Got something to say with your music and need someone who can help you put the needed polish on your project? Need some help putting a killer vocal track or guitar part on your song to give it that finishing touch? I'd love to help!
In working with you, I learn exactly what you intend to communicate with your project and extract this to the fullest extent possible to get across exactly what you want to get across. Everything I do is strictly to serve your project. This is true whether I'm singing vocals, playing guitar or bass, programming drums, producing, editing, mixing, or mastering. My goal is to get your message across with extreme clarity and the utmost quality.
I have been a professional singer/guitarist for over 2 decades. I was voted one of Music Connection Magazine's Hot Unsigned Acts in 2012, and my credits include singing lead vocals for Manny Charlton on his remake of the Nazareth classic "Hair of the Dog." In addition, over the years I have worked live and in the studio with the likes of Billy Sherwood (Yes, Asia), Jeannie Deva (Celebrity Vocal Coach), Deedee O'Mally (Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter and Lilith Fair Artist), and more. I have been working in studios - both as a session player and on my own recordings - for 2 decades. This includes adding producing and engineering to my repertoire during that time.
Check out some of my tracks below for samples of some of my work from past projects, and feel free to hit me up with any questions and for additional samples of my work. I'm looking forward to working with you!
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Johnnie Ferro
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Producing and writing are the most common tasks. This, inevitably, tends to lead to my performing something on the recording as well.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Slash is the reason I first decided to become a musician. I've never seen an artist emulate so much emotion from his instrument. Also the band Our Lady Peace is really unique and, after over 20 years doing what they love, they still love it. And it is clear - with them as well as with Slash - that what they are trying to say through their music is senior to everything else. In other words, they make the music they want, regardless of other peoples' opinions. This tends to be the viewpoint I take with the artists I work with.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run ProTools 11 through Focusrite preamps. Vox NightTrain tube amp and a Kustom Double-Barrel solid state for live guitars. Waves Gold Suite for DI recording. Shure and Audix mics are my mains. I primarily use Minarik guitars - I'm endorsed by them (www.minarikguitars.com) - and I also have a couple of Fenders as well as an LP-style guitar and a couple of acoustics when these are what's called for.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Depends on the project, but I usually like to start with a scratch track - even a rough phone recording of a vocal will do. From there, I typically start with drums, followed by guitars and bass. From there, on to vocals and lead guitars, as well as any other auxiliary instruments.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My approach is to find out what it is that an artist wants to emulate and get across, and bring that to life. From my experience, most artists have heard umpteen opinions from multiple different sources about what a good song "should be." I personally think that what matters is that the artist creates the music they want to create, as their own communication. In my opinion, the best artists are the ones who do something a little different from the pack, so to speak.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Man, I suck at blowing my own horn. I guess my integrity and my ability to really understand what an artist is trying to do and extracting that from the project. That and my honesty.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Primarily all things rock.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Keep the process organic and don't get stuck on fixed opinions. Also, don't over think what you're doing. David Campbell once said to me, "Creation is hot, fast, and easy." In other words, first impressions/impulses tend to be the best ones.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: First and foremost Slash, simply because he's been my greatest inspiration since I started playing, and I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for him as an artist. I would also love to work with Dave Grohl, mostly because I just think it would be really unconventional and a lot of fun - I really love his viewpoints on what it is to be an artist.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: s far as the breadth of my style, I guess diverse. though I primarily have hovered in the realm of rock throughout my career, I've also touched on anything from country, to rap, to pop and punk and most things in between. I'm pretty fearless in the sense that I'm willing to take a crack at anything.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing and singing for over 20 years, and actively producing for the past 5 years. I started off in high school bands in my home town, and eventually graduated to playing the local scene. After moving to LA, I pounded the pavement networking and booking any shows I could. I've always taken a very grass roots approach to things - play shows, meet people, and be open to learn and experience anything!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Oh geez - I hate these questions. I guess my Minarik Inferno, my Kustom Double Barrel, my Audix VX-5, Computer setup, and interface.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure that you really jive with the person you're looking to hire. Take the time to suss them out and make sure that your styles are compatible. The guy you're looking at may have tons of awards and be well versed in your genre, but if you rub each other the wrong way, that can put a lot of strain on the creative process. Be really honest with yourself and trust your gut!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Mostly I listen to any demo material they have and ask them things regarding where they envision the project ending up (I leave this fairly open-ended and let them paint the picture).
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: In my opinion, that it needs to fit into a well-defined, tight-reined box of how music is created. I find this not only to be not true, but to be a counter-productive viewpoint.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Typically things related to genre and who my influences are. I'm mostly a rock guy, but I have background in multiple genres and am willing to try anything. As for influences, too many to list :)
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love seeing the look in someone's eyes when the project starts to come together. Reminds me of being a kid at Christmas time. Really rewarding!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To listen to and understand you, and to help you make the song that you want to make. I will also be completely honest with you if I feel like I'm not the right fit for your project.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: With the way digital technology has evolved, I now use it for damn near everything. That being said, that's really a project-specific question.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Travis Allen at Nashville Tracks is pretty much as top-shelf as they come in terms of studio capabilities, and he's also an awesome guy! https://soundbetter.com/profiles/59551-nashvilletracks
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently producing a full-length album for LA-based indie band Josephine's Alibi. I co-wrote the music and play most of it on the album. Really catchy stuff!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My former band - No Convention - put out a full length album at the beginning of 2016. It was the first project that I was 100% the producer - start to finish. I really loved the sound and was super proud of it - particularly considering how many hours went into creating it!