If Florida Death Metal is your forte, Jim Morris needs absolutely no introduction. He co-founded the now legendary Morrisound Recording in Tampa, FL. Jim has worked with bands such as Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Deicide, Obituary, Savatage, Iced Earth, Kamelot, Jag Panzer and many more. We spoke about “Happy accidents”, making the inevitable move towards digital recording, why artists should invest more into good recording, how to make mix sound raw & punchy yet clear, how to get into the same headspace with the artist and much more.
1. What was the thing that got you into Music Production?
For me, it was a combining of interests. I was in the process of getting a degree in Electrical Engineering, while playing in several bands to make enough money to stay in school. After a few years of this, I realized that audio recording was a great way to meld those talents.
2. What’s your stance on the digital vs analog battle?
I have done many records in both formats. I see major advantages in both, but, in today’s market, there is really very little choice. Despite what I consider to be the superior sound quality of analog tape, the move to computer based recording has allowed us to leave behind limitations we never thought we could escape from.
3. Do you think one day software, emulation-hardware etc will surpass the real thing?
I believe that in the future, virtual audio processing will become closer and closer to the real thing. I have no idea when the tipping point will come, I just know we aren’t very close yet, to my ears.
4. How do you see the current Music Production scene? The pros the cons, what we might be missing/what we could improve?
The biggest issues I see and hear are related to the fact that it has become more and more difficult for new artists to justify investing in a good recording. Despite the amazing ability to “self release”, it’s harder to break through the deluge of new projects, which makes it hard to warrant the expense of a professional recording. The result is a huge amount of fantastic new artists, with substandard recordings that don’t bring out the best each artist has to offer.
5. What’s the latest piece of gear (hardware/software) that made you go bananas?
I would have to say the newest releases from Universal Audio and Sound Toys in the software world. In hardware, I am really enjoying our SSL Duality console.
6. 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)?
A real solution to latency in audio software would make my day. I’m not holding my breath, though.
7. If you could give one piece of advice to a young starting home-studio producer, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. People get trapped trying to chase a sound or a preconceived musical notion, and they miss those “happy accidents” along the way. Sad.
8. What is your approach to keep things raw and powerful yet clear and produced at the same time?
I try to never “play it safe” in a mix. I think if I can get the listener to focus on the main thrust of a song, the fine details will take care of themselves.
9. How does the brutal heavy metal sessions differ from the lighter rock/pop sessions? Do you have a certain “metal mood” that you have to dial yourself into or a certain mantra that you wouldn’t do if working on other styles of music?