AES recording competition medalist, audio professor, former studio owner, and assistant to Grammy winning engineers.
Kyle Holland is a music producer, engineer, and mixer originally hailing from Chicago Illinois, now residing in Nashville Tennessee. Kyle's musical journey started at a young age while playing his grandmother's organ. Since then, Kyle's musical career has spanned from playing clarinet & trumpet, studying classical piano, and finally to playing guitar and writing music for many rock bands.
Kyle attended a Grammy winning high school where he studied music theory and was first introduced to music production technology. After writing music and performing for a variety of rock bands, Kyle decided to move to Nashville and attend Middle Tennessee State University to attain a degree in audio production. While attending MTSU, Kyle received many honors for his engineering work. He was as a member of MTSU's 2015 Mix team, served as an officer for the schools AES chapter, and was the VP of audio production for Omega Delta Psi, the leading music industry fraternity. He also received the bronze medal during the 2016 AES international studio recording competition in Los Angeles California.
Now Kyle continues to produce, engineer, and mix local artists from the Nashville area while teaching courses at MTSU in digital audio technology.
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Interview with Kyle Holland
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Being able to assist on an Alison Krauss session was really cool and a great opportunity for me. All of the personnel involved were just brilliant and some of the best in the business at what they do. It was just really fun to watch it all happen.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Mixing and mastering an album for a rock band from here in Nashville.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'm afraid i'm not really sure who is on soundbetter than I know.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. Analog does sound cool, but not cool enough to make up for the lack of efficiency and flexibility that digital has in strides. Plus with todays plugins and technology, we can get really close to emulating analog without all the headaches.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That you will get a song you are happy with and that meets or exceeds your vision.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That not only do I get to work on music all day, but it provides me the opportunity to have a hand in all different kinds of music. I also like how audio engineering is the perfect blend of left and right brand thinking.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: They usually ask how long it takes to do one mix, to which I'll response, typically 2 days. The first day is for the main mix. The second day is so that I can listen to the mix on fresh ears and with a fresh perspective to make any final adjustments.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That mixing is merely adjusting volume levels.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Their influences for the project, what has been done already and what needs to be done, and what type of music is it?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Do what's best for your music and not your wallet. Don't let money be the overall deciding factor in the decision you make regarding who you decide to work with. Choose the person you believe understands your project the most and overall does great work and provides great customer service.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: -UAD apollo -UAD plugins -Royet 122 -ADAM A7X -Laptop
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Like most producer/engineers I started out as a musician. I took piano lessons, played clarinet and trumpet in the school band, and took music theory courses in high school. While in high school I purchased a guitar and began playing and writing music in various rock bands. Up through college I continued to play and go in and out of the studio with various rock bands before I got the itch to try producing myself. I'd always thought it was cool but never really had the time or money to pursue it. After I graduated college I saved enough money to start investing in gear and learning how to record. After a few years of doing music production and audio as a hobby. I decided to move to Nashville and attend Middle Tennessee State University to get a bachelors and eventually my masters degree in audio engineering. While in graduate school I run a small studio near the college and tough classes on the side. I still teach and assist other other engineers in town while continue to do freelance work of my own.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is very no nonsense, yet clean and natural. I generally just try and serve the song and not do things that are too crazy and flashy. I also like big, epic, and at times ambient sounding mixes where all the elements seem almost melded together into one giant musical beast.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: The Foo Fighters because they are one of my favorite rock bands right now and they all seem like really cool dudes who have passion for the recording side of music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Let the song tell you what it whats and don't try and make the song something it's not.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on a variety of things. I've worked on rock, pop, hip hop, country, folk, jazz, EDM, and everything else in between. My favorites though are all types of rock, americana, pop and electrnoic.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: For me, mixing and engineering is my strongest ability. I feel I've always had a pretty sensitive ear and a good sense for tone. I've always listened to music like a mixing engineer.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I've been in bands, written songs, and be on the musicians side of glass, so I know what an artist hopes to get from their engineer and the entire production process.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First, I like to to talk to the artist to get a sense of who they are and what their vision is for the song. Once I get the song, I like to build a rough mix first based on my own first impressions. After that I might references the rough mix to see if there are any elements I like better or hints I get about what the artist's intention was. Finally, I apply my processing and see where I stand. Most likely I'll sleep on the mix, rest my ears, and make any final revisions the following day.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have 4 channels of Vintech Preamps, 8 channels of Focusrite preamps, all running into an UAD apollo. I mix on Adam A7X speakers and use plugins from UAD, Waves, Fabfilter, Izotope, Sound Toys, Steven Slate, and a variety of other manufacturers.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: George Martin, Brian Wilson, Al Schmitt, Andrew Scheps, CLA, David Bendeth, Vance Powell, Mutt Lange, Dave Grohl,....
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Typically I do a mixture of engineering and mixing work for my clients.