Here are some questions I often get asked about recording and music production. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact me.
Do I need a producer? What exactly is it that you do?
Maybe. Are you looking someone to guide you through the process or making a record? Do you need or want help with musical arrangements or instrumentation? Are you looking for someone to bounce ideas off during the recording process? If you answered yes to any of those questions then, yes, a producer can help you.
As a producer I’ll ask you a lot of questions about what you want. I’ll take your answers and figure out how to make your recording goals a reality. I can put together a recording plan, make suggestions for musical arrangements and instrumentation, book studio time, hire session musicians (if necessary), arrange for mastering, and even help you plan your next steps after your release.
The details of exactly what I do can vary from project to project, but my end goal is always the same: to get the sounds in your head onto tape (or CD, or vinyl, or digital… you get the idea).
Which genre(s) do you work in?
I’m open to working on any kind of music. My track record is working with indie rock/pop, singer-songwriter/folk, alt-country/roots, hard rock, adult alternative/adult contemporary, and downtempo electronic.
How much does it cost to hire you?
I usually charge on a per song basis. The cost is based on the scope of the project, and typically includes everything from pre-production to mastering (or whatever services are needed for the project).
Projects can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Regardless of the size of your project, I’m happy to meet and discuss your options — no charge, and no obligation.
How much should I budget to record my song/album?
This really depends on what you want. For a “typical” project (something that includes a full arrangement — i.e. drums, bass, guitars, keys, and vocals), budget between $700 to $2,000+ per song. That’s a big range because of the many variables involved (e.g. whether or not there’s a need to hire additional musicians, how many overdubs will be necessary to achieve the results you want, etc.)
How long does it take to record a song/album?
For recording, I suggest budgeting between 8 and 20 hours (or 1 or 2 days) of recording time per song. It’s a big range, and it really depends on how many layers are going be added to the recording, and how many takes are necessary to get the parts recorded.
EXAMPLE: 5-SONG EP PROJECT
- Pre-production: As much time as required. This means making sure all parts have been worked out. If you’re a band, everyone should know each other’s parts, as well as their own. Rehearse a lot, and check out this post for more ideas about what to do before heading into the studio. Being exceptionally prepared for the studio will decrease the amount of time you need for tracking.
- Tracking: 40 to 100 hours. If working in a studio, it’s best to book as many consecutive days as possible; for non-studio recording, expect 4 to 6 hour sessions as the norm. A rule of thumb I use is 1 to 2 hours per part, per song. Expect to spend more time on vocals.
- Mixing: 4 weeks. Plan to use week 1 for the first round of mixes, week 2 to listen, week 3 for the second round of mixes, and week 4 for final decisions and minor mix tweaks.
Which studio(s) do you work at? Where do you record?
Recording is about the experience. It’s not about gear lists boasting the latest and greatest equipment, or the coolest vintage guitars, synths, microphones and preamps. It’s much more important to chose a space that feels comfortable, inspiring, and right for your music.
Recording in a studio isn’t always necessary. I have a portable recording rig, and I’ve recorded just about everywhere — in apartments, basements, kitchens, bedrooms, cottages, and rehearsal spaces.
If you have an idea about recording in an unconventional location, let me know. There’s a good chance we can make it happen.
Do you only work in Hamilton/Toronto?
The Hamilton/Toronto area (Ontario, Canada) is my home base. It’s where I live, but I can and do travel.
Do you just do full albums, or will you work on single song projects?
I’ll work on anything from a single song to a full album. I’m open to doing what makes sense for you.
Can I hire you just to mix/remix a song?
Yes. I’ll have some questions for you before I can give you a quote. Ideally, I’ll want to hear a rough mix of the song to get a sense of what type of song it is. For mixing, the cost will depend on how many tracks there are, the instrumentation (full band, electronic, vocal and guitar, etc.), how many vocal tracks there are, etc.
For a remix, you’re hiring me to do what I do. And I love working on new music.
Can you help me find other musicians to play on my album?
Yes. If you need a musician for a specific part, or if you need an entire band, I can help out. I’ve got a good group of musicians to choose from.
Can you help me with my FACTOR application?
Certainly. For Canadian recording artists, FACTOR money is there, and I want to help the artists and musicians I work with receive this funding. You can also check out other funding sources for Canadian musicians here.
What software do you recommend for demoing or home recording?
Use whatever software you’re most comfortable with. But if I had to make a case for one piece of software, I suggest REAPER.
I use REAPER. I’m a huge fan. I used Logic and Pro Tools as my main recording software for over ten years before switching to REAPER. REAPER offers a 60 day demo with no functional limitations, which means you can get to know the software before buying ($60 for a non-commercial license, $220 for a commercial license — same software, they use the honour system here).
REAPER is available for Mac or PC. I’ve used it on both platforms, and — as far as my experience goes — it’s extremely stable. The drawback is that REAPER doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that software like Logic does. However, what it does come with is very, very good. It is professional level software, and so there’s a learning curve. That said, if you spend the time to learn it, you’ll save yourself lots of time (and money) in the future.
Will you master my song?
Yes, I also provide mastering services.