Who am I?

I am a student at The Blackbird Academy learning studio engineering. I am here because I love music. Right now, I am 5% Ken Scott who engineered and produced albums by The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Supertramp, Missing Persons, Kansas, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and many more. The way I mic drums with ribbons on overheads, U67’s on toms, a Sony C38, or Neumann KM54 on snare is thanks to Ken Scott. Not that Joe Chiccarelli or John McBride don’t have great drum sounds – those are part of me too. I swear that RCA 44 on the kick records 10 cycles, and that is no b.s. I know this is true because I have DONE IT!

I am 5% Nick Raskulinecz, especially when I mic guitars. Nick taught me what he did on the Alice In Chains record on which I love the guitars, not to mention Rush and Evanescence! Piano – that is John McBride. The super-compressed D19 in the right spot makes that piano jump out of the radio. How do I know this? I DID IT! I have tried lots of different micing techniques. Between Jacquire King, Ken Scott, John McBride, Bob Ohlsson, Joe Chiccarelli, Niko Bolas, Vance Powell, Nick Raskulinecz, Peter Coleman, and others, I have become my walking encyclopedia of how to mic ANYTHING.

Not to mention my classroom instructors, who make great-sounding recordings too. I have been experimenting with which mic pre’s work the best – that Telefunken V76 is unbelievable on electric guitar. Of course, the sound of Lennon’s guitar on Revolution is so cool – and that was 2 V76’s. By the way, I DID THAT too. Not to mention our Motown week – the bass guitar on those records is the greatest. I have my favorite Motown DI – which is part of the magic of that sound. Did I mention that I built my own ribbon mic in class? It’s not an RCA KU3A, but it doesn’t suck… and if you are looking for a manipulated or different sound, it could be the perfect mic. I love KU3A’s – they could be my favorite ribbon. They were sure popular on Hollywood sound stages, and I know why because I compared the KU3A to other ribbons on lots of different inputs and learned the differences. Yes, I did that too.

You know how people always argue about analog mixing vs. in-the-box? Well, I can give you a detailed description of the differences I found when I did that comparison. Most people who argue about that have never directly compared the same tracks mixed both ways, but I have. And I have my definitive opinions about that.
I learned how to behave in the studio too. That is more important than I realized, and becoming a positive contributing part of a recording session is paramount. I love music so much, and as I have learned ATTITUDE IS 99% OF THE GIG!!! That is true no matter what I do in life. I know I probably won’t have to bias a tape machine, but I know how because I did that. I also understand why.

I love music. I have such an appreciation of music – partly due to all the “ears on” sessions at The Blackbird Academy. I learned how to listen, and man, do I appreciate that.
I will never forget how scared I was when I tracked my first band, although I didn’t let it show. I also didn’t let it show how happy I was when the drummer walked into the control room and said the headphones sounded GREAT. I said it was thanks to all these great inputs and then promptly shut my mouth.

Now I am not so scared because I have tracked enough times to acknowledge the confidence I feel. But it still makes my heart beat faster when I sit at that console and dial it up. It sounds KILLER! I know it does because I have great mics and pre’s and outboard gear and a great band – I am so lucky! Music is my life. When I work in studios that don’t have great gear, I am still darn good at getting great sounds with not-so-great gear. Staying creative is important. I mean really important. Creativity and lots of knowledge and experience are the things that help make me great.
We are standing on the shoulders of giants like Tom Dowd and Les Paul. Some of my heroes have taught me here at The Blackbird Academy. That’s why I feel so confident about the future. So who am I? I am 100% ME.