Some answers to some questions that I get asked a bunch
Will you mix my record that was recorded elsewhere?
Yes, a high percentage of my work is mixing for artists from all around the world. I have worked with bands from Ireland, U.K, Europe, USA, Australia, South Africa, all from my mix room. It is usually preferred for me to talk with the engineer that will be recording your songs BEFORE you start recording.
Will you come to record us where we live?
Sure! It often makes more sense for me to come to you rather than flying in 5/6 people to me.
How far in advance do you book?
Usually anywhere from 3 to 6 months in advance, but sometimes gaps open up due to schedule changes, so please get in touch if you intend to work in a shorter time frame.
Do you work on one type of music only?
No, I am lucky to have been asked to work on music from a lot of different styles and backgrounds. I work on the various sub-genres of rock, metal, punk, hardcore, electronic, dark ambient, pop, noise, post-rock, lo-fi indie, hip-hop. Once the music has an artistic statement, some integrity and is not afraid of some distortion, I’m usually willing to take it on.
How long should we book for recording?
It varies greatly depending on the level of preparedness on your behalf, the meticulousness of the production required, the style of recording i.e playing live together / overdubbing one at a time and the project budget. As a general rule of thumb (everyones thumb is a different size) to record 1 song allow 2-3 days in studio. An E.P of 5 songs 5-8 days. Most albums take anywhere from 10-30 days. It’s always best to book more time than you think you will need, in 13 years of recording I have never had spare time at the end of the session that wasn’t used to make something better and experiment. More time = more chances for creativity and experimentation. Mixing is carried out after the recording as a separate process.
What are your rates?
Rates are very much a matter of conversation rather than a strict menu price as every project is unique. Choosing a producer for your music should be a pairing of the right creative people on the same team. When getting in touch with me, it's best to tell me what the intended project budget is. Even if your budget is low, I won't be insulted by you asking! Who knows, if I'm excited by the music I very well might take it on.
Rates also vary depending on what is to be done. Working on a 10 minute song with 150 tracks of audio will require a different production approach than a 2 minute song recorded live. It’s best to drop me a line with your intentions and artistic goals and expected budget and we can scheme to take over the world from there.
What do we need to be studio ready?
1. KNOW YOUR SONGS! (this means that everyone who is recording is aware of what everyone else is doing in each song and everyone is able to actually play it) I often do pre-production work with bands before we start recording to iron out any such issues.
2. All guitars should have fresh strings put on the evening before guitar tracking is to start. Bass strings seem to sound better when put on a week before bass tracking and played a little. Drums need fresh heads put on the day before or morning of drum tracking. I will always have a detailed chat with a band in advance about what strings and drum heads will work the best for the production approach and what gear of yours you are bringing etc.
3. You need to insure your guitars are intonated correctly. It doesn’t matter how good the song is, if it’s out of tune I will hate it forever. In advance of recording, you should plug into an electric tuner and check that every fret on every string is in tune), if not, the guitar needs to be set up. This can all be done in studio with me, but nothing eats studio time as much as small technical things that could be sorted out in advance. Time not spent fixing things, means time for experimenting with cooler sounds and better performances!
4. Make sure that any equipment you are bringing is working correctly, that tubes in amps are good, that kick drum pedals aren’t squeaking, no loose output jacks on guitars etc.
Are you a producer, engineer or mixer or what’s the difference? Yes to all! I would say that I am a mixer, recording engineer and producer in that order. Those terms can often be blurred into the same job, but traditionally;
An engineer is the person that sets up microphones and equipment, routes signals through mixing consoles and any outboard processing, sets up headphone mixes, records the bands and edits any takes. It is generally a very technical aspect to recording.
A mixing engineer’s job is to mix the various audio elements of a recorded song together to ensure the song has the correct aesthetic and emotional feel. This is achieved by balancing volume levels, adjusting tone (EQ), altering dynamics (compression), adding of effects, panning of signals in the stereo image and writing automation. The mixer will adjust all the above to ensure the creative vision of the artist is achieved and then print the final mix. Mixing is a highly creative role that calls on a deep technical knowledge. As a mixer my job is to make the song FEEL good by making it SOUND good. Feel takes priority over sound
A producer’s role (in very basic terms) is to take the song from the band’s heads and ensure that it makes it to a finished product using the budget available. Sort of like a project manager, but far more likely to wear sandals. This can extend to the booking of studio time, hiring of any additional musicians or technical staff, working on song arrangement with the band, suggesting certain sonic ideas etc. A producer may be highly technical or very ‘hands-off’. A producer will also act as a liaison between the band and label.