I am a singer/songwriter and worship leader in Charlottesville, VA. Circa 1983. I have a small project studio with some vibey gear. Here I mostly record vocals, guitars, and a few other select instruments (upright bass, accordion, hammer dulcimer, mandolin, banjo, violin/fiddle, and alto/soprano sax). I also mix alot of live albums for churches.
Regarding mixing, the genre I mix the most is live worship (and Christian) music. I can take your basic live recording and make it sound like anything the industry is putting out there. I'm great with polishing drums, glueing the band together, and getting vocals really dialed in nice.
Of course, this isn't just for live music. I also produce, mix, and master alot of singer-songwriter and Americana music. I can take your song from a basic acoustic recording and send you back a fully produced track, all in-house either by myself or my network of musicians.
I've been doing this half my life, and enjoy making music. Please let me know how I can help!
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Interview with Dave Herring
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I wrote, produced, oversaw the live event, and mixed a record called "Our King Has Come" for The Point Worship, and it turned out awesome. Love the live feel, and obviously love the songs. :-)
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: As of January 2018, I'm fully producing five records this year. Three are solo albums, and two are live worship albums. I'm taking on more clients this year as well, so shoot me a message about your project!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Analog going in, digital for workflow.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I won't settle for 'good enough.' You will get my best.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being creative!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: To explain the process, which I did a few questions ago.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That the cheapest option is the best option. So many people are looking for the least-expensive rather than the best they can afford. That's really what it comes down to - hire the best you can afford. If that's me, let's do it. If you can afford better, then by all means, get someone better. We're all artist, and not everyone is a Picasso.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Too many probably. I want to know exactly what you're trying to do.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If it feels right, let's do it.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: - My Martin D35 - A ribbon mic - API 512 - LA2A - Necessary gear to get it into the computer...and a computer. ;-)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've actually worked full-time in music since graduating college with a counseling degree. I've been full time as a combination of musician, worship leader, and audio engineer since 2006. Before that during the college years, I ran a small studio out of my dorm room. Before that, it was that 4-track Tascam out of my friends basement.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: A blend of organic sounds (sounds that are made with human hands by physical objects vibrating) with the best of the digital world.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I've worked with several, but the type of artist I like to work with is someone who can listen to their song(s) like a consumer, and still feel what the listener can feel. That's the best way to evaluate the final product.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I was told a long time ago by an engineer that if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. No amount of mixing can mask 'bad.' Therefore we should be most concerned with capturing great performances, and crafting our art to do so.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Mostly live worship albums, but I do alot with studios as well. Working on live albums has made studio albums much easier for me!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm really meticulous at vocals. I fine tune every. single. note. I'm really good at getting vocals to beautifully ride in a mix.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I like to think I mix like a musician, not an engineer. I'm a singer/songwriter myself, and I want my work honored because it represents me. I understand what goes into the process, and therefore understand what needs to come out of the process. I started tracking and mixing when I was in high school with a Tascam four-track tape recorder, and it's crazy to think of where that has brought me today.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Depending on what the job entails, I usually ask the client alot of questions to really get a crystal clear picture of what they're looking for. It's all art, and I want to make sure we're honoring that. From there, I get to work tracking, mixing, or mastering. Once I get 95% there, I send a demo to the client to give a thumbs up, then I wrap it up. I'm not satisfied until my clients are.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: For recording, I mostly just do vocals or guitars in my studio. I have a few different signal paths, with my two go-to mics being an AEA R84 ribbon mic, and a Miktek C7 condenser. These go through some hardware before getting into Pro Tools, whether thats my UA610 MKII, UA 710, API 512, or AEARPQ500 preamps into my API 550A, Distressor, or 1176 gear. It all goes into Pro Tools through Apogee hardware. Once in the box, I use a plethora of plugins from Waves, Soundtoys, Fabfilter, Antares, Melodyne, and some other companies out there. If I had to choose 3 or 4 plugins that are on everything, it's the Waves API, SSL, and CLA plugins, as well as Fabfilter EQ. I do alot of programming in Reason 10, and have several refills for that. I also use Arturia V collection for synths and pianos.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love the sound of Bethel Music and Jesus Culture. The sound of Elevation and Hillsong are great too, just a little more 'produced.' I'm also a singer/songwriter and love the Americana genre, and there is such diversity in that genre that it's hard to name just one or two that inspire me. Vocal duets like Freddy and Francine are really resonating with me right now.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: It changes through the years, but in this season I'm doing alot of mixing for live and studio worship/ccm/gospel albums. This also involves overdubbing guitars, and some programming as well.