(this guy knows his s–t!!!)
Q: What are some of your earliest memories of music and how it affected you? A:Both my parents and brother had a direct influence on me. My first memories of hearing music are from 1977 when I was five.
We would go skiing trips and I remember my parents playing an 8 track of Changesonebowie in the van. John, I’m only Dancing being a stand out song that I couldn’t stop listening to & I still adore Bowie to this day.
My brother and I would hang out in our basement and listen to music. Mainly my brother’s collection since he was 3 years older than me & already heavily into music; I followed his lead. He would play Sweet and Kiss all the time and I remember God of Thunder by Kiss scaring the hell out of me as it seemed very heavy from a 5 year old’s perspective.
Q: What bands influenced you most at different stages of your life?
Age 5 – 10: I remember Sweet, Kiss, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest being very impressive to my young ears.
Age 10 – 14: This is when I discovered the British Invasion, The Beatles (of course), The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, Kinks etc.
I also had a pen-pal who would make me tapes of more obscure late 60s early 70s bands like Mountain, MC5 and Savoy Brown, which lead me to heavier music.
Age 14 – 20: Thrash and Hardcore was the next step after listening to bands like Mountain and MC5. Favourites were Slayer, D.R.I. Sacred Reich and The Cro Mags.
Age 20 – 23: Grunge, I loved some of it, especially bands like Soundgarden, Screaming Trees and Tad.
Age 23 – 27: My Brit Pop Years, Oasis, Primal Scream, Suede. I also got heavily into 60s Garage Rock and tons of rare and not-so-rare soul or various styles like Northern, Chicago, Philly and Stax.
Age 27 – 35: My wilderness years, I was listening to The Strokes, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Liars, Oneida, Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I also discovered Krautrock, Can Neu!, Harmonia etc.
Age 35 – 38: the glorious Neo Psych bands that started to come out really appealed to me, bands like Black Angels, Crocodiles, and White Hills.
Age 38 – Current: Back into Metal, I love Black Metal for it’s atmospheric and intense sound, Doom and Stoner for their feel and everything else in between that strikes my fancy.
Q: What other audio engineers do you admire/are you inspired by?
A: I really love engineers who let the records sound natural, engineers like Martin Birch, Glynn Johns, Rick Rubin (back in the day), The Daptones Crew and Jimmy Page.
Q: What bands/styles of music do you love from other parts of the world?
A: I love Tropicalia, Dub and Fela Kuti so that would be music from Brazil, Jamaica and Nigeria.
Q: What are your favourite bands/artists from the:
60s A: Garage Rock, Breakbeat, Hard Pysch, The Pretty Things, Bulldog Breed, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Northern Soul, Nick Drake, Bossa Nova, Tropicalia, European Soundtrack Music, Flying Burrito Brothers,Townes van Zandt, Jacques Dutronc
70s A: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Hawkwind, Leaf Hound, Bang, Roxy Music, Neil Young, Stray, Van Halen, Dub, CAN, Neu!, Tangerine Dream, The Saints, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, The Meters, Magazine, Stranglers, James Brown, Serge Gainsbourg, Miles Davis
80s A: Slayer, Crass, Discharge, Jesus & Mary Chain, D.R.I., Iron Maiden, Crass, Trouble, Cro Mags, Void, Minot Threat, Loop, The Germs, Eric B and Rakim, Public Enemy
90s A: Primal Scream, Spiritualized, Helmet, Quicksand, Jesus Lizard, Portishead, Massive Attack, Oasis, Cathedral, Kyuss, Stone Roses, Sonic Youth, Sleep, Fugazi, Refused, Godflesh, Gang Starr, Nas, New Kingdom,Wu Tang, EPMD, Cypress Hill, Ice Cube
00s A: Oneida, Melvins, Dungen, Ladytron, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, The Kills, The Duke Spirit, The Coral, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Clinic, DFA 1979, Ghostface Killah, MF Doom, Mos Def, EL-P, The Roots
10s A: Salems Pot, Psychic Ills, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Blood Ceremony, Oranssi Pazuzu, Swans, Sunn O))), Tribulation, Sharon Jones, The Black Angels, Seremonia, Behemoth, Electric Wizard, The Sadies,Yob, Ufomammut, Zoroaster, Orchid, OM, Off!, Neurosis, The Dead Weather, Naam, White Manna, Mantar, Justice, Earthride, La Hell Gang, Beak, Follakzoid, Earthless, Graveyard, Goat, Church of Misery, Aesop Rocky, Run The Jewels, Black Milk, Roc Marciano, Tyler The Creator, Killer Mike
Q: What made you decide to be an audio engineer?
A: I was messing with audio from a very young age. I remember when I was five, messing with my dad’s tape deck *this was the 70s* and I would play with the faders (there were separate fader levers for the left and right side) so when I would record from album to cassette and there was a drum intro or guitar intro I would pan from side to side before the rest of the band came in.
Around the same time my brother started playing guitar and I would jam with him using drumsticks on a pillow (as a bass drum) and a large empty margarine tub as the snare).
When I got my first kit at age 11 I had a dual cassette deck stereo that allowed you to record karaoke. Instead of using the mic to record vocals, I would disassemble earphones and place the buds under the right and left side of the kit to pick up as much of the set as I could, plug them into the karaoke mic and record my drumming. I would usually record Led Zeppelin songs along with my drums onto the blank cassette and PRESTO!!! Drum Karaoke!
Q: If you had to name your preferred style of mixing/sonic aesthetic, what would you call it?
A: I would call my style Mid-Fi.
Q: How long have you been an audio engineer?
A: Since 1995.
Q: Where did you learn your skillset?
A: I went to Trebas from ’94 to ’95 where I learned basic audio engineering, looping, & how to use compression & eq etc. Since I started engineering, I’ve also learned the importance of getting an artist to feel at ease. Being flexible to whatever the artist needs to get comfortable really helps to ensure you are getting the best take possible. I’ve also learned how to diplomatically share my ideas without making anyone feel like I am stepping on their toes. I taught myself Pro-Tools after leaving Trebas; and since then, I’ve become extremely adept at using it; it’s really incredible software.”