Matt Brownlie’s career is an illustrious one that speaks for itself through both the range of genres and also the sheer talent he has worked with. His accolades include working with Bette Midler, LL Cool J, Destiny’s Child, Frank Ocean, Kesha and many more. He won a Grammy for his work on the album Ritmo!
Matt’s career started when the Recording Connection placed him in an Apprenticeship with his mentor Brian Levi. After completing his apprenticeship with Brian he went to work with the late, great Clare Fischer. He began doing edits, then midi programming, then overdubs and this led to him doing work on Ritmo! Matt has worked now with Brent Fischer for 9 years, recording and mixing Big Bands, Orchestras and many more!
Here are the 2 points he talked about how to get good sounds while recording 12 songs in two days with the Brent Fischer Orchestra in NRG Studios in North Hollywood, CA.
- Good Players. Having these amazing 1 or 2 take players is a must. Some of these musicians read the score in house and the first take was used. This is incredible! Musicians like this are able not only to play their own parts, but to also play with others and feed off of them. World class musicians also come with a professionalism that is second to none. They are able to handle small inconveniences and take the jam packed days in stride without any sacrifice to the quality they are producing. The list of players in this project is astounding and is made up of some of the most famous and most talented musicians and studio musicians in the world. In the Woodwind sections; Bob Sheppard, Sal Lozano, Alex Budman, Kirsten Edkins, Brian Clancy, Sean Franz, Gene Cipriano, Bob Carr, Lee Callet. On the trumpets: Rob Schaer, Mike Stever, Kye Palmer, Jeff Bunneli, Ron Stout, Carl Saunders. On trombone: Charlie Loper, Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, Scott Whitfield, Steve Hughes, and Craig Gosnell. Larry Koonse played guitar. Chuck Berghofer played bass. Brent Fischer played electric bass, vibraphone, and marimba. Ray Brinker played the drums. On violins: Assa Drori, Alex Gorlovsky, Anna Kortyuchek, Sam Fischer. On violas: Elizabeth Wilson and Robert Berg. On cello: Maurice Grants and Kevan Torfeh. On contrabass: Oscar Hidalgo.
- Don’t get in the way. In a situation like this when each day is seeing 6 songs recorded from start to finish sometimes there is no time for a complete sound check. Matt says you must trust the mics and trust the musicians. AEA was amazing to lend many of their ribbon mics and lunch boxes filled with AEA preamps that were used to match the ribbon mics impedance. With a production like this it is important to have all the beat mapping and markers and protools done before the musicians come in so that you can get to work and it also makes communicating with the conductor easier and smoother. Matt likes to have spot mics on every instrument for control and adds a unique R88 as a room mic in the back of the room to give a “conductor” perspective. The other secret to the process is to trust the production team that for this project was made up of Sid Fenley, Kyle MacAuley, Claris Dodge, Ruth Nichols, Matt Wong, and Lorenzo Ferrero.
Check out the full interview to see some of Matt’s tips and to truly see how mind-blowingly calm he is despite the immense pressure and undertaking of the project.
Please enjoy the video and leave lots of comments and questions! In case you missed it, we also interviewed Brent Fischer and you can read that interview and watch the video here.
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Last, we just released an expansion of our popular mastering course with Warren Sokol. Warren is back and he is mastering 4 more songs. You can get the expansion, or save some money and get the original and the expansion right here!