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! Send 'em my way. Let me know about your project and why you're writing/sending me your demo, and I'll give it a listen when I have a chance.
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 voice, or that expresses emotion with urgency. I like strong melodies, hooks, distortion, clarity, feedback, natural sounds, supernatural sounds, contrast, emotion.
I mostly work with noisy rock bands, but I love to work on projects in other genres. I've recorded a little bit of everything at this point, from ambient electro to big band jazz.
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 adjustments, embellishments, experiments.
Detailed 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 small studio, just mix room and iso booth - great for mixing and overdubs. I start most projects in a large 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 that booking a larger space is necessary when recording drums or live groups. There are a number of amazing studios in Seattle - I've worked in most of them, and I like to pick a studio with the right vibe for the music we're recording.
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 should this song be presented? - and working to make that vision a reality. It is the creative decision making that is a part of the recording process, from choice of studio to vocal layering, and everything in between.
At a high level, production is the coordination and management of 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 or are heavily involved in songwriting; some just 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? Everyone needs something different. On most recording projects, I fill in the gaps and 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 or part in a song's arrangement. Some sounds are best when blown out or distorted, maybe with a lot of room sound, or upfront and crystal clear. I like to consider how it will all come together in the mix.
Arrangement and minor songwriting suggestions can also come into play. For example: the verse 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.
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 to mix?
Of course! Whether you want to DIY most of your record, or plan to finish recording or mixing with someone else, it's all good. It helps me to know the plan 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, the challenge lays in improving fidelity and making the mix sound cohesive.
Studio recordings sound good and often provide flexibility when mixing. Depending on production choices, the "sound" can 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."