My Studio Philosophy
I emphasize & put my focus truly on the atmosphere of the studio when the client arrives, while they are here & after they go. I have a small historic space. It’s an acoustically designed facility & has a great deal of vibe, energy & the cool esoteric things that you want when you record but it is small. Dave Alvin says it is like Sun Records. He likes the tracking room because it is like Sun & everyone is next to each other. What’s crazy is I put my efforts into the ambience of the atmosphere & that is what matters most. It may sound odd but the sound comes natural to me so I focus on the atmosphere.
I spend my time making a small space comfortable for multiple people so that when they are here they can have a greater end result. They can get more done & I’ve used this approach for the last 20 years & all its done is expand my business by word of mouth. Its been great. That is what I like to do most. I like to provide a great atmosphere for people & watch them feel comfortable in it to do their thing.
“I want them to enter & instantly transfix their headspace into the mind set that they need to bring it. Everything is ready for them. ”
When I do sessions, I don’t charge for set ups. In other words, you go to the studio & the clock starts “okay what are we doing” I don’t do that. I’m almost completely entirely set up before the client walks in the door & that can be for an entire band. I know exactly how many people & where they are going to be. I have stations set up for them, I have all the cabling lined ready to go, the session already made, already labeled. Even to the refreshments & coffee. I don’t charge for that even if it takes multiple hours for setting up depending on what it is & I never charged for that & I never will because I like to give that like a gift for when clients come thru the door. I want them to enter & instantly transfix their headspace into the mind set that they need to bring it. Everything is ready for them.
I don’t focus on mics, preamps, cabling, stands & placements, all that stuff comes by nature, well now it comes by nature. I didn’t start that way of course I had to learn so I learned by trial & error, over & over again & by working with great world class, heavy weight engineers. The kind of guys that won diamond awards. I’ve learned from guys like that.
As crazy as it sounds - instruments talk to me & they tell me where to place the mic & I can feel it in myself & go “oh there it is” it's an actual feeling with the instrument itself. It's not something I read in a book I.E. this is the proximity & this is the angle, etc. It’s none of that. I use all the basic techniques but there is no mathematical reason how I mic stuff. It’s the actual feel with the instrument itself & that is how placement comes into play for me.
I use the same mics on what I do every time for the most part. I have a set up that I’ve cultivated & sifted down, in other words trying these things over & over again, year after year & being left with - okay this is the end result from all these experiences & this is what works best for me. I do have a set setup that I use in terms of using the same pre's for certain things. I have my go to setup because I know my room & I know what I like to use. I should also say that I do all kinds of music & I do the same setup for all of it & it all works so I got something that’s happening that works for me & my clients are stoked. I do try to improve myself all the time but thats on a more esoteric level.