Music and Audio Production for Virtually Anything You Can Imagine
With over twenty five years of professional experience in the music industry, I provide services that range from composing, arranging, orchestrations, session drummer / keyboardist, notation / engraving, to live music director and overall music/audio production for a wide variety of projects and styles.
I have excellent skills using Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Sibelius and Finale Notation. More importantly than the hard skills, I am a good team player and I know how to work within deadlines without sacrificing quality.
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Interview with Barclasion Music
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Music Production is what I typically do. This will entail various aspects which can include arranging and performing every instrument in the piece to recording vocals and creating a final mix. I am also capable of providing sheet music which can entail anything from a lead sheet to a full blown score of every instrument.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Great music in general can inspire me. I am constantly listening to gain insight and ideas for what I can bring to the table for my client's projects. If there is one current artist that stands out to me right now, it's Bruno Mars. His live show has me captivated by colliding current trends with the vocal groups of the 60s and horn bands of the 70s.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have what many consider to be a project studio. Basically two rooms. The control room contains all the rack gear in a custom desk my father designed for me. I use Pro Tools 12, Logic Pro 9, Ableton Live 9, Finale v25, and Sibelius. I have a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 as my audio interface, old school rack mount MIDI gear and synths, a Kurzweil PC1x, and a vast array of plugins and soft synths which includes Native Instruments and Vienna Symphonic Library. The second room houses a hybrid drum kit that I use for recording. It is a 1980s Ludwig kit that I have outfitted with silent stroke drum heads and ddrum triggers which taps into my V-drum brain. I play most of my drum parts live and capture the MIDI performance so I can manipulate sounds in the mixing process. If a client prefers to have a drum part recording in the traditional sense, then I mic up my Pearl Custom Session drum set with Zildjian cymbals.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It really depends upon the project, but if it's producing a songwriter or artists song, then this is my workflow. 1 - acquire the melody, lyrics, any notated music they may have, and get a general direction of what they envision this song sounding like, which can include asking for link examples. 2 - Do a piano/vocal demo for approval of the chord progression, tempo and general vibe of the song. 3 - Start arranging and producing the song. I'll usually go up through the 1st chorus and send a rough mix to the client to make sure they like the direction. 4 - Finish the music production and send a mix for approvals. If no vocals are to be produced by me, I'll request feedback for the mix and then do a final mix pass 5 - If there are vocals to be recorded, then I will go to that step of recording a session vocalist at my studio or through other distant options that are now available. 6 - Do a final mix #1 and send for approvals. Sometimes a final mix #2 is required. 7 - Back up the session. So as you can see, I like to keep the client engaged throughout the whole process. This helps to minimize frustrations and starting completely over when the song is finished.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring 25 years of professional experience. I've done many different types of projects and many different styles of music. I think the diversity and years of experience brings an element to a project that younger producers don't have.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I am very good at arranging/orchestrating and music production.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: It varies, but currently I am doing more Contemporary Christian / Gospel, Kids projects and I have done somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 tracks for a Classical Crossover group. That one has been fun. Taking pop songs of the 70s and 80s and colliding them with classical and modern pop music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Keep the client in the loop. It will save a bunch of time and headaches in the end.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Boy there are a bunch, but I would say Elvis. Who wouldn't want to work with the "King of Rock and Roll"? I would say because he had a diversity of styles that he would engage, but gave them that Elvis flare.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: It is diverse. I can go from classical to jazz and country to rock. But I would say my middle ground is contemporary pop with a bit of a rock edge to it.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this for over 25 years now. I started taking drum and piano lessons when I was 12 years old. Participated in school band all the way through high school. I then went to college and majored in music, of course participated in all the different ensembles. I started grad school and then life happened. I was hired as the recording and touring drummer for RCA recording artist, PC Quest. That lasted a couple years and then I was hired as a staff composer/music producer for an advertising agency. I wrote music for their clients for 7 years. For the past 18 years I have worked as a freelance music producer through my business, Barclasion Music.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Do I have electricity? I'm going to assume not. So if that is the case, an acoustic piano, a drum set, an acoustic guitar, plenty of pencils and plenty of staff paper. :)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Have good communication. As I alluded to in a previous question, this can alleviate a bunch of wasted time and frustrations. Have a good idea of what you want from the beginning. As the process goes by, if you see that original thought isn't working, speak up. Don't be afraid to also go with the flow. Each song is going to have a life of it's own. It probably isn't going to sound like "so and so". "So and so" has already been written and we can't do that or you'll get sued. Yes, stylistically it can be similar, but each song should be unique unto it's own.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What direction do you see the song, what style, do you have an song or artist examples you can provide.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's art, so it should be free.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long will it take. Most of the time in the range of 2 to 3 weeks pending availability of talent and the client's approval process.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love creating. I thoroughly enjoy the process of taking something that is just an idea, it doesn't exist, and making it a tangible reality. I enjoy the journey of the process, just as much as seeing the end result.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will treat your project as though it is my own.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I've used both. I love the warmth that analog gets, but the reality of recording is that things are now compact and the days of having a place big enough to house it all are going by the wayside. Digital offers longtime storability that will be preserved for what we can tell forever. There are plugins now, that can help emulate the warmth of an analog tape deck. So I believe the digital age is here to stay.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Yes, I have used Andrew Capra on two songs that actually my client recommended we use. He is very good! He communicates well and gets the job done in a timely manner.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Another song for "The Church of New Hymn". I have been doing consistent work for them since April of 2017 AND more track production for the classical crossover group, Divonicci.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The song that is my profile demo song, "Almighty God, King of Glory". Why, is because this song just stands out to me. It rises above many of the others I have done of recent. Gives me goose bumps! I wore many hats for this project. I was first a lyric adaptor. I took a half page essay and constructed lyrics. I wrote the melody, did the chord progressions, arranged and produced the music, produced the vocalists and created a final mix.