I first got into recording when I was about 12 years old.
‘Portastudio’s’ had probably come out by then, but they would have been very expensive and certainly not something that my parents would have been happy investing in.
I used the ‘Sound on Sound’ technique using my dads twin cassette recorder. I’d carefully record a guitar part and then play that back whilst playing a bass line at the same time, recording both sources onto the OTHER side of the tape deck. I’d then think about Vocals and BV’s.
Although an incredibly clunky way of recording, it gave me a fantastic grounding in mixing as you go. You were COMMITED to the take that you chose and it’s a way that I still like to work. Probably as a result of this grounding, I have NEVER used the old adage: ‘fix it in the mix’. It’s stood me in good stead to this day… Get it right at source!
I would say that I have a very musical approach to my productions. It’s a feeling. I go off of emotions, not some ‘invisible rule book’ that dictates what you ‘should’ and ‘should not’ do. Don’t get me wrong, I have all my chops down… I even teach this stuff at Masters level, but I just don’t like to over-think things. I go with what feels natural and I believe that my work sounds organic because of this.
Having a philosophy of being ‘organic’ doesn’t mean that I only use traditional instruments. I have a large arsenal of virtual synth’s that I use on pretty much every production in one way or another. Sure – sometimes it’s a Hammond, or a Rhodes here and there, but I love nothing more than getting creative with using a cool sequence from my ARP or putting some cool synth pads down from the Solina.
I’ve always enjoyed programming string sections (even better when budget allows: to enhance with REAL strings) and it’s been great to dive further into this since working with Jeff Wayne on various projects relating to The War of The Worlds. In case you didn’t know… it’s a work of musical genius utilising a full symphonic orchestra with rock band. Further info can be found on this site.