Recording and mixing engineer with pretty nifty home studio and keys to others...
Eric Block is a professional sound engineer living in the woods on the outskirts of Chicago, IL. He has recorded hundreds of records for independent artists and labels covering a wide musical range. For nearly 10 years, he acted as house engineer and manager of Semaphore Recording Studio’s, a longtime favorite of the Chicago independent music scene. With the closing of Semephore, he went on to work as a staff engineer at the legendary Engine Music Studios until they felt the hard pinch of escalating rents as well. These days, Eric enjoys making recordings in his personal studio, dubbed The Rec Room, as well working as a visiting engineer at some great rooms inside and outside of Chicago. From album production, film soundtracks, Voice Overs, and sound design, Eric has had his hand in just about anything you can imagine in the studio. Always sensitive to the unique needs of each project he works on, he would be glad to talk to you about yours.
In addition to studio work, Eric is a seasoned live sound vet and has mixed thousands of bands over the years. Running house sound and doing the occasional tour or multi hundred electric guitar orchestra, there isn’t much that’s going to stump him.
Please feel free to visit my website at thesoundblock.com
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Interview with Eric Block
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Live recording of "A Crimson Grail" for 200 electric guitars by Rhys Chathem performed at Lincoln Center and released on the Nun Such label. Recording and mixing engineer.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Soundtrack for a documentary film about vintage racing cars.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: New here, don't know.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both are fine, but I do love my analog set up as I feel the sonics are far supiorior to any computer I've heard. This allows me to get good sounds faster, and thus work quicker. Subscribing to my moto of making it right at the front end, I like to get the parts played right and move on, instead of endless takes to sort through and comp together later. Besides, you can always punch in...
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I am fully committed to my clients walking away with a positive experience. I make sure of this by being flexible with approach and always willing to try something new, and use my experience to help guide the project in the desired direction.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love helping people realize their vision and helping them produce a piece of work they can be proud of. Seeing clients excitement as they hear their work come together never gets old.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Is this the best song ever? Yes.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Not sure, may have to ask around!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are your goals with this project?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure your mission and vision are clear, but be prepared to change your vision.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Desert island means no electricity, so a drum set, acoustic guitar, piano, Kim (thai dulcimer), and maracas.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been recording professionally for over 15 years and as an obsessive hobbiest / musician for 10 years before that.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I like to make decisions and make things right at the front end and not "fix it in the mix". If something doesn't sound right from the get go, fix it instead of piling up decisions for mix time.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I have had the opportunity to work with a number of people I grew up admiring and listening to, but it'd still be pretty great to work on a Nick Cave record I think as helping create some of those atmospheres would be an honor, privalage, and challenge.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Use your ears, not your eyes.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Folk singer/songwriter, Rock, Jazz, Experimental.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Years of working in the trenches of recording in a myriad of environments from moldy basements to multi million dollar studios has given me the ability to get sound quick, address problems, keep the mood good, and turn out some great sound records for all sorts of budgets.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Ful commitment to sonic excellence. I am committed to making my projects sound their best and push for exploration of sounds and tones.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: After pre production and laying out sonic goals, I believe you have to be prepared for anything and set up to do just that with the ability to jump around efficiently and be able to make decisions quickly.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Analog based studio featuring an upgraded Sony MXP3036 console and vintage MCI JH16 2" tape machine.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Brian Eno, Daniel Lenois, Chris Bell/Alex Chilton,
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Album tracking and mixing.