It has always been my passion, to help clients achieve greater success, by delivering results that far exceed their expectations.
Having spent the past 30 years in studio, head-down between the speakers, I am able to draw upon a wealth of production, recording, mixing, mastering and compositional experience, across genres.
Mixing is a bit of an obsession of mine. I call it my happy place. There's nothing quite like the trance like state one enters when mixing, and the resulting sense of achievement, when the client is happy with the final picture that has been painted.
As a producer, I love taking a project from the early demo stages, right the way through to the final mix and master. I particularly enjoy working with less established artists, helping them to define their sound.
I love working with artists and styles that have a 'left of centre' edge. I always find it inspirational. Tortured souls are definitely welcome here.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
1 ReviewsEndorse DarkPopChris
Chris is incredibly attentive, thoughtful, and distinct in his POV. He leaves no stone unturned and has very keen instincts. He goes above and beyond the call of duty because he understands that's what is necessary sometimes to get the best product. I recommend him without question to anyone looking to take their work to a more "finished" place -- because let's be real, it's never REALLY finished.
Interview with DarkPopChris
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Once upon a time, I went to a Tori Amos concert. The support act was a chap with an acoustic guitar, who's songs and performance so totally captivated me. His name is Yoav. I remember walking out of the show afterwards, thinking and saying to myself, 'I so have to work with this guy', but not knowing how I could ever make that possible. Ironically, the next day, my phone rang. It was the head of Yoav's record label suggesting we work together. All I can say is, things work in mysterious ways. We ended up working together for several months, the results of which are the album Blood Vine. I am very proud of it, because Yoav turned out to be as obsessive an individual as myself. I think of it as a magical album. I recorded and mixed. Yoav and I produced.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm actually indulging my love of composition at the moment. Whenever I get the chance, I pick up my guitar, or go to my keyboard, and write. It's great being able to slowly build on ideas over time. Total recall, is so taken for granted these days.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. If budget allows, then analog dynamics and EQ going into the DAW, and then digital from there, and possibly back out to analog for the mix bus / master stage, once again, budget allowing. In all honesty, digital has come along leaps and bounds over the years. The complexity of the productions we are able to dream up now, just could not have been achieved that easily, if at all, in days gone by. I am quite happy doing a production fully digitally, and have every confidence that it can compete.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Putting genres aside for the moment, I would say that my style is detailed and textured. I can spend a huge amount of time on the tiniest of details. As an example of this detail ... when it comes to editing vocals, if it's required, then I will end up comping the perfect take together from the tiniest snippets, of many many different takes. I know I am obsessive about the best possible vocal performance.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Each song should be an evolving journey for the listener. From the first to the last bar, it should hold their attention. I feel that I am able to interpret each artist's vision for their songs, and then convey this at an emotional level, through creating the most engaging mix / production that I possibly can.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like the variety. Each day is quite different from the last. I also like the freedom of self employment that it affords. This of course, can be quite scary at times, but I feel that it's ultimately worth it.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My wife, my cat, my dog, my acoustic guitar and my solar powered smartphone ;-)
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a recording and production / mixing setup, which is fairly portable. This is generally setup in my personal studio space, or I take it out on the road, to unique recording locations, when required. I love being able to get the studio closer to nature. I spent the whole of my 20's in a window-less studio, so working with fresh air and a view is quite important to me now. Luckily modern technology allows us more opportunities to get out and about. I have Quested monitoring which I have been relying on for 20+ years. It will be a lifelong relationship. I would actually say that I have taken a minimalist approach to my studio setup. Less is definitely more. Especially when it comes to software. These days, a person could drown in their software options. I am pretty ruthless about the software that I choose to use. I hire larger studio spaces, when necessary. It always depends upon the requirements and budget of the project / client.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I first entered studios in 1987. I was fresh out of school, and had just stated my tertiary education in electronics. I had also just started knocking about in dodgy alternative bands, playing guitar. I did some studio installations and maintenance work, eventually landing an assisting job in a 48 track, tape based, multi room recording studio. This studio actually housed the exact Harrison 4032 console that was used to track Paul Simon's - Graceland album. So this is the console I was lucky enough to learn the ropes on. I of course started as cable roller and tea boy, but quickly became the studio programmer armed with an Atari ST and banks of Synths. From here I progressed to engineer, slowly working my way up the ranks. Days were filled with recoding jingles for TV commercials, nights and weekends were filled with album work. It was definitely a baptism, by sheer work load.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I have always dreamed of working with PJ Harvey. I love her ability to tell a story through her songs. She also comes across as the most genuine and down to earth person. I reckon I would thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to work with her and her collaborators.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: What I tend to do the most, is full album production. This is where I see the realisation of an artist's album, from song selection, through to the early song arrangement decisions, and then through recording, mixing and mastering. I like to be completely hands on at all stages. The other aspect of audio, that I am very busy in, is mixing. I always bring my production sensibilities into each mix that I do. I love the unique challenges, that each and every song presents. As I mentioned elsewhere, mixing is my happy place.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My typical process, is more of a non-process. I like to start each and every production, mix or composition with a blank slate. I do not use session templates in any of my DAW software. Perhaps I'm crazy, because I could be saving some time. I find the benefit of this approach, is that it keeps everything fresh. I end up going with my gut, rather than an approach that worked countless times before.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: It's not really a skill, more of a personality trait, but I would have to say that being incredibly patient with people, and the whole process of making records, is probably my strongest skill.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: My career has seen me working on practically every style imaginable. My speciality however, is to work predominantly with the alternative and electronic genres. I have always been drawn to the merging worlds, of organic / real instruments, and synthetic sounds and atmospherics. I guess this is why, as a youngster, I loved Martin Hannett's work with Joy Division. In fact, I still love it.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I'll share two ... a) Listen / work at low volumes. It really helps you to gauge whether your track is working or not. If you are getting excited by what you are hearing at low volumes, then you are on to something. b) Mono is your friend. Listen in mono while mixing in stereo. It's revealing, and can get you results faster. Keep flipping back to stereo every now and then to check your progress.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: The music producer Flood, and his partner in crime Alan Moulder were always an inspiration to me when I first started in studio. In fact I was a fan of their productions long before I was aware of their involvement in the records I was loving. I guess I was drawn to their sound world. Other notable heroes would be Martin Hannett, Butch Vig and Andy Wallace. Truly inspiring.