What's your typical work process?
I am very passionate about my projects. I tend to go back and forth and listening on different sets of monitors, in the car etc. Lots of little tweaking as I go.I like to have several projects going on at the same time and jump back and forth throughout the day which helps me stay fresh.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
The country song I just mentioned was a surpass since I don't usually get work in that genre. It was recorded on "music row" by an A team producer and engineer so it was a great recording to start with. I was tasked with mixing and mastering the song. It turned out great, in fact the client had no revisions at all!
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished a rock/country song that was produced and recorded in Nashville which was a blast to work on. Everyday is something new!
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I am new to the site and haven't noticed any collegues yet. I will keep an eye out!
Analog or digital and why?
I use a combination of the two. I use Pro Tools HD and I like a lot of the plugins from Steven Slate, Waves, Fab Filter, etc. But I also love outboard analog equipment. It has a sound that just can't be duplicated. Heavy transformers, vacuum tubes, and outboard compressors. Its the perfect combination. It takes a little longer but the result is worth it.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I promise that they will be happy with the outcome of the project. I like to check in a lot along the way to make sure we are both on the same page and no one is going to be surprised at the end of the project.
What do you like most about your job?
Being able to work around creative people doing something thats always changing and learning something new all the time.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Can you fix this? HA, but its a common question. My answer is, "I can certainly make it better!"
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Maybe that we do this for the money....I have met mixers that work on big major records that have to have a second job to pay their bills. We do this for the love of the music or not at all. I am blessed to be doing what I love.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What do you want to get out of the experience? What other piece or artist has a sound similar to what you are looking for and why? What does your art mean to you? What are you trying to do with your song/record/art?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
I would say that I am small enough that I still want to make sure every client is very happy. My business is mostly word of mouth so its of the utmost importance to me that the project turns out great. I am willing to do as many revisions as it takes to make my clients happy. I was so happy when I was able to quit my day job and focus on this work so everyday I am excited to go to work and it shows.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
First off if I had to choose I would do mastering. That said I love my HG2, my API 5500 and 2500 and my Manley Massive Passive. I also love the Barefoot Monitors but I don't have those yet.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I have always been a musician. I started lout playing drums at age 10 and over the years learned a little bit of guitar, keyboards, midi programming, and even a little singing. I got my bachelors degree in audio production in 1993 and worked in audio retail for a while because at that time home studios were very expensive.
In 1999 I put together my first home recording rig and started recording my band and friends bands. It did that for many years on the side until 2013 when I was finally able to quit my day job and focus on audio full time. I built my first professional studio at that time in the Washington DC area and mainly just recorded bands and mixed records. I knew I wanted to start mastering but the room we were in didn't really work for that in the first location (even though I did some). In Jan 2017 I moved to NJ to a suburb of NYC and was able to build out the space I needed to do recording as well as mastering. I now have 2 spaces and can have a recording session and a mastering session going on simultaneously.
How would you describe your style?
I guess I would say "audiophile", I do whatever I can to get a great sounding record. I like width and depth in a recording. I like surprises and I like excitement. I like to have dynamics and not have everything just slammed whenever possible.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I am a big fan of Leon Bridges and would love to work with him someday. I dig his style and keeping everything traditional in the recording process. It would challenge me and take me outside of my normal setup but it would be worth it.
Can you share one music production tip?
I am really into saturation and harmonics. I love the Black Box HG2 because it adds these elements in a very pleasing way. I have been using it a lot on masters lately. Mixing wise, sound image is everything in my opinion. I want to close my eyes and see the artists in front of me playing the song. The more vivd the better!
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work on whatever I think I can make sound great. Rock records, country, jazz, blues, techno. I personally write mostly rock music or sound scape type stuff that you might hear in a movie or video game.
What's your strongest skill?
Probably the ability to listen to the same material and keep a fresh attitude even after many listening sessions. Jumping from one project to another during the day helps keep my ears fresh.
What do you bring to a song?
I think I bring a fresh ear and ideas that I like from other material I enjoy listening to. Like most audio engineers I have picked up a lot of great ideas from other producers I have worked with, studied under, and admired from a distance. Mainly I bring my audiophile background and the quest to make things sound as great as possible.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have a full recording studio (live room and control room) that was custom built in my NJ home. It took several months to complete and is very dead acoustically. I create all of the room ambiance using high end digital reverbs. Not being saddled with one sound in the recording space gives me a lot of flexibility. I also have a separate mastering room with different monitors (Focal Twin 6BE) and an array of handpicked audiophile outboard analog gear (Manley Massive Passive, Black Box Analog HG2, API, Crane Song, Antelope, etc).
Earlier in my career I owned a high end stereo shop in Washington DC that specialized in vacuum tube, 2 speaker, mostly hand built listening setups ranging from $10,000-$100,000. This was 20 years ago so you get an idea of the level of equipment I was selling. I have tried to bring that same quest for audio nirvana to what I do now for my clients.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I am a big fan of artists like Vangelis and Jóhann Jóhannsson and that shines through in my personal style of writing, producing, and mixing. I also love Trevor Horn's larger than life style with production and mixing. I like to make music that sounds better than whats actually possible to pull off live.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Since moving to NJ from Washington DC I have mainly been doing mixing and mastering work for clients around the country. I do outboard analog mastering using boutique equipment and high end converters to get a very audiophile sound.