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Kill The Music
Interview with Jamie King from The Basement Recording NC
02/02/12 at 08:01 PM by JordanKTM

Jamie King has been responsible for quite a few albums most notably, a majority of Between the Buried and Meís records. He recently recorded Wretchedís third full-length album, Son of Perdition and took some time answer questions over email.

State your name and profession please.

Jamie King - Audio Engineer/Producer

Most people donít know what the main job of a producer is. Can you briefly explain what you do?

To me, producer refers to the person that produces the desired product by the client. Most often in my case, itís just about making the recorded material sound the way the client wants. With ďproducersĒ that work with major labels, the job is often to actually help the artist write, rewrite and/or orchestrate the material to make it as marketable as possible as well as making it sound as marketable as possible. What is marketable is usually dictated by current trends.

Are there any common myths about producing that just arenít true?

One common myth is that a producer always get into the creative aspect of the artists material. In metal and other non-commercial style, this is rarely the case. Most ďproducersĒ just make the record sound the way the client wants sonically.

Can you describe how it feels to be associated with the number of hits that youíve worked on?

I feel lucky to have worked with some bands that have gone on to be successful. I donít think any of the bands have any hits. Itís really just a luck thing with me. I record anyone and you never know who will become successful and not. There have been a lot of bands that Iíve worked with that I thought would be successful that werenít and there are bands that have become successful that I would have never thought.

Does the way you work on production vary on genre? I know youíve done BTBAM, Close Your Eyes, and Motionless in White, which all have a very distinct sound from each other. How does the bandís sound change your process?

Yeah, each project is different for me. Iím not known for a specific sound as many producers. I just do what the client wants which often require a different approach with production. A band like BTBAM wants all natural real performance recordings. This require more time and effort tracking as were a lot of clients want the more processed sound that is popular these days which is less tracking and more production editing. You have to actually engineer tones with real recordings as were the more processed stuff is easier as you can use pre-processed drum samples and guitar amp emulators.

Have there ever been any incidents in the studio where you felt you couldnít work with the band? Such as bands just fighting over every little detail? No need to name names, but do you have any stories?

Iím pretty good and working with any client. Theyíre definitely clients that are more pleasant to work with than others. Some donít take stuff serious enough and some over analyze everything. Either can make for an unpleasant time. Itís all about balance as far as Iím concerned. Thereís a certain quality that needs to be achieved for a record to sound ďrealĒ. Beyond that, itís all about whether the budget allows more and/or thereís a demand for better. There has been a few instances where Iíve sent people home relative to not being prepared and/or just being belligerently drunk, haha.

What are your thoughts on the continual volume increases in the industry, where music has just gotten louder, or more crushed, at the expense of dynamic range?

I think levels should just be set as a standard and left along. Something that allows for some dynamics. Thereís not a lot of dynamics in heavy music so itís not terrible with heavy music for it to be loud. I just know that itís irritating to be listening to iTunes and have to turn tracks up and down. I know most consumers would prefer matched levels even if they do tend to pick louder by comparison. They just donít realize that itís the same if they turn it up or if the mastering engineer turns it up. Just less dynamics and more fatiguing to listen with everything crushed. Some heavy styles does sound more punch and brutal if crushed so the dynamics arenít always the issue. They should still be set to the same perceived volume for the new standard of iTunes listening.

Whatís your favorite and least favorite part about producing?

My least favorite part of producing a record just depends on the record. If they players arenít good, then itís tracking. If the orchestration isnít good then itís mixing. If thereís a crap load of bad melodic vocals, then itís tuning. If thereís a lot of bad dynamic prog drumming, then itís drum editing. If thereís super sloppy guitar tracking, then itís guitar editing. Just depends on the performances really. If thereís good performances across the board, I donít mind any of it.

What kind of artists do you prefer to work with?

I like to work with any clients that are cool and good performers. Iíd rather work with cool and reasonable clients that arenít good performers over good performers that arenít cool and/or reasonable although.

Is it true youíre working with BTBAM on their upcoming album? How is it working with Tommy and the rest of the guys?

Yeah, BTBAM are schedule to come in in May. Weíve been working together so long that itís like family getting together for a project. Just like hangin out with friends and making music as it should be. Itís always enjoyable with then as they are great people and great players. Just a little stressful for me as I donít want to let them down and the stakes are getting higher and higher with those guys. Stuff needs to get better and better so it pushes me to keep improving my skills and gear.

Last question: whatís one book and one band youíd recommend to anyone that listens to the music youíve produced?

I hate books; they are often off base for a lot of styles and just canít teach you some stuff that you just need to see and hear being done to understand fully. Thereís a band called Tetrafusion that I recorded recently. Def. check those guys out. Great player and music and great people!
Tags: jamie king, between the buried and me, tommy rogers,
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Joey Sturgis Interview
01/26/12 at 01:59 PM by JordanKTM
Chances are, if youíre into heavy music, then Joeyís probably produced the record youíre listening to. Heís currently recording Emmureís follow up to their 2011 release, Speaker of The Dead. Joey was cool enough to answer some questions in the midst of recording.

State your name and profession

I am Joey Sturgis, and I am a producer, engineer.

Do you remember the moment in your life when you knew that a career in music was what you wanted to do?

There actually wasnít a moment like this for me. Everything just sort of fell into place. I was working towards a strong career in computer science, starting in high school with an extra curricular activity in A++ computer education. That landed me job placement in 11 and 12th grade with a local computer store. I was working there as the bossís right hand man fixing computers and handling networks for the tri-county. I worked there for a few years until I came to the conclusion that I was doing $70.00/hr service calls and only getting paid $6.00/hr. It was time to stop going in to work. Around this time, I was at the studio more often doing stuff with music and my band. Eventually the boss called and said heíd call me if he needed me (aka, youíre fired) and the rest was history. My band put out its demo on myspace and other bands heard about it and wanted to work with me after finding out I was the one who made the demo.

Looking at your discography, I think maybe it would be better to call you the ďKing of Metal/Post-Hardcore Producers.Ē What are the essential elements you need to make a Metal/Post-Hardcore record?

I do want to address this question very carefully, because I feel like with my name being out there in the scene, people just have no clue who I am and where I come from with my musical background. I listen to everything. I really mean that. I love country, techno, 80ís, 90ís, rock, piano ballads, dub-step, folk, bluegrass, blues, metal, death metal, hardcore, metal-core, post-hardcore, Shania Twain, Nickelback, Rascal Flatts, Gloriana! I can go on and on and on. At the end of the day, youíre not going to find me listening to breakdowns very often! The artists I work with know what it takes to make their music, and they are in touch with their fan base and understand what their fans want. I could go my whole career without having to understand this. All it takes is for me to understand where the artist is coming from and where he wants to go, then I connect the dots. Itís really that easy. On a side note, please stop putting people in categories because of what they like or believe. You are the reason everything is so messed up in our country.

How did you learn how to work the software and ultimately do what you do?

Open the same program every single day, and eventually youíll learn how to use it. Trial and error, reading the fucking manual, and searching on Google taught me everything I needed to know about how to use digital audio workstations / software.

What do you say to critics who think that every band you produce sound the same?

Iíll start out with an obvious defense. Please listen to Letís Get It, the Digital Spaces EP, then head on over to Oceanoís debut LP on earache. Please tell me how those sound alike. Next, Iíll reveal to you that VANS makes shoes, and most of them go on your feetÖ Best Buy sells mostly electronicsÖ and Joey Sturgis records Joey Sturgis records. If you are mad about a band working with me, go to their show and complain to them. Bands practically kill people and make huge investments to work with me. Believe me when I say theyíre doing it on purpose and going after something they want.

How did you get that bass tone on Of Mice and Menís ďThe FloodĒ album?

Run your bass through a simulated Guitar ampÖ and no that wonít work live.

How do you get your guitars/screams to sound so big?

People think this is a big mystery. Itís not. You need good takes. When I say good takes, I mean takes that are precisely on time (down to less than 1 - 10 ms shy of grid), and good playing. Palm being in the right place, pick hitting string in the right place, right strings for the right tuning, right guitar to hold the tuningÖ the right pick ups. All of these factors matter. Finally, you need a good listening environment. You need to be hearing things properly or you wonít be making proper decisions. Armed with all of those things in line, you will be able to choose the right tone, the right takes, and ultimately get the right sound.

What kind of artists do you prefer to work with?

Experimental; I recorded this band called Rosaline onceÖ no one really knew about it because they fell apart shortly afterwards. I love to work on weird stuff like that. I would also really love to record country music. You can fill a room with country musicians and just stand there with zero microphones and listenÖ it will sound like a record. Amazing!

Can you describe how it feels to be associated with the number of hits that youíve worked on?

Honestly, itís kind of a out-of-mind type of thing. Itís something youíve accomplished and something you can remember, but youíre always looking forward and always moving on. I am very grateful to be where I am right now, but its not something I am looking at from a nostalgic point of view. From my perspective, Iíve been helping groups of 4 - 6 dudes stay on the road, which is essentially where most of them want to be. So thatís a great gift to be giving in any sort of way.
How has social networking benefited your business?

My business, these bands, this scene would not exist AT ALL without social networking. I had a buzz about me generating in forums before there was the giant explosion of myspace. So even in the early days, it was all about the web.

Are drums always the first thing recorded or do some bands work backwards?

In my studio, drums are first and foremostÖ and very key. I do not do ANYTHING else until the drums are completely finished, including mixing.

What are your thoughts on the continual volume increases in the industry, where music has just gotten louder, or more crushed, at the expense of dynamic range?

For all the people who donít understand the loudness war, go grab a Rush cd or an old Metallica cd and put it in your car. Now turn up the volume to where you normally listen to cdís. Now turn it up a little louder. Listen to how much more punchy it is than a modern cd. Why? Dynamic range. By destroying dynamic range, you achieve every softer sound being as loud as the louder tones, effectively giving you a louder cd. but what you lose is the snare or kick always being x amount of volume over the guitarÖ
Honestly, I donít really care where this goes or what happens because of this. But people should definitely know what its all about. Ultimately, the fans and the artists and the record labels will all meet somewhere in the middle at some point. Itís not really up for me to decide I guess.

Last question: Is there anything left for you that you havenít accomplished that you want to accomplish?

When I was in high school, I was really into programming and game development. It is one of my goals to actually complete my ambitious idea for a game and not be poor afterwards. I am already working on it so if you know any pixel artists, please send them my wayÖ I will pay for pixel art!
Tags: joey Sturgis, Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack!, We came as Romans,
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Last Updated: 02/02/12 (5,113 Views)
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