Production isn't about demonstrating my talent. It's about highlighting yours. I take huge pride in communicating with the artists I work with and working to realise their vision.
The Home Recording Revolution has done wonders for musicians. It has also produced a lot of weak, thin sounding recordings. The truth is, there is no substitute for a professional recording environment.
My approach to production focuses on three priorities: to push the song and the performance to the point that they are the best that they can be and to use technology to create sonic palettes that are unique to your music. I'm very happy to work remotely building from your demo.
Whilst I have a hybrid approach to mixing, my aim is always to create an analogue vibe. Analogue summing, printing to tape, outboard compression, all create a ‘warmth’ and ‘glue’ that is very desirable, no matter what genre you’re in. My aim is always to create that analogue effect. If you’re looking for super pristine mixes that sound like they were polished to perfection on a computer, you should probably look elsewhere. If you’re looking for analogue style warmth and mojo, wide mixes that pack a punch, then get in touch!
I use UAD converters, Focal and Yamaha monitors, High end plugins, and a carefully curated selection of outboard gear, including Neve and API preamps and 1/4 inch tape for genuine slap back delay.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
4 ReviewsEndorse Oli James
- check_circleVerified (Client)
So grateful and happy to get to work with Oli again. I really dig his production style. I hope we can keep working together, Oli!
- check_circleVerified (Client)
Oliver is a very talented musican, and a very good and honest communicator, which is very much appreciated! I enjoyed the work very much and talking to Oli about his songs!
Would love to help out with his music in the future!
best of luck on your releases, Oli!
Oliver is an incredible producer who provides a creative space that is always full of positive energy and great communication. He has helped me vocally reach notes that I originally
Oli has done our 2 most recent releases and we're absolutely delighted about the results we received. His dedication to capturing a vision and a vibe are second to none, as well has having genuine enthusiasm for his craft. His knowledge of the fabric of music as a whole is not only impressive, but he's able to use his knowledge in context within his mixes to help mould the larger picture. Oli's not only a consummate professional, but he's a pleasure to chat to and learn from also. I always enjoy working with him. Thanks Oli!
Interview with Oli James
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I've just finished producing a six track EP that involved collaborating with people in care homes suffering from mental health disorders and isolation, called Pear Person Tackles Loneliness. It blew up on Kickstarter and received funding from the Arts Council UK, but most importantly it made a huge difference to people's lives. The music was pretty funky too!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Jeronimo Quintana is one of the best Mix Engineers I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He's just a really nice guy and it makes everything easier, and it shows in the result.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. They do different things.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I won't stop until you're happy, and I'll always give 100%, sometimes more ; )
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't just focus on what they've done. You might be the artist that will prove to be their breakthrough. This is a creative industry, so communication and relationships are hugely important. How they present themselves, the time and care they take to talk to you, these are big indicators of what the collaborative process could look like.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: An acoustic guitar and an upright piano, logistics aside. Then a Neve 1073, a U87 and a Fairchild.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been in Music for over ten years, starting as a guitarist and later as an artist in my own right. I started self-producing, then producing for friends, then eventually I started my own production business.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I'm bold and I'm creative. I want to expand what's already there, I'm not looking to polish things to perfection.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Probably HAIM. I think they're fantastic songwriters and they just have that energy that only happens when family come together with the mics running.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't be afraid to commit to a sound and an idea. these days a lot of people like to do everything clean and fix it later, but this can end up feeling like endless procrastination and it's not how great records are made. It's about trusting your instincts and making decisions. If you like the sound you're getting, commit to it, print the sound and move on.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Indie Pop, Indie Rock and SInger-Songwriter material.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm great at getting the best out of people and pushing them to a new level.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a lot of energy and positivity to a production session, as well as an objective set of ears. I have high standards which I hold everyone in a session too, myself most of all.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When mixing, I like to listen to the tracking mix first if possible, then explore a couple references. I try to make panning and levels do a lot of the work when it comes to capturing the vibe of the mix. Then I'll listen to each file and decide what could do with a bit of extra treatment - maybe running through a pre or printing to tape. Once I've got the files sounding the way I like them, I start looking into EQ, compression and spaces, generally in that order. I save the mixbus until last and try to do as little as possible there, saving room for the mastering engineer. For producing, I spend a lot of time communicating with the artist first, making sure we're clear on the goals and the direction. Then it really is down to the project and the artist and how they like to create.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have my regular studio with a few choice bits of gear, genelec monitors, a dedicated control room and a small live room I absolutely love. I'm often producing on the move, going to different studios for different clients, in which case I'll be working through my apollo interface, for pristine ADDA conversion and fantastic analogue emulations at all times.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love producers who bring instinct, personality and passion to what they do, not just technical knowledge and gear. Mark Ronson is one of my heroes for this exact reason.