FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What's your typical work process ?
Before entering in mix mode I spend quite a bit of time preparing the session. When mixing I want to focus on the actual sound and vibe, more than on technicalities. I import the files into my Pro Tools HD system and make sure all the tracks are in sync by comparing them against the rough mix (demo) which I always ask that the client provides, whenever possible. This is to make sure that I have all the parts of the jigsaw and that they are in the right place. I then edit out unwanted noises that might still be present in the recorded material, and tune vocals if needed and agreed with the client. I refer to the rough mix constantly to get familiar with the artist intentions. I start to build the driving element of the arrangement. The majority of the time this is whatever is conducting the groove (drums, bass , rhythm guitars, etc..). I make sure that this excites me…if it doesn’t do that to me I can’t expect to do so to anyone else. Then I move to the other instruments, one by one, in order… depending on their role within the production. While doing this I bring the vocals in and out to make sure that there is always enough space for it to shine. I work hard to get a good balance quickly as I rely a lot on my first impression, which is how general listeners will perceive it. If you spend too much time in the granular details, you risk losing the overall vision of the song.
Q: What do you bring to a song ?
My main goal is to bring the right emotions to the song. I will obviously pay attention to the technical side of a recording or a mix and will make sure it compares well with commercial releases, but let’s not forget that music is an art-form. When the artist was crafting his/her baby (one would hope) he/her had a vision. Well, I believe that a mix should be an extension of that. If for instance it’s an upbeat song I’ll employ techniques that I feel are appropriate to add excitement and urgency, or if it’s a ballad or a sad song I’ll try to sculpt the sounds in a way to create an atmosphere that support the message...
Q: How would you describe your style ?
Creative. I love dynamics, contrasts and surprises! I believe a mix should tell a story…a bit like a movie.
Q: Can you share a coouple of music production tips ?
- Make sure that you have an arrangement that works before starting the mix. A great arrangement almost mixes itself. The majority of time you find yourself struggling to make parts fit that are simply not working well together and fighting for the same space. Sometime just alternating in time such parts will give each of them the chance to get the attention they deserve. Or if they do need to play together to convey the energy intended, then playing one of the part one octave (or a musical interval) above/below can creates clarity with also the benefit of adding depth to the production as well.
- Learn the rules and than break them! I spent a lot of time doing my job following ‘the rules’ like commandments and ending up with results different to what I had in my head. I then (slowly) learned that if in order to achieve the sound that you are after you need to boost a frequency 10-15 dBs, overdrive a preamplifier to the reds or place a microphone facing the wrong way - so be it…nobody will see it or tell you off as ultimately what really matters is what comes out of the speakers.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients ?
What band/artist would you compare your music to? Can you send me some songs that have a similar sound to what you are after? Than I will ask for a rough mix. This is helpful as it’s what they’ve been listening to for weeks/months and got used to, which will give me an idea of what they like, and what can be improved upon.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients ?
That I will record and mix their song as if it were my own : with the same care, passion and dedication they deserve. I won't let go until the project I work on is compelling and both me and the client are completely satisfied.
Q: What do you like most about your job ?
To see and hear a pleased client’s reaction. It’s the best reward for all the efforts you dedicated to their art.
Q: Analog or digital equipment and why ?
Both. I constantly adapt my template to incorporate them side by side. Analog still sounds more tri-dimensional to my ears - being it a compressor, an equaliser or an effect processor - but the flexibility of Digital is fundamental to keep your workflow fast and recallable.
To me the secret is to use one or the other at any particular stage so it can actually help you, instead of becoming an obstacle of getting things done just for the sake of using it because you feel that you're supposed to.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do ?
People who think that anyone with equipment can be a sound engineer, and that badly played / produced / arranged songs can be turned into a world class hit in the mix.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you ?
Come down for a chat, or at least call who you’d like to employ giving as much information as possible. Having a personal connection with who you’re going to work with will tell you straight away if you’re going to get along and if you share the same vision. It also a much easier way to get the message across compared to email exchange. Sometimes it’s difficult to put the creative process down to words.
Carina started out in the television industry 18 years ago and as a Production Manager has had the fortunate opportunity of working on a wide variety of genres of programming from Pre-Production through to Post Production. As a Production Manager she understands what's required in order to pull a project together of any size, schedule or budget. She has worked alongside composers, post production facility managers and voice over artists during the production and post production of top rating programmes for a variety of independent production companies and broadcasters including Celebrity Squares (ITV), 60 Minute Makeover (ITV), Dispatches ‘’Saving Africas Witch Children’’(Channel 4), Homes from Hell (ITV), Playing It Straight (C4), When Women Ruled the World (Channel 4) and many many more. This experience and expertise ensures that your project will be in very safe hands at Slipway Studio !
With an acoustically treated control room, state of the art equipment and a live room with bags of character we offer a professional service at fantastic rates.
Our goal is to help both up-and-coming and established artists / bands to achieve the best sounding records they can possibly get.
Our forte is to understand and respect the artist's vision while taking the sounds performed to a totally new level. We have worked with a huge number of musicians and producers from a variety of corners of the industry... from modest and inexperienced to bold and accomplished.
We know how to keep a session moving forward whilst retaining an informal yet efficient working atmosphere. We pride ourselves of being able to adapt to the mood in the room in order to achieve the absolute best from the talent's creativity and vision and to make the music shine. If you need any advice we are there, but equally we know how and when to be invisible.
Based in a quiet residential street of Hampton, in the borough of Richmond, musicians will be able to relax in comfort in this isolated location in the heart of South West London. The studio is surrounded by a large garden and grape vine pergola where clients can relax and take a break should they wish to. Alternatively, a walk in the nearby Bushy Park is highly recommended for clearing your head. Parking is available.
There are regular train links to Hampton from Waterloo, Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Wimbledon, Kingston and Richmond.
Tube links via the Piccadilly line run regularly to Hounslow East (15 minutes away) and we are 20 minutes from Heathrow.
We have a large number of local facilities that we will tap into during running the studio including food delivery services and local taxi companies.
If clients want to go for a meal or drink, Hampton Hill is a stone's throw away where there are bars and restaurants.
You can book the studio for a few hours or full days. We offer amazing album packages or just simply come and record your best take… it's all possible.
So whatever the size of your project get in touch and we can tailor a package to suit your needs and budget.
Simone is a freelance recording / mix engineer and producer.
After graduating at SAE-London in 2003 and gaining a Pro Tools Operator certification at Alchemea, he started cutting his teeth into various studios around London starting as an assistant engineer to Pro Tools operator to recording engineer. A regular freelancer at both Livingston and Strongroom studios, he has worked in sessions with Kasabian, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Robin Gibb, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Skunk Anansie, Depeche Mode, The Chemical Brothers, Spiritualized, Keane, Klaxons, Ellie Goulding, Example, Ed Sheeran, Talvin Singh, Pixie Lott, Dennis Bovell, Portico Quartet, Katherine Jenkins and many others...
He mixed half of the score of Jonathan Glazer's publicly acclaimed movie "Under The Skin" featuring Scarlett Johansson. He also recorded and mixed the score of the movie "The Last Photograph" directed and staring Danny Huston.
While still freelancing, he used all is downtime to firstly research, then design all the way up to building with his own hands Slipway Studio…. with all the sweat, passion (and Italian swear words) he could muster!
Simone is known for his hard working attitude, deep dedication, patience and a great ear for pitch and timing... and yes, for his accent as well... persuade him long enough and he might jump onto the hobs and cook you an italian dish or two!
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