Jamie King is an American producer who has worked with such bands as Between the Buried And Me, For Today, The Contortionist, Alesana, Scale the Summit, Killwhitneydead, Liferuiner, Motionless in White, Through the Eyes of the Dead, and many more. He works out of his The Basement Recording in Winston-Salem, NC. We spoke about analogies, digital guitar rigs, what made him become an engineer, what kind of musical tools he’d invent if he’d get a team of MIT’s & Silicon Valley’s smartest behind him and much more!
- What was the thing that got you into Music Production?
I got into recording after recording with a lot of semi local engineers that couldn’t or wouldn’t give my highschool/college time period bands that sounds we wanted. My band right out of high school paid $90 an hour to record a record at a multi-million dollar studio in Charlotte NC and the record ended up still sounding like a demo and the engineers we worked with weren’t willing or able to give us the sounds we wanted so I just determined I’d have to figure it all out myself. We couldn’t afford to pay more and it seemed to be more logical to just spend the money on some gear and dial it all up myself. I felt like I had a knack for it after recording some 4 track demos that sounded better than many of the real studio recordings that we did. haha Back then, recording gear was so expensive that only older people could afford to have and run studios and they weren’t into and/or understanding of the types of tones and production my bands were looking for.
- What’s your stance on the digital vs analog battle?
There shouldn’t be a battle. It all works together nicely for me. Digital and Analog gear produces different sounds. I enjoy sounds from both. I just depends on what sounds or character you want and/or prefer for certain projects.Sometimes analog is better. Sometime digital is better. Even the analog emulated stuff has subtle different qualities that can be better for some stuff than the actual analog stuff. I do always prefer digital control although. I wish analog stuff was all digitally controlled for consistency and recall. The analog guess work really bothers me as I’m quite OCD. haha
- Do you think one day software, emulation-hardware etc will surpass the real thing?
It already has in some instances. Again, it depends on the sound and character you want. Like with digital emulated guitar rigs. You can get the big high gain tube amps with consistency and recallability with more definition than a real amp. This can be great for some styles of music. But sometimes the analog smear of a real tube is good for other styles.
- How do you see the current Music Production scene? The pros the cons, what we might be missing/what we could improve?
I’m glad technology has made things affordable. It’s enabled me to be able to do an industry quality product out of my basement. Although, it’s also created a trend of people trying to do everything themselves and not record with professionals resulting in a sub-par product. Clients are often proud of their work even though it’s really not good enough for the public to really give it a shot. It’s also led to people doing programming rather than recordings with rock and metal. Rock and metal are traditionally a performance based art and I think it should be that way. If someone does a program record with fake drums and super edited everything else, they should be required by law to call it a programming and not a recording haha. It’s really taken away from the enjoyment of hearing new music. You never know what’s real and what’s not and I personally just don’t care if it’s not real.
- What’s the latest piece of gear (hardware/software) that made you go bananas?
Im still using ProTools 8 HD so no new software going on here, haha. Most of what I love is old stuff. Just got a 5150 III that I dig. Tone is great. The most revolutionary for me has been the Axe FX 2 I guess. Sounds great and is convenient to the max.
- Let’s say we could get the brightest of the brightest and smartest of the smartest to come up with a piece of gear (software/hardware) and it could eliminate one annoying thing, what would it be (could be audio or anything, physically impossible or possible)?
Something to get cymbal bleed out of the snare and toms and still sound natural? haha. Oh, and something to store and recall analog gear settings. haha
- If you could give one piece of advice to a young starting home-studio producer, what would it be?
Get a DAW and practice recording to make sure you have the knack and interest before buying a lot of gear and investing a lot of time. I’ve seen so many spend so much time and money that don’t end up having the natural skill sets or the OCD to push them through laborious work needed to accomplished a full production product. The market has really become saturated with great engineers/producers so money to be made is less than ever and cost to work with already established ones is less than ever so you should only do it if you feel it’s your natural calling. There’s been many talented engineers quit due to not being able to get work and/or make enough money so it’s not worth too much time and money investment these days. Sorry to be a downer but it’s true. haha
- If you would have to make an analogy between music production and something else, what would it be? Do you use analogies when you try to explain something to the artist/A&R/etc?
Yeah, I use analogies all the time. I always say real recordings are like natural organic food. It’s good for you. The more processed McDonald’s music seems good at first but usually lacks something reaches the soul and therefore isn’t good for you. haha