How long he’s been producing: Since 2001
Home studio location: Cannon Road Recording Studio, Freehold, NJ
Resume: A Life Once Lost’s A Great Artist, the Gaslight Anthem’s Sink or Swim, Lickgoldensky’s Lickgoldensky
Seminal recording: Hot Cross’ Risk Revival
Most well-known recording: My Chemical Romance’s Astro Zombies (off the Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland soundtrack)
You’ve played in bands forever. Why’d you want to start recording them?
“It was by default. Someone needed to record demos for my bands, so I did it. Then it got to the point of making real records for them. I started working with Vince [Ratti, Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer]. He was a good teacher. He made me realize I enjoyed the recording process.”
Does being a musician help you to be a better engineer?
“One-hundred percent. I put myself into the guitarist’s shoes, the drummer’s, the singer’s, whoever. I’ve recorded so many times as a musician, [so] I know what I want the guitar to sound like, or how it should blend with the vocal melody. I think engineers who aren’t musicians have a harder time because, and this might sound weird, but it’s a spiritual thing. In the end, it isn’t about a sick tone or a $5.000 amp. It’s about getting an energy. It really has to have energy.”
In addition to owning a home studio, you’ve worked in professional ones. How do the experiences compare?
“There’s two completely defferent situations. In my studio, I feel like I’ve had a different relationship with my clients. But I learned a ton working in professional studios. It’s also cool to hear and work in different rooms, to work in a sick control room the size of a gymnasium, while Aretha Franklin mixes her new record downstairs.”
Do you think home studios are affecting the big pro ones?
“Absolutely. Bands that would have been going to the professionals are now using their advances and royalties to build their own studios. Why spend §30.000 recording in a studio when you can put that money into building your own? All the famous places are closing. It’s a dying industry. There aren’t huge-budget records like there used to be.”
What do you recommend to bands who are going somewhere to record?
“Do as much pre-production as possible. Make sure everything is straight. i did Circa Survive’s first demos with Colin [Frangicetto], so Anthony [Green] could start writing his vocal melodies. You have to do as many demos like that as possible. I tell the singer to get their shit together a month in advance. Start training early and often, like it’s an Olympic sport.”
What about those who want to start their own home studio?
“Pick your projects wisely. Make sure you mesh with the people you want to record. It doesn’t mean you have to love their music. But you should make sure you can work together personality-wise as well as direction-wise.”
Is there one piece of equipment you can’t live without?
“The [Shure SM] 57 microphone. The 57 is always your best friend, when in doubt, go to the 57. It’s so fucking standard, but that’s because it’s so versatile. It can also take a beating.”
Has it in the studio?
“Hell yeah! I’ve had A Life Once Lost in here.”
SOURCE: Alternative Press Magazine