What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
If an engineer has only the artist listed on their credits, ask them which album they worked on for that artist. This is important for two reasons. One, it allows you to verify that all of his/her listed credits are legit. Two, it allows you to listen to the quality of their work.
How would you describe your style?
I'm typically slummin'-it in a t-shirt, jeans and Converse, but occasionally you can spot me in a nice collared dress shirt.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been professionally employed, full time, as an audio engineer since the early 90's.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Geez... I'm pretty proud of everything that I do.
As far as success goes, the most successful projects I've worked on are Black Eyed Peas 'Elephunk' which spawned a Grammy Award and has sold over 9 million units, to date.
The other one is CAKE's 'Showroom of Compassion' that charted at #1 on Billboard on 5 different charts. This was the band's first #1 hit record, and my first #1 hit record that I was the sole recording engineer on the project.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently mixing two full-length projects.
Analog or digital and why?
I embrace both formats. I come from an analog background, but love the flexibility that digital allows. Instant recall and pitch/time manipulation being digital's main strengths.
There are quite a few pieces of analog gear that are far from being emulated in software, so I haven't completely converted to strictly digital. I also love working on large format mixing consoles, where every knob and button is dedicated to a singular function. I find it more inspiring to mix this way.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
You will leave every session grinning from ear-to-ear.
What do you like most about your job?
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Q: can you turn me up in my headphones?
Q: Is Will-I-Am a nice guy?
A: What happens in the studio, stays in the studio.
Q: Can I borrow your shoes?
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
People think that hit records are made in 3 days.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
Who does your hair? Can I borrow your shoes? Why do cars park in a driveway and drive in a parkway?
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
ATC SCM-300ASL speakers. RFT CV-7049 vintage (30's) microphone, Neve 1081 preamps, pair of original Pultec EQP-1A tube EQ's, pair of original Urei blackface 1176's. Of course, since I only get 5, I'd need to fabricate some kind of recording device out of coconuts and bamboo.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Weird Al. He's funny.
Can you share one music production tip?
Stop using drum samples! Your drums sound like a drum machine dude!
What type of music do you usually work on?
My major label credits span through several genres of music styles. From gangsta' rap to big band.
What's your strongest skill?
I never say "that can't be done". I guess that means that my strongest skill is being able to overcome, and move past shortcomings of the project and persevere through the toughest of jobs.
What do you bring to a song?
I like to ensure that the recording/mix represents the song in the best possible way.
What's your typical work process?
Typical??? Work on the song till everybody in the room is bobbing their heads!
Tell us about your studio setup.
I like working out of Velvet Tone Studios, in Sacramento. The vibe is unbelievable, the ATC SCM-300ASL monitors are as good as it gets for mixing, and the huge drum room is second to none in the Sacramento area. It also houses one of the largest collections of original vintage studio gear in Northern California, in addition to a large Pro Tools HD rig (48in x 48out). I can also track to analog 2" tape when I feel the need.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I try not to get caught up in trying to be, or sound like somebody else. My whole goal is achieving what's best for the song or artist.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Most clients hire me for mixing, drum tracking and vocal sessions, although I have plenty of experience in every other aspect of music production.