We are living in an exciting time, a time driven by massive and rapid advances in technology.
In my years as a musician and audio engineer, it's amazing how much the recording platforms have developed and evolved. I feel like I've spent nearly as much time learning new formats and new versions of recording platforms as I have perfecting my craft. It's mind blowing to me how much more advanced clocking and AD/DA conversion is today than it was in 20 years ago... it's really not even the same animal. In spite of those advances, somewhere close to the middle of the last two decades I became fed up with digital as the entire solution to my production work and called 'bullshit'. There are many reasons for my distaste in pure digital production, and one of the leading reasons is that while vintage analogue gear remains sought after and 'cool', digital platforms, versions and gear become obsolete in months after their release and it makes it impossible to maintain a studio that is not only profitable and growing but that has stability in it's gear. There's nothing more frustrating than a crew of engineers and assistants trying to make a record on gear that they don't fully understand.
Through a wild ride of experimentation and experience over the last two decades, I've settled on the concept of having vintage and analogue gear that I know very well coupled with the most current versions of the digital medium. My tracking studio has an all analogue 'front end' while recording, including the use of analogue tape. Recorded audio is stored and edited in the most current digital platform utilizing current and high end AD/DA converters and clocking. And whether I mix 'in the box' or on my Trident 88 analogue console, it's the same principle on the way to a two track... excellent D/A conversion and it always lands back on 1/4" analogue tape.
The only pieces of digital gear in my studio, yellow DOG, are literally only the computers that the audio is stored in... no digital effects, amps or keyboards. It is the only way I will work... and if I go to other studios to produce
an album it must be the same environment.
Parallel to all of the aforementioned, I believe that the best performances are captured live. It's really not dissimilar to taking a really great photograph... these days you can certainly take an ok photo and edit and filter it with digital software. But the photographs that inspire you are the ones that capture a moment, literally in many instances the blink of an eye. Many modern recordings lack the soul and inspiration of those of yesteryear, because today they are often done in layers and tweaked at mix. In the golden era of recording a killer band was assembled together in a studio, tracks were limited, and the musicians had to play their ass off. And being there together in the same space... well that's the same magic that happens with a great band on stage. Every night isn't perfect, but when it is... it's banging on all cylinders. I often say, there is no plug-in for inspiration and performance. Having a studio that can provide that inspiration and capture it appropriately are at the core of my work.
And then there's the moving target role of a producer. I decided I wanted to be a producer when I was still a kid and had the experience of being around a few of them. Back then, in theory they were the guys that were going to get an artist into the studio and then walk into a label's offices, hand over a few spools of tape and walk out with a contract and check. The A&R guy connected artists with the appropriate repertoire. And often there would be arrangers that would assist the producer and artist with arrangements. With the shifting paradigm of the music business, the role of a producer has dramatically evolved. Budgets are limited these days and most of the time, are funded by the artist. The producer very often these days wears all three hats... producer, A&R guy and arranger. Inside of that, there is the reality that labels have completely changed the way they operate. Most artists are independent and license their masters to a distributor or they do it independently. With that change, I now focus on assisting every client in building the tiers they need to properly release an album by aligning them with contractors for legal and licensing, publishing, distribution, radio promotion, public relations and marketing.