The Trick Bag, and other Creations
6 April 2016
Hi all, beside Recording Festival, the unique event and band incubator I created a couple years ago (Check dates and submissions at recordingfestival.com), I’ve been recently working on a new idea, a very useful tool for mixing engineers and producers. It is called MIXPOLL and I invite you folks to have a look at what it is and how it... Read & see more >
27 January 2016
Hi all, although I would like to post here more often about the latest news and recordings, I find myself too busy to make it to update this space properly. From now on please follow me on facebook where you can get.. yes, some silly lines, but also news , vids or pics about the latest recordings. I am trying... Read & see more >
28 July 2014
I have been interviewed by Dylan Welsh at Sonicbids. Here is the story if you like. I also talk about Recording Festival. Read & see more >
In 2012 John and Lucy of Kerbute, a great film and video production team from Dublin, where shooting a documentary of the making of the two albums I recorded and produced at The fabulous Grouse Lodge in Ireland (Peter Doran Band and Arrow In The Sky). In some spare time during the sessions they interviewed me about the project and other questions about how I work...here is a lovely rendition of the story made by Lucy Jones.
My Working Philosophy
I’ve used many ways to capture recordings over the years and with the exception of my favourite home setup, I have used whatever was available at any given place. Getting creative is always fun! Once I had to borrow a cheap mic from a hobbyist friend for some demos and co-writing with an artist at their home. Using this microphone we recorded an improvised guitar part, first take, that made it on to an album that won MTV ourstage pop award first prize twice in a row!
I made a couple of albums with the infamous yamaha o2r in the 90’s and I hated it, but people were happy with the results (so was I, surprisingly). On the other hand I have been lucky enough to use great gear many times, and I thank the people who gave me the opportunity to do so. I have also made crappy recordings with great gear, ouch. Something didn’t quite work, or I didn’t make it to convert the bad source.
And here comes something that I’ve learned: great recordings, great albums and memorable music comes mostly from great songs performed by great artists and great musicians. Great doesn’t necessarily mean phenomenally skilled. It means capable of expressing emotions and performing at a level that generates excitement, joy, sadness, melancholy or whatever moves your soul in any direction. Capturing this and possibly improving it with new ideas is what I like to do. Same with mixing. If the source is good, we can’t screw it up, and if we do it’s totally our fault!
All in all what do I usually do? I listen to the source, carefully. If the source is very good, oh man, that is when it becomes tricky, because there is a bigger pressure to do it justice! When the source is Ok, it is fun to try to improve it and try experiments to make it great.
When the source is bad, it is terribly difficult to craft a pleasant music and decent sound experience, believe me… even with the most spectacular studio in the world!
I am lucky enough to work with talented people these days and I hope to go on doing so.
For the sound side of things, I was never using compression in the 90’s when I was very much into a purist approach, and In recent years I developed a love for parallel compression and find it efficient and fun for pop and rock. So I learned from both the purist jazz school (Al Schmitt) in my old days and from the more in your face sound from NY mixers. Among the famous producers and mixers that I admire and find very close to my music and sound philosophy, and who inspired me through the years, I can mention Al Schmitt, Glyn and Andy Johns, Michael Brauer, Trevor Horn, Andy Wallace, Tchad Blake, Dave Bascombe and Roland Orzabal, and recently I liked the work of Jon Brion, Jordon Zadorozny, Nigel Godrich, Peter Katis, Rich Costey. I am forgetting some for sure.
I like to produce and mix anything from alternative pop and rock, funk and soul to jazz and soundtracks.
I have no flair for Metal and Electronic music (although I listen occasionally) but I am happily connecting artists in these genres to great friends producers who are aces in these respective fields.
In many productions I find myself playing bass, guitars, keyboards and programming, backing and lead vocals.