I help artists achieve their dreams through extensive listening and close collaboration. The art of sound is everything to me.
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Interview with Brian Starley
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That what I do is all technical. Recording, mixing and mastering are all artforms. Engineers are artists. I am an artist.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening. That's what engineers do, right? Accountability also. I do what I say I'm going to do. I won't halfass anything. My job isn't done until a project is complete and everyone is happy.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Every situation is completely different. I like to meet with my potential clients several times and discuss their project(s) at length to find out how I can fit into their process. If I don't feel I can meet the artist's needs, I'll try to refer someone who will be right for the project. Without taking the time to get to know someone and why they do what they do, there really is no way I can know how to help them. Getting to know the potential client is the first part of the process. Once we've established a mutual trust, the process can vary from project to project. I always choose the path of least resistance when it comes to an artist's workflow. Once I know the project and what the vision is, I can help steer the process in a direction that makes the workflow seamless and fun. Sometimes this means bringing the studio to them. My studio is modularly designed with mobility in mind. The studio isn't always the place where an artist feels most creative and I respect that. I will also change my studio around to create a whole new space for them to feel completely inspired.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The boring answer is: production, recording and mixing. Signal flow, microphones and signal processing are all prerequisites to doing any of the above mentioned. I have spent almost 2 decades now dedicating myself to mastering all things audio, but I will always be a student of recording and forever learning. None of that really matters though... It all starts with a great song. How that song gets birthed into the world is really up to the artist, but sometimes they don't know how to get there. I'm here to help facilitate that birth and help artists execute their vision. Putting yourself into someone else's life experiences comes with a lot of responsibility. I try really hard to get to know an artist on a personal level before I work with them. How can I bring any value to this person's music or message? My role can vary greatly and is always different in each situation. Sometimes I'm there to just give someone confidence and then get out of the way. Other times I am a fresh perspective and a collaborator. In any scenario, I'm here to serve the artist.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My ears.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Control room. Live room. Headphones or not. Analog, digital, or both. We have a great selection of microphones and gear, but musicians make the music, not the gear.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't be afraid to commit. If you don't make any mistakes you'll never get any better.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both are necessary. Whatever feels right for the project and the project's budget.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will work tirelessly for you until your vision is complete and you are beyond happy with the end result.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Collaborating. There is nothing more exciting than making great art with creative people.