Maker of Music, Turner of Knobs, Clicker of Mice, Bender of Ears, Tickler of Ivories, Wearer of Hats, and Hearer of Voices. 29 years making records professionally. Specialties: writing, producing, mixing, engineering, programming, scoring, consulting
Classically-trained in Music Composition.
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Interview with John "J-Hi" Hiler
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Split evenly between Co-Writing Sessions, Producing, and Mixing. As a former label owner, I also do freelance consulting with artists on their careers.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My inspiration comes mostly from within. Externally it's everyone from Bach to Flying Lotus. Quality is independent of the vessel.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: For production and co-writing I work mostly in commercial studios, but in my private studio I have a custom Hackintosh, a custom analog mixer, a 4 Terabyte sample library, and most plugins.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It varies depending on my role.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Vision. I can hear the final result in my head before we begin. Expertise. Classical music training, a.k.a. over-qualified. Experience. 25 years of learning from the best in the business.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Pop, EDM, Rock, Alternative, Metal.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Listen. Hear what is not said. High-pass the side-chains on your compressors.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Anyone open to trying to make the music of tomorrow.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I am water. I do not show scars. I bend to will, but I am stronger than stone.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: 26 years. Classical pianist, then Alpha MIDI idiot, then studio rat, engineer, mixer, remixer, then producer, composer. Self-employed for 23 years. Owned a couple labels eventually. An artist the entire time.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Hackintosh, MIDI controller, A/D/A converter, any decent condenser mic, and headphones.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't hesitate. Do it now. You'll be glad you did.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I want their whole story. The more I understand them – their life path, hopes, fears, dreams, goals – the better.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I'm too expensive. You get what you pay for.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What is your vision for the song/album/band/project? (Answer is classified.:-)
Q: What do you like most about your job?
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will finish on time, on budget, and I will blow your mind.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Writing and co-writing pop songs, scoring a film, mixing a metal record, and scoring a commercial for TV.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: For all my projects I am a proud papa. I love them.