Jesse Smelley


Jesse Smelley on SoundBetter

You want good trombone, right?

I'll gladly lend trombone to any project.

I've been playing heavily for 16 years in marching, concerts, and jazz bands and have my own home studio set up to record my own videos, so I'm prepared to record any parts at any time.

I can perform very toned-down songs as well as intensely energetic ones, but my specialization is bringing the extra "oomph" to high/energetic pieces - something a lot of brass musicians fall short of.

If you listen to my samples/soundcloud and think they could sound better, it's because I'm not a mixing engineer, and do my own stuff. I'm claiming to be a trombonist, not a genius mixer.

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.

Interview with Jesse Smelley

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

  2. A: A video I did that covered a Trombone Shorty song which amalgamated a few different versions of it, including multiple solos, into a longer (7 min) version that took a long time to arrange. I then went overboard and filmed 48 different angles/colored-light shots of myself playing the song over and over to make the video. It was complete overkill but it was fun to do something so ridiculously detailed for the fun of it to see if I could.

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

  4. A: A few songs/videos a month to upload to my YouTube. Just trying to crank out as much quality content as possible.

  5. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  6. A: Digital, analog is overhyped nostalgia the same way vinyls are. I have records, but I don't pretend they're objectively better than newer technology just because I like the feel. Digital just has more capability, but I don't knock someone for doing something in an analog fashion, as long as they don't whine about how it's better.

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

  8. A: I'll get it done. Simple as that.

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

  10. A: Playing new music, the challenge of getting it right for someone other than my judgment.

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

  12. A: That it's all people with broken dreams just trying to get by. I'm very much alive and am taking any opportunity to use this skill.

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

  14. A: What their intentions are, what the music's purpose is, what it should feel like, etc.

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

  16. A: I guess trust your gut? I think I can provide what is needed, and wouldn't mind a challenge either.

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

  18. A: Think I may die anyway, so I'm bringing the trombone (in the case with cleaning supplies), one of my favorite music binders or books, a sturdy lockbox, a

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

  20. A: Engineering/Programming before succumbing to my passion, a few years at this point

  21. Q: How would you describe your style?

  22. A: Clean or Dirty depending on circumstance, but always precise

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

  24. A: Trombone Shorty: Everything I love about music and trombone comes from listening to him. He also inspires me as a person in the way he approaches life. I don't care much if someone is great at music if they can't be looked up to otherwise.

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

  26. A: Try to get the cleanest recording initially and you'll have less work to do later. "Fix it in the mix" isn't a great motto.

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

  28. A: My favorite artists (usually pretty upbeat/energetic) Something currently or recently popular mainstream or Soundtrack/Theme from things I'm interested in

  29. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  30. A: Musically: Trombone Non-Musically: attention to detail

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

  32. A: Attention to detail, nothing's good enough. Although I'm never satisfied, it makes for a closer-to-perfect end product than apathy does.

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

  34. A: Few hours on transcribing/arrangement (when the music doesn't exist yet) At least 10-15 hours recording and mixing (depends heavily on the length and complexity of song) Up to 10 more hours filming video (if relevant)

  35. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  36. A: Thousands of $ sunk into equipment solely so that I could create and upload my own music. Fully prepared to record any time.

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

  38. A: Any professional that seeks to bring the trombone to the forefront as a solo instrument. My top inspirations are Trombone Shorty & Lucky Chops amongst many others.

GenresSounds Like
  • Trombone Shorty
  • Lucky Chops
  • Too Many Zooz
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