRS McCarty Most importantly, I have EARS. :)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been a musician since i was 12, so about 22 years now. I have been recording since i was around 16. Everyday I learn something new still. ::cue "The More You Know"::
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: PPPPPP - Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance This applies in all aspects of life also.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: What makes all of this worth the hard work is the excitement that people experience when they watch their project come to life. Establishing these relationships with clients is an amazing experience that builds trust and friendships. Who wouldn't like doing this!?!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, because it's 2018 and technology exists. :) Having hardware is both fun and provides a physical connection with music (and I think it sounds better). Having a digital rig provides consistency and repeatability. Working with remote clients digital makes arranging/producing music much more efficient for both the engineer and client.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: 100% would recommend Jake Hartsfield. I recently met him in Nashville through a mutual friend. Upon talking we both found out we were on SoundBetter. Jake's work is top notch!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently working with Space Knife and The Gullibles.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am proud of every project I work on. Even if I look back and I think it isn't my best work now, it was the best I could do then. It shows forward movement, and that is the end goal for me - improvement.