As recording technologies advance (and come back into fashion), the skill-set for modern engineering has become an ever-changing and increasingly varied kind of thing. I try to stay as current (and ancient) as necessary, and offer the following general services:
• Tracking (analog or digital)
• Mixing (analog or digital)
• Location Recording (inquire for details)
• Arrangement (strings, horns, etc.)
• Scoring (film)
• Digital Editing (repair/restoration, drum replacement, etc.)
• Recording Performance (instruments include: drums/percussion, piano, B-3, acoustic and electric guitars, electric and upright bass, vibraphone, electric/electronic keyboards, synths, vocals, programming)
*Production is a sensitive issue. The term itself is often used to describe very different kinds of work, and music producers are unique in their individual approaches. Because of this, I think it’s worth explaining what it is I do, and why, by unpacking some of the language used in recording scenarios. But first, I'd like to stress the following:
-My role in any recording session is determined exclusively by the band or artist I’m working with.-
I don’t actively search for bands to produce, so under most circumstances my role is that of engineer.
Engineering: In the abstract, my job as an engineer is to aid a band in achieving whatever sonic ends they seek in their recording project. What this means in practice is that I’m responsible for selecting and placing microphones, selecting preamps and outboard gear, physically arranging players in the recording studio, recording the performances to either tape or hard drive, editing (when requested), and mixing the resulting multi-track performances into completed songs.
-The band is exclusively responsible for the creative direction of their project.-
None of this precludes me from offering opinions (when asked). Guiding a session is a fundamental component of good engineering, and a tight-lipped, blank, unengaged engineer does nothing to help the process she/he’s being tasked with aiding. As such, I’m happy to offer whatever help a band asks for. This is a fluid relationship rather than a formal one.
Producing: This topic shouldn’t be as nebulous or off-limits as it often seems. Sometimes bands are interested in an outsider’s perspective on their music. Other times they'd like help with arrangements. There isn't a set definition for what production entails (in my sessions). The only firm rule I have is that the band retains exclusive creative control.
I’ve produced records in varying capacities, including contributing instrumentation to existing arrangements (perhaps an instrument the band hears but cannot play), contributing opinions to the overall sound of the recordings (guitar tones, drum tunings, etc), contributing opinions on the mixing of the recordings, and so forth.
Occasionally, producing records means I’m asked to be a kind of band member for the length of the recording. Other times (and more frequently), I’m simply a font of ideas for the band to experiment with and ultimately decide upon.