My Approach: As the Producer, it is my role to help your record flow so well that people who hear it want to be involved in your story. They want to hear & feel it again, come to shows and wear the t-shirt next time they leave the house.
My specialty is developing and building your story both as an artist and in your recordings. Many studios talk about sound quality & how to make a mix sound big. This is not my thing. I won’t be looking to make every 5-second slice of your track sound immense in isolation. I will be looking to make your overall story engaging. I don’t work on a mix to make it sound big, I work on a Song to make it feel big. It has to grow in the feelings of the listener. Once it is there it is there for life.
My job is to help you Create & Deliver your Story. This means I will dip into any and every aspect of the song or record with the aim of making it as good as it can be. Good may be as ‘pure art’ or a ‘commercial success’, that is your call. If you feel stuck in your career, I can be the guy to help you get moving.
Hire me to Produce or Mix your Record
My Studio is on the Gold Coast Queensland Australia. This is where I Compose Music, Mix & Master. I teach local students in my studio. If local I am happy to have you sit with me as I mix your songs.
I generally work remotely. Remote works really well if both of us communicate clearly. Mostly I prefer to use Messenger as it is fast, can handle links and the history doesn’t get lost.
more work samples in the FAQ below
Together, Benedict and I traverse into this project song after song. I found that along the way I have to battle my own personal war with creativity. Particularly when we are in the post-production stage. The blessing of hiring Benedict is his creative strategies that save me from my own self inflicted mediocrity wounds. The end result is always the same. All my songs see a video victory. When Benedict enters them into the dimension of reality with his Creative and Technical genius.
David – The Derasha Group LLC
What Styles will you work in?: Anything. These days there are a bazillion sub-genres but I don’t care. They are a distraction. What I prefer to do is work on things that have passion and a good Story. Is this Rock, Pop, Reggae, Summer…? We could argue pointlessly for decades but who cares as it is a super little song.
If your music has a story to tell and you can tell me that story then I’m in. If I don’t feel I can add anything I will decline. Ask me.
What will you do for me?: Producing a record is a bit nebulous but expect me to make suggestions about arrangement, instrumentation, performance, and even off into ways to get your record into the public eye incl making a video to get you on YouTube. A producer is always looking at the big picture and how to make the flow that gets your musical (and lyrical) ideas across to your audience. Yes, Strategy. It is all about creating a flow so that your music seems natural.
Example: Jace showed this track covered in layers of compression & distortion. I heard a powerfully tender track underneath. I got the track sent over and this was my mix. A Record Producer is meant to hear what you may not and help you sell your message stronger.
Do you Master my tracks?: Do you want me to master your tracks? Generally if you are going to press Vinyl or CD then I would suggest a professional mastering house but be aware that a mastering process won’t make shoddy performances sound good, only louder. If you are releasing to a digital format like DistroKid (for iTunes/Spotify), Bandcamp, or even a CD then I can definitely Finalize your mixes so they sound good. Tell me all of these things upfront. If you are using a Mastering service then best to be in contact with them early so we know what they want.
How long will it take?: it is best to assume about 3 months for an album. That gives us time to assess the material, perform any re-writes, and practice before you hit the studio. Once the material is all recorded it will probably take about a day per track to mix and then the same to handle changes. If you are working a day job too be prepared to add more time (or work late at night). As an example, it took seven months from start to finish for Jake Cropley’s “Falling Down In Love” album. Mixes for his “Beach House EP” took less than a week.
Do you do Free Test Mixes?: Almost half of every working day is devoted to free advice via my Indie Musician’s Guidebook Group. I also do some Mix Walkthrough videos. Have a good long look into them as you may find something similar to what you do. You can always present a track for me to consider. If you do, please be aware that 1) if I just did a track in your genre, then I’m probably not dying to do another unless it has something really interesting to excite me and the general viewer; 2) you don’t get the mix but of course, you can point your audience to the video to show off your track. Doing this is actually great Social Proof of your music’s validity.
How many songs do I need for an album?: If you are making a whole record then about 45 mins of material. That is generally at least 10 songs. Best to allow some flex there so present 12-15 songs so we can choose the best ten. You can choose to use the unused tracks for b-sides, bonus material or use what you learn to re-write for a later project. If you aren’t up to a whole album then it is an EP which can be from 3-6 songs (20 mins).
When should I hire you?: Early. The last thing anyone wants is a record that is plagued with problems that cause stress and missed deadlines. Far better to engage your Producer really early in the process than find your songs need changes to make them work and you don’t have any time left. Unless I have worked with you before and/or know your style, it is probably best for you to at least have your songs completed with rough demos so I can hear what we are working with.
You write Space Music and your mixes are generally clean. Can you cope with my Gore-Step?: See above, yes. By the way, I didn’t always or only write Space Music. I also made some Metal and EBM Industrial so I am not frightened of distortion or rough stuff. My only concern will be that any effect or trick you want is helping the story. Ultimately though you are the final decider so if you want to do it then we will do it.
Why all this psychology stuff? I just want to make bangin’ choonz?: Let’s be honest, many people are a bit hung up somewhere on some kind of fear that is stopping them from getting their work out as well as they could/should. One of the most common symptoms is an external obsession – if only I had the Sldhgkdfhe Tnviehutviu Pro 8 VST Plugin, my music would be great. If only I had a record deal… Part of my specialty is that I am a Musical Performance Coach to help you find how to connect with and let out your Art.
What DAW or gear do you use?: You are hiring my mind not my gear. One environment is essentially the same as any other, they all sound like what you put into them. If you use Cake Base or Fruity Tools then that is just fine with me, we agree on the performances via mp3 and you send me Stems/MIDI to mix. If it was only about gear, you could buy all the toys yourself. Look around, most of the people who have tried have failed to make great records (or often even any records).
I am a pretty well-known Power User of Reason Studios (formerly Propellerheads) Reason and always on the latest version so if you happen to be working in that space I will be even more able to assist you right there in your mix. You can even have the project files back (some devices may not match yours). I also have Reaper which I turn to for high-track-count mixes ~100+. I can use Cakewalk too. The mixes sound the same.
Will you take my DAW project file to save me having to export Multitracks?: If I can find a colleague I trust who will take your file and export Multitracks then sure – be aware I will add those fees to your job. My advice: Export your tracks yourself as this way you know they are exactly the way you want. You can almost always find several YouTube tutorials. I know that the first time is a bit harrowing but it gets easier. If you intend to be serious about music, Multitracks have become a core feature.
We want to use some synth sounds but aren’t any good at knobs?: I’m glad you asked. I love programming synths. Either get me to make the sounds for you early on or use adequate preset sounds and supply me with the MIDI so I can build sounds in the mix.
Will you record our band?: While I can record a single guitarist or singer in a casual session, I’m not set up for recording. It is best that you find a Studio and Recording Engineer you like and do your tracking there. I may be able to help as I have a network of studio owners around the work I talk with. I have worked well with Jake at J-Hit Records who is local to me. If you want me in the session then I will come along. Be sure you get good performances and they deliver you Multitracks ready for mixing.
My Bass player says the guy at the local Studio will Produce & Mix our record for the same price as the recording?: Ok, great, do that then. Oh hang on, just before you do that, have you noticed that every professional record out there has a Mix Engineer and Producer credit on the back that is separate from the Recording Engineer credit? Wonder why. I’m sure he is a great bloke and means well but a Recording Engineer is a Recording Engineer and he is there to record your performances. If he isn’t checking your work before a single note is put on tape (well hard drive really) and having strategy discussions then he is not producing anything. The recording is only part of the process of creating a record.
Why should we choose you?: I have sold cars. Why should you choose a Honda over a Mazda? No idea. You need to work that bit out. I figure that if you are reading this then there is something about me and my work that attracts you and makes you feel like we may work well together. Talk to me openly and I will be open with you – if I don’t think I can help I will decline or at least explain my concerns to let you decide.
Will you make me famous?: N.O. Not at all. What I can do is help present what you are trying to say. After that it is entirely up to you; tour, give sexual favors to the President (and leak to the press), go on Idol… Actually, make sure you at least go on YouTube. If your musical idea is well presented then you are a lot of the way there. Generally speaking, a record company won’t sign an act unless they have proved they are a draw-card. The sooner you start that hard work the sooner you can get real fans.
Jake Cropley – Medicine
My drummer doesn’t like you?: While I want you to enjoy the overall process my focus is on the music and the long-term view of making a record that we can all be proud of. If you don’t agree with or understand, something then be sure to have an open conversation with me so I can explain why I request this thing and we can find the right solution.
What if I don’t want to change or do something?: In theory, anything is allowable in music but there are certain conventions and traditions that help things to work. If you present me a Pop song with a 28-minute guitar solo using micro-tones then I will suggest that you revise this. If you are a Prog band and present me with a 2-second solo using only chord tones then I will suggest you swap guitarists with that Pop band. Your call. As a Producer, it is my job to make suggestions to help your project shine and be as accessible as possible to an audience. Never forget, I want your record to succeed for my own ego and bragging rights. Either way, this will be hard work. Talk it through with me. If we understand each other then one of us might just change our minds or we both find a workable solution. If you don’t want to change anything ever (and your name doesn’t end in Lennon) then maybe best you consider getting out of the music business.
Why do I have to do so many vocal takes?: Believe me when I say I’d rather you did one. The vocal is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your song. If you have prepared and practiced really well then I won’t need too many takes from you. Mostly I will need a lead vocal (which I will prefer you recorded in one take like it was live) and some backing vocals (see Tony Murphy video above). If you can provide some harmonies all the better. Trevor Kidd’s cover of INXS Mystify is one where I prepared the vocal mix – a couple of good takes delivers great results (even with a cheap microphone):
This song is only one vocal
What if I don’t want to sing, or am not good enough, to sing my song?: Sing it yourself as a guide vocal and hire a singer. There are plenty of good singers out there dying to sing. I have used some in other productions, like Mella, Trevor & Kiki (tell em I sent ya). Good people cost money but like anything, if you choose wisely it is worth it. Otherwise, let me help coach you in how to get the most from your limits instead of trying to hide them (which actually makes them more obvious).
Do you Tune Vocals or Edit Instruments?: I prefer not to. I am not a fan of Editing as a general rule, there are generally far better methods I can use in the mix so long as the performance is good. My greatest concern is tuning (AutoTune/Melodyne etc) does more damage than good. With vocal tuning, the sparkle leaves the vocal. Here’s an example where the track has some performance imperfections. The “client” wanted his Song to have the 70’s/80’s Soft Rock on Vinyl vibe with thick, shiny vocals. He talked about tuning. I declined to tune as no matter how the computer “improved” his tuning, the multiple takes lost that shimmery sound that was his main drive in the America/Toto/LRB/Doobies feel.
I have a Lyric, will you write music and record my song?: Sure, delighted to. The video shows Jake and I building the demo for what became the title track for his album. Please check if I am the kind of composer you are after first. If not, check the trades or other want ads and find a songwriter to do the musical bits. You can hire me as part of that process but if you are trying to write your first song then it could be a bit early for me.
Payment & Work Protection: Payment is always required up front. Most of a Producer’s work is not in the physical domain and starts early in the project. I find people who have invested fully financially are more fully invested emotionally. If you are nervous about hiring me over PayPal because you don’t know me and are worried that maybe I won’t do your job and your money will be lost, we can move you and your project over to AirGigs. Their systems are robust. Either way, the results are still the same, pay is upfront and the work gets delivered (however there may be extra fees to cover theirs).
I want to see if you will work with me. How do I present myself?: Wonderful, thanks. I’m excited. Like anything in life your pitch will have an impact on the answer you get. It is pretty easy, be open and let me guide you. Use the (deliberately long & detailed) form above. Explain about your project so we can start the conversation.
Don’t just take my word for it:
Michel Beinhorn talking to Warren Huart about the importance of pre-production and how we let it go and records (and the bands) are suffering as a result. This is a hidden opportunity in the market 😉 One I keep harping on about – make amazing records – don’t assume they happen by themselves.
Mella has some good advice for hiring a Singer & Topliner