Creative Imaging Director, RADIO @ SiriusXM/Pandora Radio
FROM A PREVIOUS INTERVIEW...
I was first sucked into radio in Toledo, Ohio. From there I moved to Hartford, CT to work for a Clear Channel cluster (with Kiss 95.7 was part of that). Then I scored a gig in LA at KKBT, (first 92.3 then 100.3 The Beat). After my position ended up getting eliminated it sent me to the other coast for SiriusXM in NYC. And then... I took a break from radio for a while. First I worked for the concert production company BYP in Houston, TX. Then Rockstar Games hired me full time in Edinburgh, Scotland as their Music Producer and radio imager. After the residents got tired of seeing my legs in kilts (LOL) I came back to NYC to work as a Creative Director Imaging, Radio for SiriusXM/Pandora Radio.
When did you first realize that you wanted to specialize in production?
While in college I did a stint as an intern at WRQN (CHR at the time). Johnny D was the night host and hired me as his producer/intern. We used to produce bits, FX, mixes, etc, for his show and I loved it. Never cared to be on the air, just loved to play in the studio and come up with stuff for his show.
Where is your work currently heard?
SiriusXM Radio is the main spot you can hear my work (LL Cool J's Rock The Bells, The Metallica & The Prince Channels, Soul Cycle Radio, and many others. Sonic logos for the newly acquired Pandora. If you're a gamer, you'll hear my work on the radio stations in Grand Theft Auto IV and V, including the new iFruit Radio (feat. Danny Brown and Skepta). I image a few stations for Cox Radio too.
What advice would you give to programmers seeking to get the most out of their production/imaging talent?
Push your producer's limits and get them working outside their comfort zone! At the same time, make sure you follow up with constructive criticism. Producers frequently hear only what’s wrong with a piece of production, make sure you let them know something you like about it. Also, send them to networking events like WWRS and The Imaging Days in Amsterdam where they can pick up tips/tricks and learn from their fellow producers.
What’s the most unique project that you’ve been involved with?
I'd have to say working with Rockstar Games on their Grand Theft Auto series. From creating the radio sound of a living digital city to mastering music it was a very cool project to be involved in. Most recently, it was working on their newest title - Red Dead Redemption II.
What’s the most challenging project that you’ve been involved with?
Without a doubt - working with LL Cool J on his channel here at SiriusXM (Rock The Bells Radio). Its pushed me to not only think as a radio Imaging person, but to think as a classic hip hop historian and music producer. He’s all about keeping his imaging true to hip hop culture and not letting the confines of whats "normally done" on radio define the sound of his channel. And the guy doesn't sleep, he would shoot messages over at 3am, my time, with ideas on how he wants to craft the sonics, that's how it was prior to the launch. It's been up just over 2 years now!
Tech Set-Up… what kind of mics/processing/software/plug-ins, etc. are you using?
I’m a Pro Tools and Ableton Live user. For an audio interface I use Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin MKII (with a lot of their plugins purchased over the years). I’m a UAD, Fabfilter, Native Instruments and iZotope user too. I recently picked up IK Multimedia's iLoud MTM speakers and love them! I'm always on the hunt for, and trying, new plugins, apps, gadgets that I can get my hands on, then run it all on a MacBook Pro or iPad.
Who are your mentors?
Rick Allen (formally at Hot 97 NYC), has been the guy who’s helped guide me through most of my career. He took the time to listen and critique my work, be brutally honest with me, even while he was busy with his own work at the radio station and his production libraries AND sound design projects. John Frost, Jeff Berlin, Kelly Kelly Kelly and Will Morgan have also been a major influence on me as well.
These days, imagers have full plates with multiple stations and responsibilities. What’s the best way to get everything done on time?
Keep focused and organized! Have your programmers provide you with specific instructions and any special content, that way you can produce without many (or any!) revisions. Occasionally I think of myself as a "revisionist" more then a producer! LOL
How can we do a better job of grooming up-and-coming talent?
I think this is a question of hiring the right person for the job! Passion speaks volumes. Hire a person with an intense desire for production because they’ll push themselves to be the best. Then, you're job is to support them and give them opportunities to learn, grow and make mistakes as they come.
What would you say is “the other side” of being a creative producer?
What works for me is travelling and experiencing new places/cultures, reading up on new tech, books on creativity- like Creative Quest by Questlove, and and and having hobbies... I love to surf and snowboard and have the scars to prove it. Or, just step out and away from your smartphone and media and bore your mind once in a while. I find that when you have few or no distractions you come up with new/fresh ideas, (well at least they are to you)!
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always thought I’d be a History Teacher, at least that’s what I went to college for! And who knows who I could've reached, just look how much Cardi B loves her history teacher.