Can I ask you a question?
Yup! I’m happy to answer questions and give advice when appropriate. If you’re curious about working with me or just have general question, contact me.
Can I send you my demo?
I love hearing demos. Send ’em my way. However, it will probably be a bit before I listen and even if I’m blown away by your music, I will probably have something critical to say.
What do you like?
I like strong melodies, hooks, distortion, clarity, feedback, natural sounds, supernatural sounds, contrast, emotion. Music that I find interesting arranges its components in a unique way.
Time & Money
What are your rates?
I try to arrange project rates when possible, to ensure that the process is well planned and make the total cost clear from the onset.
I aim for around $250 – 300 /day, and there is usually the cost of a couple days in a big studio necessary for drum tracking (lots of options for $350/day, some for less).
How long will it take to make a record?
For a band with a collection of well written songs, budgeting 1 song per day allows enough time to record and mix a good record at a focused, comfortable pace. Working faster than that is possible if you’re mindful of the limitations, but more involved production takes longer (eg. lots of editing/vocal tuning/etc.). There are a lot of options to weigh. I’m here to talk if you want to discuss details.
If you really want to work with me, but you’re worried about costs, feel free to reach out anyway. We might be able to find a way to make it work. At the very least, I’m happy to give you some advice.
What is your studio like?
It’s a cozy, well equipped space with a mix room and isolation booth, built for fairly neutral acoustics – great for overdubs and mixing.
Can we record drums in your studio?
I record lots of drums – in other studios. I run a small studio to keep my rates as low as possible, which means booking out a larger room for drum tracking. There are a number of amazing studio options in Seattle – I try to choose 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, 4 – 5 days mixing.
What is Production?
At its core, production is just managing the recording process, but it plays out in different ways depending on the producer’s ideas and the artist’s intent. Some producers make the beat or are heavily involved in songwriting; some just set up mics and press record; others pick a recording team, add creative direction, and steer the project from a distance; or anything in between.
How involved are you as a Producer?
Everyone needs something slightly different – I try to identify what that is and provide that support.
As an engineer/producer, I put a strong focus on tone. Sometimes things sound right when they’re blown out, or roomy, or crystal clear – I think about how to present the statement of the song.
Usually I will make small arrangement and songwriting suggestions, for example: this part feels too busy, what if we simplify or remove something? / The bridge seems to go on too long, let’s cut the last 2 measures / the chorus could sound bigger, let’s find something to add / etc.
Do you ever Co-Produce, or just Engineer?
Yes. Every record is unique and my role changes a bit with each one.
Can I record (Drums/Vocals/etc.) with you, then take the multi-tracks?
Absolutely. Whether you plan to DIY most of the record or 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/we recorded?
Of course! Whether you recorded in studio or at home, I can help you mix them up and get as much as you can out of the tracks.
What is your approach to Mixing?
I start by listening and asking questions. What is the focus of the song? Should it to sound big and punchy? Natural? With prominent effects? You can let me know what you’re thinking, or I can go with my gut.
When working on a record, I like to get a good mix on one or two songs, make sure you like the direction things are going, and take it from there. I tend to be most efficient when I can mix on my own, then have you drop by to provide input or tweak the details. Every process is unique though.
How do you handle revisions?
I use a lot of analog equipment, so while Mixing is the time to make changes. However, things come up.
After completing a mix, I try to leave all my analog settings up for a couple days, just in case you need any small adjustments (e.g. vocal up a bit, reverb down, etc.). However, ongoing revisions are difficult, as I need to reset everything for the next project.
I do take detailed notes, so changes are possible after an extended period of time.
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 final master record, from which to duplicate and release (track sequencing and some edits). That’s it.
You may be blown away by the changes or not notice a difference, either is fine. The goal is that your record sounds great wherever it is played.
Why is Mastering important?
Quality control. Making a record takes a long time and a lot of work – you played your best, the producer/engineer/mixer did their best – now it’s the mastering engineer’s turn. They will enhance what they can and correct any issues that were 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 usually 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 am happy to create a loud/limited reference mix for you – but don’t think of it as mastering.