How would you describe your style?
Personally, I'm a rock fan with punk sensibilities, and 80's rock guitar god aspirations. Professionally, I want to a combination of a mirror and map; I want to show you whats there and where to go from here.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I would love to work with Billie Joe Armstrong and/or Green Day. His sense of songwriting, especially on Green Day's new records, his very efficient. Everything is distilled down the bare minimum for maximum effect. I would like to know how he approaches a new tune, how he approaches a new melody or lyric that's grabbed his attention.
Can you share one music production tip?
Know when you're being honest and when you're trying to force something. The best songs I've ever written or produced or recorded happened when I got out of my own and let the song tell me where to go. It sounds corny, but when you're trying to prove something, you usually just prove that you've got more to learn. I just want to make good music.
What type of music do you usually work on?
That is like asking what type of food do I usually eat: I enjoy it all. My professional credits include hard rock, reggae, orchestral recordings, singer/songwriter, pop-punk, and pop. (I must admit though, I have a soft spot for punk/alt rock/pop-punk in the vein of "American Idiot" era Green Day.)
What's your strongest skill?
I am an editor by trade: what takes should take hours to accomplish in Pro Tools, I accomplish much quicker. I find that combining this efficiency with my performance experience makes for a quick and pleasant song writing/recording experience.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring a wealth of musical experience across multiple genres, instruments, and recording/live performance settings. I bring a personal worldview thats been informed by growing up in the rural Midwest and establishing my career in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. And I bring a strong work ethic and drive for perfection that focuses me in on the job at hand.
What's your typical work process?
On a technical level, my workflow really depends on the job. Editing is different from writing, obviously, and both are separate from mixing/mastering. But there is a common thread throughout all the different hats I wear: I work to find the soul of the song, and illuminate or clarify or reveal or add to that. That's my purpose; to further the song. And if I'm writing the tune, that's the starting point. What is this song about? What is this feeling I'm hearing in my head? Some times I answer those questions after the song is halfway done, sometimes they guide the process from the beginning. But it's all about the song.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work out two different studios depending on the project. They're within a half mile of each other, and really, one is my editing/writing rig, and the other is my tracking/mixing/"work" rig. I run Pro Tools 12 in both rooms, with a full compliment of Waves and Slate Digital plug-ins, and every sample library you can think of. My guitar collection is something of personal pride for me, and includes a Heritage H150, Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, Gibson SG (w/Seymour Duncan Alnico II's), Fender Custom Shop Telecaster, and what I loving call my "FrankenStrat," which has Lollar Specials in the neck and mid spots, and a Frail P90 in the bridge. I track midi drum performances on a Roland TD25KV and massage them in Superior Drummer to get just the right sound. The studio brain is a brand new MacBook Pro working with a Waves SoundGrid for I/O. Monitors depend on the day, but I always have Presonus E8's and Avantone Mix Cubes up for reference.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Right now, Andrew Scheps is really blowing my mind. Green Day's Revolution Radio came out a little while ago, and I'm continually impressed with how Scheps gets out of his own way and lets songs breathe. You don't hear his compression techniques right off the bat, you hear the emotion of the song. That's sometimes rare in a "pop" music producer/mixer.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
The first thing that got me into the industry was editing. I had developed my ear for rhythm studying percussion in college, and for melody playing in original bands. I can hear what someone meant to do on their recording, and shift the waveforms slightly to emphasize that. Mixing naturally followed editing, and during this entire process, I've been recording bands, writing original material, and playing live. I usually average about 4 live shows a month, covering a few different genres and instruments.