Tom Spiker

Producer-Mixer-Instrumentalist

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32 Reviews (31 Verified)
Tom Spiker on SoundBetter

Production, session work and mixing with one foot in the future and the other in the classics. Past clients (studio or live) include Bilal, Talib Kweli, Kelis, Ellie Goulding, Meghan Trainor, Burhan O'cal, G Love and Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra).

25+ years of professional experience. I’ve toured the world on guitar and bass with Internationally known singer-songwriters, Rnb/Hip Hop artists, Jazz groups, West African and Bollywood artists. I have a jazz background, but my taste and experience spans multiple genres. Please visit my website http://www.undercarriagerecording.com or Spotify discography playlist https://linktr.ee/Tomspiker for a better sense of where I'm coming from.

I want to stress that I’m an easy and fun collaborator and will put the artist's vision first. I greatly respect the balance of staying out of the way of the music or taking control as needed. Equally happy keeping it simple or getting super weird! Happy to play the part as written or forge a new path.

I have a ton of instruments floating around in the studio,100% tube front end, fantastic mic collection, top notch monitoring and conversion.

I've engineered and played on literally thousands of songs and I'm always willing to lend my perspective if you're stuck on anything in the process.

I will do my best to work within any reasonable budget, and will definitely cut breaks if you need multiple instruments.

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Tom Spiker
  • Donn T
  • Donn T
  • Diaper Full of Poopie
  • Bilal
  • Phil Roy
  • RYAT
  • RYAT
  • As Human
  • As Human
  • As Human
  • As Human
  • Funky Butter
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Calvin Weston
  • Frank Bey
  • Frank Bey
  • Tom Cohen
  • Tania Alexandra
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Brentwood Estates
  • Jacobs Hill
  • Jacobs Hill
  • Jacobs Hill
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • David Newman
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Suzin Green
  • Daniel Johnson
Discogs verified credits for Tom Spiker
  • G. Calvin Weston*, The Phoenix Orchestra
  • Son Step
  • DeStructos
  • Evening Sky
  • Calvin Weston's Big Tree
  • Funky Butter
  • Irena Jarocka
  • Grant Calvin Weston*
  • Carsie Blanton
  • Bilal
  • Trinidelphia
  • Pete Donnelly
  • Lushlife + CSLSX
  • Megan Vice
  • Pete Donnelly
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • G. Calvin Weston*, The Phoenix Orchestra
  • Son Step
  • The Figgs
  • Jaxx De Luxe
  • DeStructos
  • Ryan Tennis
  • Various

32 Reviews - 6 Repeat Clients

Endorse Tom Spiker
  1. Review by Oliver
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    by Oliver
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    Another swift and well executed project with Tom. Each time, I throw a track with a different vibe/genre his way and he nails it. A very talented musician.

  2. Review by Oliver
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    by Oliver
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    I have thrown various genres at Tom across a number of projects and he nails it every time. He is very responsive and makes the whole process efficient. Wonderful feel delivered with a great bass tone.

  3. Review by Daniel I.
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    Tom is a REAL professional musician! He is super fast, musically intelligent and just absolutely amazing! I would give him even 6 Stars! Thanks Tom, i'll come back again to you very soon!

  4. Review by Andrew O.
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    Great communicator and very informative about bass playing and music production in general. funky & groovy

  5. Review by The O.
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    by The O.
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    Great performance. great tone for the song. great communication and guy.

  6. Review by Jeff M.
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    I was looking for bassist to augment my original part and give it life. Tom really did a great job! I would absolutely recommend him. Track is Funky Retro Pop tune and he nailed it.

  7. Review by Jordan Astra
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    We're I think, 4/4. Tom is my go to guy when it comes to the smoothest bass lines.

  8. Review by Daniel I.
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    Tom is such a great guitar & bass player. He really understood from the 1st second what i want and specially what the track needed! Very nice guy and very fast workflow! Much respect!

  9. Review by Paolo F.
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    Tom is a great guy and musician. Not only he made sure to capture the feeling and the musical intention of the song, but he also paid attention to the details and proposed alternative harmonic solutions. In a couple of days I had plenty of material to work with. Highly recommended!

  10. Review by Oliver
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    by Oliver
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    I have worked with Tom a number of times. He is a superb bass player who brings something individual and special to the track no matter the genre. I highly recommend him.

  11. Review by Oliver
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    by Oliver
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    Had another great experience working with Tom. A very talented musician whose interpretation and playing really elevates a track. Very high quality bass sound too.

  12. Review by BJ
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    by BJ
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    Repeat Customer! Tom did a stellar job on my disco house track - providing the coolest funky disco bass to my specifications to a tee, plus added some extras I would not have thought to do. True professional. Definitely my guitars go to for anything in the future!

  13. Review by Jordan Perry
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    Tom did a killer job! He worked really quickly and was very receptive to revision requests, resulting in well performed and recorded guitar parts that were exactly what the song needed.

  14. Review by Brett A.
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    FASTED TURN AROUND IN SOUNDCLOUD HISTORY!

    Tom took the job, one set of instructions, and followed to the tea. Outcome were two fantastic funky guitar tracks.

    Quick to respond, and very good communicator. Highly recommend.

  15. Review by Oliver
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    by Oliver
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    Another great bass performance from Tom. His musicality impresses me every time. Great bass line feel which made the electronic drums and overall track really groove that much more organically.

  16. Review by Oliver
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    by Oliver
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    2nd time working with Tom. A fantastic musician who will really take your track to the next level. Easy to communicate with, has a tight turnaround time and delivers a lovely bass sound. Very cool.

  17. Review by I Hear Jimmy
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    Tom is an absolute pro! You can tell he's a seasoned vet. I hired Tom for a live bass line but you can tell his producing/mixing/songwriting chops help him fully understand what your looking for. Highly recommend Tom all day every damn day!

  18. Review by Chesrey E.
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    So cool to work with Tom! After some communication Tom delivered exactly what we needed! When I need a bassline again I know who to contact!

  19. Review by Jordan Astra
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    Another record together smashed out in 2 takes. This is why I work with him everytime.

    No matter the genre, Tom delivers.

  20. Review by Ernest
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    by Ernest
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    Tom was able to work off the MIDI tracks I provided for him and added groove and nuances that only a great player can. Highly recommended.

Interview with Tom Spiker

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: It's coming soon! A collaboration with a friend in Nashville... Strange and beautiful melodies over some odd, but earthy rhythmic stuff.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: Some fragmented, "Prince guitar" inspired afro-psychedelic soul bits, some improvised music and wrapping up three or four other albums for clients.

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: Hmm.. not sure. I don't think the person who sent me has an account yet. Can I get back to on this one?

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Both. Get it sounding the way you want it, then press record. If I had to be hard-headed about it, I would say analog for sound and digital for convenience and flexibility; but it isn't really that black and white. I can't execute chopped up drums, pull off the weirdo plugin sounds, or do quick edits and fixes with analog tape. But....I couldn't get these digital recordings to sound good without great analog gear.

  9. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  10. A: I've been at it for 35 years give or take. I actually picked up the violin about 40 years ago, so there's that too. As a person "creating interesting musical stuff", it's probably been about 30 years. 90s: Jazz school (guitar and bass performance) -> 2000s: Teaching myself recording and making productions out of jam sessions (while gigging a ton) -> 2005: Building a recording studio and officially getting sucked down the rabbit hole (while still gigging a ton) -> 2014: Landing a faculty position at the University of the Arts in Philly teaching audio and music -> Current: Balancing the entire plate of sessions, touring, teaching and parenting.

  11. Q: How would you describe your style?

  12. A: It's just me... Genre neutral? I have a hard time w/ these questions. Maybe a cross between King Tubby and Miles Davis with some Zappa/P Funk undertones.

  13. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  14. A: Tubes and ribbon mics! Since acquiring 10 channels of DW Fearn microphone preamps a few years back, things have been smooth sailing, as far as sonics are concerned. I've basically cut the number of mics used on the average session in half. The space itself, is an ideal production room. Spacious control room (that doubles as a tracking room), with a medium sized floated iso booth that can accommodate a very large drum kit, or small group of singers, etc. Digital duties are performed with a Lynx Aurora n feeding Pro Tools Ultimate. We also have Ableton Live 9 and Logic X on hand in case they're needed. Plenty of instruments and amps as well. The full rundown can be found at http://www.undercarriagerecording.com/gear-list/

  15. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  16. A: I make it a point to earn the trust of all clients. Most engineers are labeled as musically illiterate, while most musicians are labeled as technically illiterate. I see it all as one thing, so I try to break down those barriers as quickly as possible. As an engineer/producer, one of the most rewarding experiences is successfully conveying to a musician that they are in charge of their sound.

  17. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  18. A: I won't screw your music up. Managing expectations is key. We're all unique and have our quirks. If our quirks don't line up, I won't take the gig.

  19. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  20. A: Hands down, it's when a group of people in a room hear an idea together which takes the whole project in a new direction. There's an intoxicating energy that can be tapped when everyone in the room is involved.

  21. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  22. A: Aside from rates, and if we're talking about the studio, it's usually a question about how much individual instrument isolation I have. The answer is something to the effect of "a booth and 2 iso rooms for amps, but what's the reason?". A lot of times, bands need isolation because they really aren't ready to commit the music that they have. Maybe it's a scratch track (or 3). Nothing wrong with scratch vocals for the sake of a great band recording, but with all of this technology, we seem to find ourselves in very non-commital habits of creating art. I try to help the artist find a happy medium of risk taking, while covering your tracks. Besides, the adrenaline of the red light brings the energy!

  23. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  24. A: I generally like to get a feel for how hands on or off they are. This let's me gauge whether or not they'll be tinkering around with what I give them, or just leaving it be. I also like to know what level of perfectionist a person is. Some people like their recordings raw and vulnerable, others go for extreme perfection. I want to understand their tastes, otherwise, I may do something that doesn't fit their vision.

  25. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  26. A: AEA R88 stereo ribbon mic DW Fearn VT-2 2 channel mic pre my '73 Strat my '72 P Bass a Super Reverb or something that can double as a bass amp.

  27. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  28. A: Fear not!

  29. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  30. A: Living? I'd absolutely love to play guitar with Tom Waits, bass with Bill Frisell, and maybe hang out and make cool sounds w/ Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois.

  31. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  32. A: You can't polish a turd, but you can disguise it as a chocolate bunny.

  33. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  34. A: Again.. all over the place. Too much to list. A lot of jazz (mostly as a recordist), a lot of funk/disco (as a session player), weirdo film stuff (on my own), dub, hip hop, singer-songwriters, chant music, you name it.

  35. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  36. A: Skill? Hard to say. It's probably a tie between guitar and bass playing. In a sense, the best thing about any of my skill sets is how the other skill sets inform them. For example, I'm a much better guitarist because of my bass and production knowledge than if I were to sink the entire focus into the guitar. Perspective and artistry are really what brings a skill into fruition.

  37. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  38. A: I try to say as much with as little as possible. That said, sometimes the job calls for a pile of flavor. I try to have fun and not overthink things. I do like contrasting sounds and styles, so I usually think outside of the genre.

  39. Q: What's your typical work process?

  40. A: I came up as an improviser, so I have a strong connection to my gut instincts. Having a few decades worth of chops as a musician and about 20 years as an engineer allows fast execution of ideas without getting bogged down by the technical hurdles. Work quickly, sleep on it, double check and print!

  41. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  42. A: These days, I'm at about 60% recording/mixing and 40% session work (guitar and bass). Lately, I've been finishing up production on a handful of albums (4 of my own and a few collaborations), so getting remote production work hasn't been a huge priority.

  43. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  44. A: I'm all over the place. Guitar influences range from Curtis Mayfield to Bill Frisell to Ali Farka Toure. Bass is straight Bootsy/Jamerson/Aston "Family Man" Barrett territory. Production and sonic tastes include Daniel Lanois, Tchad Blake, King Tubby and T Bone Burnett to name a few. I can't talk about musicians without mentioning Miles Davis. He probably singlehandedly influenced my artistic approach the most.

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Lenny Kravitz/Jaxx De Luxe

I was the guitarist and bassist in this production

Terms Of Service

Session work and Mixing: Turn-around in 3 business days or less. 2 revisions per song, paid in full before tracks delivered. Production: It's a complicated art form- let's discuss!

GenresSounds Like
  • David Byrne
  • Prince
  • Daft Punk
Gear Highlights
  • DW Fearn mic pres
  • eqs and compression
  • Neumann
  • AEA
  • Royer
  • Coles
  • Lucas
  • AKG mics
  • vintage Fender guitars
  • basses and amps
  • 1900s upright bass
  • '67 Ampeg B15
  • GFI pedal steel guitar
  • Roland Space Echo
  • PMC monitors
  • Pro Tools Ultimate
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