How did you get into the music business? The hard way. Moved to Nashville with a rock band and learned I didn’t know enough to handle it all myself. Went back to school, got a couple of internships, met some of the right people and went on from there. Learned the most from making coffee, taking out trash, and getting my hands dirty watching others do what they do best and taking a lot of notes.
Are you from Nashville? No. Originally from Birmingham, AL (Roll Tide! Yes, I’m a huge football fan and we can talk about this), but I’ve been here for over 20 years so I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else.
Musician? Yes. I moved here as a singer and guitar player and quickly realized that everyone is, and they are amazing at it. I still play, but mostly the studio and the computer are my instrument more than anything.
What’s your approach to producing records? Depends on the artist. That is always my focus foremost, making sure that they feel like the production best matches the songs and the music we’re making. I’ve made recordings with everyone in the room together, everyone in separate rooms, worked in big studios, small studios, in barns and also in bedrooms. I’ve used collections of old gear, new gear, and everything inside the computer. Whatever makes the artist the most comfortable, we’ll explore the options we have in front of us and decide what’s best.
What’s you favorite project you’ve worked on? The one I’m working on now! Every artist deserves the same level of attention and detail when it comes time to make a record.
Do you just produce your projects? No, I wear a lot of hats when it comes to my involvement with the projects I work on. Sometimes I just produce, but there are times when I will mix, write, engineer, and produce. I have a strong musician’s and engineering background, so depending on the project and budget, I’m called to do what best needs to be done for the project.
So do you like to mix? Yes! I get asked more and more often to mix projects outside of producing, and enjoy getting the opportunity to share in process of making a good project turn out great. I have many clients that have me mix records for them when the time is available. If this is something you are interested in, please email me and I can give you some guidelines…
What style of music best fits you? I don’t know, take a look at my discography and let me know what you think… I like to think I’m a jack of all trades in this department. I’ve spent LOADS of time to study a lot of genres and treat them as such, so when I’m working with someone I best understand what their reference points are. I love recording huge guitars and drums just as much as programming grooves and synths, or acoustic instruments and horn sections. Don’t even get me started about string arrangements, they’re the best!
Do you work only in Nashville? Not always, but it’s preferred, as the resources here are second to none, and it’s certainly a fun place to make a record. I can also turn you on to some pretty great places to eat while you’re here if you like that sort of thing. My studio is also here and the espresso machine is a giant plus… I’ve been told the coffee at Undertow is a big reason to work here… If you have an idea about how you want to make your record, then I’m always open to a different location if it makes sense, especially if it’s on the coast of Spain…
What’s happening in Nashville? Everything. I’ve been saying this for years, and one of the reasons I’ve lived here for so long. It’s the best city in the world if you’re looking for studios, musicians, songwriters, hard to find gear, instruments,etc… It’s affordable to stay/visit, people are really nice, and it’s easy to get around town. The music in the clubs is widely varied, and most of it is not country music. It’s a much different place than it was than when I moved here, and all I can say if do yourself a favor and come check it out!
What’s you favorite piece of gear? My ears! I never go anywhere without them and they’re still in pretty good shape. I suggest taking care of yours if you haven’t looked into that already, they’re very hard to replace. Other than that, my PMC monitors are always with me wherever I work if I can get them there easily. API 2500 compressor, UA 2192 converters and clock are an important combo to the sound as well…
Who inspires your work? Wow, that’s tough. It changes all the time, especially when I find something new that I love. I really love risk takers. People that think outside the box and aren’t afraid to do whatever comes to mind. Miles Davis. Frank Zappa. Martin Scorsese. Rick Rubin. Tom Waits. Anthony Bourdain. Ferran Adrià. Chuck D. Fredrik Thordendal. Richard D. James. Frida Kalo. Igor Stravinsky. Hunter S. Thompson are a few…
I can produce my own record. Yes you can. Then someone like me gets called in to make sense of what’s there. Everyone has a laptop with some form of audio work station on it. Yes you can record into it. Yes you can make beats on it. I use them too. This alone does not make you a producer. It is good to have another set of ears to help make decisions that is not inside the project or songs already. Someone who has a wealth of knowledge that is experience based, not read from a blog, magazine, or watched just on youtube. You would not try to build a house if you aren’t a contractor. My job is very similar. I help make decisions that are music based and some that aren’t to make your record the best it can be. Hiring myself or another producer is the best decision you can make when it comes to making a record.
I can’t afford to hire you. Yes you can! I work on independent records as much as my time allows, so reach out with any thoughts you may have and I’ll be happy to help. You’d be surprised at what we can accomplish together.
What about mastering? It’s important! Can’t stress that enough, and a big part of making a record sound the best it can. I prefer to have another set of ears on the final mixes to get a second opinion, and to keep learning from my work. I know several great mastering engineers that always make me look better than I really am.
Anything else? If there is, feel free to ask! You can email me or my manager, anytime. Find me on facebook, twitter,etc… Let’s make great music!