What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I like to know what kind of recording project you have in mind prior to booking a session just to make sure I'm the right guy for the job. That means having a phone conversation or personal meeting prior to the session. I'll be happy to go over any questions or concerns you might have as well as help give you a realistic estimate on costs. Every project I do is different. Some things are just a simple voice over recording and others are a full length CD. Once we establish what it is you'd like to do we go from there.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I've studied music since the age of 5, starting on guitar, then piano and Clarinet. I was first chair Clarinet in our high school band at the age of 14 as well as worked in an active bar band playing guitar. I played in a Florida with the rock band "Dorian Gray" who featured then drummer Jani Lane (who later became the singer for the multi-platinum band Warrant). I studied music at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA. After school I worked as a full time guitar teacher for many years while starting learn how to record and produce music. I've now been recording full time since 1995. I play many instruments which include:Guitar, Piano, 5 string bass, mandolin, Dobro and lap Steel, harmonica, Clarinet, Alto Sax, Lead and Backing Vocals, and, various hand percussion instruments.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
My base price is $75/hour for the studio. Rates will decrease to $70/hour if we book 3 hours or more. Assuming I'm "producing" and creating the instrumentation (guitar, keyboards, drums, etc) I charge an al a carte fee of $160/song for everything. This fee is only charged once per song, even if I'm still adding instruments on another day. When you book a studio you typically hire outside musicians. Most studio musicians get $100/hour. I'm basically your "on call" studio musician that is all set up ready to go for one flat rate!
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I first started teaching myself how to program drums and record my own songs on a four track machine (kids, we used cassette tapes back then). At some point I started recording friend's demos. As I improved I started "Dave's Demos" out of my apartment in Van Nuys, followed by my first real studio, DBW Productions. I'm now working out of my 3rd studio and eat and breath music and production. I consider myself quite technical but with a huge artistic side.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have a very broad range. I have an award winning Native American Flutest named "Golana" who I've done 8 CDs with, I have an alternative country artist, Richard Burr who has topped the charts in Europe, I have an up and coming young singer/songwriter named Destiny who was the first person to be signed to Mark Burnet's (producer of the show The Voice) music division and many, many others who are all unique. I'm able to conform to many styles of music and get into a project pretty easily. After all, it's only music;-)
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I just worked on a classic rock project that allowed me to go back to my musical roots of music of 60's and 70's. This was an era where people committed to recording and didn't rely on technology. One of the fun things I got to do was play guitar using a violin bow in tribute to Jimmy Page! The whole 12 song CD project took about 6 months to complete. This is with recording once a week, maybe twice if we were lucky.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Don't let money be the final deciding factor. Sometimes someone who charges more per hour will do a better job at directing you and recording a superior product. Make sure you like them as a person and don't commit to anything long term. I'd rather just record one song with a new client so that they can get their feet wet and see how it feels to them. I have a lot of return business and have done multiple (big) projects with people, which I think speaks for itself.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
The most asked question I get asked is: "how much is it to record a song?" I have an extensive FAQ on my website that I tell people to read that helps walk them through basic recording questions as the answer to this is; "It depends". It's like asking an architect how much it costs to build a house;-) I need to know the type of song it is in terms of production and what you need from me in terms of my musical contribution. If you can send me an example of something commercial that you'd like to emulate that will better help me give you a realistic answer.