Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to do every part of my album with you?
No. Most of the projects I work consist of me producing the entire album. However, many artists come to me with partial projects that need finishing or need specific parts. For Jon Anderson of Yes, I only tracked some of the instruments. The rest was tracked in England and mixed somewhere else. I have zero hard feelings about being a step in the chain of production whether that's tracking drums or horns, mixing or cover design. Whatever helps you get to where you want to go is cool with me.
Can you make my album sound exactly like my favorite band's album?
Yes and no. Yes, I can use many of the techniques that were used to record your favorite album but it is impossible to create an exact match. Even if you went to Capital Records and tracked drums in the same room and used Ringo Starr's drum kit, it still won't sound like a Beatles album because you aren't Ringo Starr. And why would you want that? You are you. We can draw from influences, but in the end, I help you get a sound that fits your unique style.
What kind of producer are you?
I'm a producer that sincerely cares about your project. It's more than a profession for me. I don't take on projects that I'm not into. I am going to be spending a considerable amount of time with you and especially your music. I have to genuinely like it or I can't do my best work.
I want to know all about you and how you relate to your music. I want to be sure your personality comes through in the recording and the artwork. I am not just pushing buttons and moving sliders. We work together to make your project the absolute best it can be.
How fast is your turn-around time?
In most cases very fast. I don't mess around. However, I also do not rush an artist that needs time to get it right. We can go as long as you need to. But you can rest assured that you won't be waiting months for me to get you reference mixes, mechanicals, etc.
Have you worked with a lot of famous people?
While the answer is yes, the question actually works against you. Let me explain. In the early 90's, I was starting to get some serious traction with my solo act. After a ton of hard work, I was finally going to headline at the 930 Club in Washington D.C. I was super stoked. However, when I arrived, all anyone talked about was that Smashing Pumpkins performed there the night before. Hey, that's cool and I understand. They were considerably more known than I was. However, they were there last night. I'm here tonight.
Even though I filled that club and everyone had a great time, I was made to feel less important by everyone working there. The sound man, the promotor, security, even the merch vendor. It's really a bad way to do business.
In my eyes, all artists are valued the same. It doesn't matter if you're super famous or a brand new artist. Whoever I'm working with is always the most important artist to me. For any established artist who is considering me, please understand that you are a priority and so are my up and comers. Everyone gets well taken care of.
Okay, but I still want to know the famous artists you've worked with?
While I do show you some recognizable names of artists I produced in my portfolio, I feel that name dropping only serves to misguide you in your decision making. Just because a producer or engineer's name is on an album doesn't mean they had everything to do with making it sound that way. The truth about big name projects is that many hands touch it before it hits the marketplace.
Also, some artists do not want their material in the producer or engineer's portfolio. Their music is for sale and they don't want it floating around the internet. I respect that. Some artist prefer you don't drop their name. It's not very cool for your doctor to tell everyone he gave you a colonoscopy.
I think the most honest, straight forward and transparent way to showcase your abilities is to show work you have done for your own projects. After all, if a producer or engineer can't make their own albums sound great, how can you expect them to make yours sound great?
The medley of my own songs are ones where I literally did everything. That means writing, arranging, performing, engineering, mixing, mastering and artwork. It's the equivalent of me naked. No fancy names to hide behind, no help from other engineers and no art direction from outside sources.
I'm leading with these because they establish a baseline. Essentially, the "control group" in a science experiment. The sample songs that I did for other artists will still sound great, but know that there are elements to the recording that had nothing to do with me. I may have tracked it, but someone else mixed it or I may have produced it but not engineered it.
I will be as forthcoming as possible as to what I actually did on the album as opposed to taking credit for the whole thing. Be wary of this with other producers and engineers. Their name may be on the album, but all they may have actually done is snake cables and plug in microphones.
This honesty thing seems like a big deal for you. What's that about?
The Producer and Artist relationship is intimate. We are building a relationship together that requires trust. That relationship can not develop properly if it starts off with lies, exaggerations and boasting. I enjoy being chosen because the artist sees the value and care I bring to their album, not because of who else I've worked with. Established artists choose me because of my discretion, loyalty and attention to detail.
I have repeatedly worked with lots of artists. They come back because the experience was fulfilling. One artist came to me for cover art on his first album, tracking of his second album, then had me co-produce and perform the third album. We just finished his fourth album last year and he had me do everything.
Trust is earned and it takes time. I have been in this business a very long time. For those who also been at this for a while understand how important trust is. For newer artists, my hope is that you will also be creating music for a very long time and will enjoy building relationships with other music people that will make your experiences fulfilling and propel you forward.