You haz questions, I haz answers. Check ’em out, and then gimme a call at 707.225.4348 or email me to discuss your project!
I prefer to have sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. and go to 6:00 p.m. sharp. This ain’t no cocaine-fueled-all-night-Exile-on-Main-Street style situation. Partially this is because I’ma curmudgeony middle-aged weekend warrior. But also people tend to get pretty faded after eight hours hammering away at this stuff, and it becomes a diminishing returns kinda situation.
The situations are many, and each setup is very different. But in a typical situation where it’s a day of live-in-the-room recording of a rock band, say a five-piece drum kit, two guitar players and a bassist, initial setup usually takes between two and three hours. We’re usually cutting tracks by noon or 1:00.
That depends on how skilled you are and what you mean by “done”. Again, to just use a fairly common full-band situation: what I’ll often see is a band coming in to cut a 4-6 song EP. Typically, depending on how tight they are, if we begin recording basic tracks around noon, we’ll be able to get between four and six sets of basic tracks in the can by around 4:00, and then spend the duration of the day punching in fixes for mistakes on guitar and bass. We might get all of those done and have room to spare for doing drum editing as-needed or punch-ins on more instruments, or we might only get bass and one guitar patched up.
There will typically then be another full-day session for recording all vocals and overdubs for those songs, and again depending on how quickly things move, we might even have time for me to add some polish to all the tracks and come up with a fairly decent mix. But it’s not uncommon to devote a third day to getting really tight, polished mixes done.
I tend to leave that to people who’ve devoted their entire brain and entire studio buildout budget to that kind of magical detail. But I have a short list of people who do incredible work, some at very affordable prices. Mastering is a whole ‘nother art, which I can bore you with at length upon request.
Sure. No problem. Seriously, though, I get it: bands often smoke the reefer and drink the beer, as well they should. It can be a creative asset as easily as it can be a hindrance, depending on what kind of a person you are. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t allow some “light” intoxicants to be used in the same manner you would at rehearsal, because that’s the way I ant you to feel when you’re here: like it’s just another rehearsal. Just know your own limits and don’t be a fuckwit, or I will tell you when you are being one.
Zero tolerance for bad behavior or endangering equipment…I’ll kick your ass out. And leave the heavy stuff at home for sure.
With respect to the size of my control room and respect to the process…yes, within reason. People bring their buds along to enjoy the experience as spectators, and it’s just about always lots of fun. The control room is about 300 square set, so more than a couple hangers-on can turn into a fuckshow, though, both in terms of crowdedness and too much conversation while I’m trying to mix and communicate with the band.
Really loud rambunctious “look at me” types, children and babies, and pets can be a real bummer so use your best judgement with your “hilarious” friends and leave the kids and pets at home for sure.
We’re out here in the boonies a bit, so I always recommend that people bring a cooler full of tasty goodies with them to have ready fuel throughout the day. There’s a strip mall with a good variety of ethnic restaurants and a Starbucks about a mile down the road in a pinch, but I really find that all that stuff can be a huge distraction to the creative process and a massive waste of our time together and your money. Bring grub!
Short answer: $40/hour with a half-day minimum, $300/day, with more scaled discounts for longer projects.
Having learned the hard way, I’ve basically stopped being one of those ubiquitous “let’s discuss your budget” engineers i regards to single weekend projects, and don’t give “bro deals” any more. In the interest of making enough money to keep all my gear maintained when it (inevitably) breaks down, I’ve decided the bottom line is the best policy. It shows enough respect for the contribution of my time to keep me happy and interested, keeps this place afloat, and affords the musician an inherent respect for the endeavor.
Absolutely. 50% up-front-refundable, non. Again, I learned the hard way on this one, having seen an unbelievable spate of last-minute cancellations over the past couple of years. Respect the process, and know that someone else probably asked for that date you just cancelled…everyone loses when that happens.
I work with a wonderful online service called Venmo which you can use to get the money to me in advance…it’s way more elegant than PayPal with zero fees for anyone.