Engineering

What is sound engineering? On a technical level, it’s the ability to capture and then manipulate the movement of air in time and space! To keep it more simple, we’ll approach it as the why and how of recording, editing and mixing music.

I got into engineering when I bought my first guitar amp and realised that the sound emanating from it needed to be adjusted. At that point, I reached for the knobs and started turning them up and down until I found what I thought was a nice tone. Engineering is essentially that: which microphone suits your voice best? How do you tune a drum kit to sound good on a jazz album one week and a metal album the week after?

Mixing

Mixing is the process of blending all the different recorded tracks together to shape the sound of a song. It changes depending on what you might want. Do you like things to sound defined? Lo-Fi? Punchy? Dynamic? Maybe you like your vocals sitting in a mix well above everything else? In any case, mixing requires a lot of focus and the ability to work in a sonically balanced environment, to ensure songs sound best on as many different mediums as possible.

Recording

Recording is the process of capturing the audio from its source. Why use a microphone over another one? Should songs be recorded all at once or should we record some instruments first and overdub the rest later?

In any case, this is the most crucial part of engineering. It’s far easier to end up with a great finished product if the first step is properly executed! The placement of every microphone matters to the millimetre. Luckily for you, that’s what I am here to take care of, you can just focus on doing your art!

Editing

Editing is sometimes required to tighten or loosen up performances: you might find that the kick drum and bass guitar aren’t very tight and you are recording a pop tune. All performances should be spotless! Your bassist might not be able to come back and, like everything in life, we have a deadline.

I can clean that up for you. Although I wish you played it the way it should be to start with, I am here to help you get as close to perfection as we can if that’s what you are after! Remember that we make mistakes and some of the most iconic songs known to us have imperfections that were purposefully left in to retain the magic of the performance, and that editing them out to make them perfectly aligned, would in essence ruin that feel… I will always offer advice and a time frame for this if needed.

Production

What is production? It’s in essence the ability to turn a musical idea into a song, the pathway for the artist to convey his/her art to their audience. You might have the vocal melody and words to a chorus with a basic guitar part. Where to go from there? Should we change a word for another? Does the last chorus need a key change after the bridge?

It is said that a good producer can hear a song finished with all required instrumentation when it is still just an idea… Producing a song is definitely a subjective endeavour, but at the end of the day a well produced song should make us relate to what the artist/band is trying to convert thought their music. What makes your art unique? Why do people want to listen to your record? What is your message? The right producer always knows…

Composition

To have a great sounding song, you need a well composed song.

Although the technical side of music production is important, nothing speaks higher about the success of a song than it’s composition. The majority of listeners will enjoy a lyric or sing along to a vocal melody, very few will reflect on how great the top end sounds on the drums or how well balanced the midrange is between the acoustic and electric guitars…

I first started recording my own compositions on GarageBand when I was 14 and have been writing music for myself and other people ever since. Wether you are looking for a creative boost to help write that last song on your EP or need a song written for a commercial, I can help you.

Performance

Performing to the best of your ability should be a top priority. Your composition is great, but can your performance do it justice? The reason you get shivers when the band drops out and that vocal comes in is because you are feeling the power and honesty of that performance. It’s what separates the demo recording from the finished master. A good performance conveys emotion, it makes us feel the music.

If you need guidance on how to perform certain sections, regardless of your instrument, I am here to assist you. Besides being an engineer, producer and composer, I am a committed guitarist and have been for over 15 years.

I have been lucky enough to play on several of my clients’ recordings made here at Mattison Studio.