Can I ask you a question?
Yup! I'm happy to answer questions and give advice/comment upon request. If you're curious about working with me or just have general question, reach out.
Can I send you (a link to) my demo?
Of course! Many of the projects I work on start with a general inquiry and discussion of demos or a group's last recording. Send 'em my way.
However, if you're just looking for a critique of you're working on, it could be a while before I have an opportunity to listen and give any feedback.
What do you like?
I like music that's well performed and feels like a great representation of it's genre, or that bends genres with its own confident voice, or that expresses emotion with urgency. I like strong melodies, hooks, distortion, clarity, feedback, natural sounds, supernatural sounds, contrast, emotion.
I mostly work on noisy rock records, but I love it when I get the opportunity to work beyond that. I've worked on a little bit of everything at this point, from big band jazz to ambient electronica.
Time & Money
What are your rates?
You can find all of that info here: Rates
How long will it take to make a record?
1 song per day is a good amount of time to budget for recording at a focused, comfortable pace. Working faster than that is of course possible, but it means running through things as quickly as possible, less time for experiments, embellishments, changes.
More involved production takes time. Trying different amps or snares, evaluating and editing performances, writing new parts and performing them, quantizing drums, tuning vocals, reamping, adding effects. It all takes time.
Send me a message if you're trying to get a sense of costs: Contact
What is your studio like?
It's a cozy mix room and iso booth - great for overdubs and mixing. I start most tracking projects start in a larger studio, then move to my studio for final overdubs and mixing.
Can we record drums in your studio?
Nope, though that may change with a future studio expansion. I run a small studio to keep my rates as low as possible, which means booking out a larger room for drum tracking is a necessity. There are a number of amazing studios in Seattle - I've worked in most of them and I try to find one that feels well suited to the music we're working on.
Recording / Producing
How does a record come together?
Track "basics" (everybody playing live), add overdubs, produce/edit along the way, and mix. On a 10 day production schedule, that's something like: 2 - 3 days in a big studio tracking basics, 2 - 4 days adding overdubs, 3 - 5 days mixing.
What is Production?
Production is the process of asking - How do I want to present this song? - and working to make that vision a reality. It is the creative decision making that goes along with recording: from choice of studio to vocal level in the mix, and everything in between.
At a high level, production involves coordinating and managing the recording process. This involves setting a schedule, choosing a location/studio, sticking to a budget, etc. From there, it's up to the individual. Some producers make beats and are heavily involved in songwriting; some set up mics and emphasize a natural capture of a group's performance; others pick a recording team, add creative direction, and steer the project from a distance.
How involved are you as a Producer?
That depends, how much production input do you want? I steer toward my vision of how your song should sound (which we've probably discussed), but who's calling the shots can vary. Everyone needs something different. I try to provide the support that's necessary, producing or co-producing to some degree. Sometimes I'm guiding the process, other times I'm following the artist's direction.
As an engineer, I'm always thinking about how to capture each instrument/part in a song's arrangement. Some instruments sound best when blown out or distorted, maybe with a lot of the room's sound, but something else should probably be upfront and crystal clear. I think about the role each element and how it will all come together in the mix.
I also make arrangement and minor songwriting suggestions, like: the song feels busy, let's simplify or remove something / the intro is too long, let's shorten it / the chorus should sound bigger, let's add something / etc. It's all about what sounds good and makes the right artistic statement.
Do you ever just Engineer?
All the time. Every project is unique and my role changes a bit with each one.
Can I record (Drums/Vocals/etc.) with you, then take the multi-tracks?
Of course! Whether you're planning to DIY most of your record or want to finish up with someone else, it's all good. It just helps to know what the plan is from the beginning.
Will you mix songs that I recorded?
Of course! Whether you recorded in a studio or at home, I can help you mix them up.
In my experience, home/practice space recordings tend to have a unique tone baked in, and the challenge is in improving fidelity and making the mix shine.
Studio recordings will sound good, and often provide more flexibility when mixing. Depending on production choices, the "sound" could be well defined or a blank slate.
What is your approach to Mixing?
I try to listen to everything and start sculpting back. EQ away what's not needed and put each instrument in its own space, highlight what's important. You can lay out a concept or I can go with my gut.
When working on a record, I like to start with one or two songs, establish a sound, and go from there. I tend to be most efficient when I can mix mostly on my own, while coordinating times for you to drop by, provide feedback, and tweak the details. Every process is unique.
How do you handle revisions?
I try to mix in stages, receiving feedback along the way; in other words, multiple rounds of revisions happen naturally. Usually it's pretty clear when another day is necessary vs. a small adjustment.
It takes time to recall the settings on all of the equipment being used in a mix, so I usually can't quickly spin off requests outside of scheduled time. We'll talk about the schedule and deadlines along the way to make sure the mixes turn out right, and I'll always accommodate if you need an important adjustment.
What is Mastering?
For some reason mastering is shrouded in mystery - it's a craft that requires knowledge and artistry, but it's not difficult to understand the basics. Mastering is: 1. Processing mixes to make them sound their best (usually just EQ and compression), and 2. Making a "master," which is the final version of the album/EP/single, to be duplicated and distributed (track sequencing, edits, and file formatting). That's it.
The goal is that your songs sounds even better, and they sound great wherever they are played.
Why is Mastering important?
Quality control. Making a record takes a long time and a lot of work, and by the time it's mixed, everyone involved has heard the songs a million times. The mastering engineer brings a fresh perspective along with their skills, and will enhance and correct what was overlooked. When the process is done, you will have a record that sounds as good as possible.
Will you Master something that you Mixed?
Very rarely. I'm not the best person to perform quality control on my own work. However, I am happy to recommend mastering engineers and oversee the process on records I have mixed.
I will create loud/limited reference mixes upon request - which sometimes get released - but don't think of that as "mastering."