Istanbul Fall Q&A

For this round I'm looking for some quick Q&A style stuff, you can just reply your answers to this email answering these questions:

1. What are 3 things you always need to take to the studio to record and why? 

I’ve found the three most important things I need to take to the studio to record are, first a clear head with no fear or expectations. The times I didn’t mentally prepare in that way I found myself locking up and completely giving in to overthinking. It’s best to remind yourself that it’s just music. It’s sound! There are no limits and the only limits that exist are the ones we create. The second thing I need to bring is sincere joy and positive vibes. Creating/Recording music needs this palate in order for great things to develop. Remaining aware and sensitive that all involved are in a place of vulnerability. Creating/Recording music is a very assenting event where ego is not the best trait to display. And last but not least, I bring myself. All of me, fully present and in the moment of creativity. Creating and listening requires my full attention. This is most important because, if I’m not all in I can miss out on the opportunities right in front of me, as well as shatter any possibility for future opportunities with the Artist/Producer that hired me for session.

2. What is the best advice you can give to someone who is going to record in the studio for the first time?

I don’t know if this is the “best advice” but it’s some advice… lol If you’re allotted the opportunity to record in the studio for the first time, my advice to you would be to be ready for anything. Trust that your practice time and your experiences prior have given you things that only you can offer. Be quick to listen and quick to execute instruction. If you’re given the freedom to share an idea, don’t get in your feelings if it doesn’t stick. The biggest thing to remember is to, “Have fun!” This is your first time in the studio so loosen up, don’t force it! You wouldn’t be in the room if you didn’t have something they liked. It’s your job to know what you bring to the table. Encourage yourself with positive thoughts. You’re suppose to be there if not, you wouldn’t be. In moments when things aren’t gelling just let go and know that it’s ok. Not every session is for you and in those moments the purpose may be to simply learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn from. 

“Preparation time is never wasted time” - Unknown

3. What is the best advice you can give to someone who is going to record, who maybe has been doing it for a while?

Keep learning and stay young at heart. Just because you’ve done something before in a previous session doesn’t mean you should throw that idea or concept out. Just put it back in your creative goodie bag and start again. Remain teachable and eager to learn and try anything. Music and creating of it is a highly opinionated art. There’s no right way to do it but there’s definitely a wrong way and we all know it when we hear it. lol I’ve found that getting away from music and specifically the drum set allows me to come back with fresh eyes and ears. Life outside of music is the purest and truest inspiration there is for a creative. I bike, hike, take photos, write short stories, spend time with other creatives (who don’t always talk about creating), have great conversations with my family, etc… These are the palettes from which my paint brush gets its colors to create. Without living real life with real people, I believe it is hard to ward off the jaded, complacent, prideful attitudes that some creatives develop over time.   

4. How do you choose which gear to take to the studio when you go?

The gear I choose to take to the studio starts with what has been proven to work for any situation. I like to bring the things that are most opposite of one another so I’m not limited creatively to particular tones and textures. That could mean bringing four different snares or three different bass drums. If I’ve heard the demo(s) before the session I tend to start with what the song is basically calling for meaning, I may start with what’s safe, what some call your “meat-n-tators” gear selection. It also depends on if the Artist or Producer is someone I’ve worked with. Some Artist/Producers like certain things so I will bring those particulars but still with an array of many others things. To sum it up, I just bring a shit load of gear that ranges from quirky, standard, random, colorful, diverse in sound, etc… I like to have fun so the gear I bring to the studio is like my own personal toy collection I like to bring to the playground. 

5. Anything else you would like to include about recording/going into the studio?

At this point I’m going to quote/paraphrase a few things from the great, Quincy Jones that will best express my conclusion to this blog:

“If you believe that you deserve all that money and adulation, that’s a problem. If you believe you don’t deserve it, that’s also a problem. And if you don’t understand this, you’re in trouble. It’s all about trusting a higher power; believing in divinity. It’s about cause and manifestation. Cause being God’s job, manifestation clearly being our job. The moment success leads you to say, “I’ll take it from here, God,” God’s reply will be, “Be my guest.” And God will walk out of the room.” - Quincy Jones “The only way to navigate that road is to have humility and grace. Those are the two cardinal rules. You must approach creativity with humility and have grace when you’re blessed with success.” - Quincy Jones

"If a song needs strings, it will tell you. Get out of the way and leave room so that God can walk in.” - Quincy Jones

"You've got to leave space for God to walk through the room.” - Quincy Jones