I have heard horror stories from other bands and musicians about the misadventures of recording, especially for the first time. My band actually went through this when we originally went to record. We realized early on that it would not work, and cut that deal off. We found out the initial go around as a musician is always a learning process no matter what you claim you know or don't know.
Fortunately for my band and I, this was an easy learning experience as we transitioned from rookie recorders, to slightly knowledgeable of what we were doing. Lucky for us we had the privilege to record with Gary Atturio of Galuminum Foil Studios in Brooklyn.
One of the first things Gary told us was the kind of producer he can be. He said, "I could be the guy who just pushes record, or I can give you my professional input and advice." We went for the latter figuring his experience would benefit us greatly, and it sure did. In the long run we were extremely happy with our time at the studio, and grateful for everything Gary taught us and implemented in our music.
I decided to email Gary for a brief Q&A on his insight on the music industry and life as an engineer.
J- What is the "official" name of your job and how long have you been doing it? Brief description of what you do...
GA- I'm not sure there's an official name to what I do. I make music with people for a living, whether it's engineering, playing bass, or producing.
J- What made you choose this direction of profession? (Any life changing experience or was it a simple choice?)
GA- I've played music my whole life. After graduating college, I moved to New York, and went on a corporate interview. It made me realize that I could never handle working in that type of environment for the rest of my life. I ended up working at a really fun, low-paying day job while playing in bands and touring a bit. I got hooked up with a great studio, and since then have met many amazing people.
J- What is your musical background? (What do you play, what's your favorite type of music to play or listen to, how long have you been musically inclined?)
GA- I began studying classical violin when I was about 6. Around 10, I started playing piano and guitar. I started electric bass around 15, and studied some upright bass in college. I can play the drums, but I am probably the world's 5th worst drummer. I wouldn't say there is a specific genre of music I prefer to play, but more than anything I like making music with good people. It just makes the whole experience so much better.
J- What's the best thing about being a producer, what's the worst?
GA- I wouldn't say there are necessarily good and bad things about being a producer. There are some days that are more rewarding than others, but every day spent working on a record is valuable. Even if things aren't going quite smoothly, the artist or the producer is probably learning something that will help them further on down the road.
J- What's the best thing about playing live, what's the worst?
GA- I love playing live, but it's not for everyone. Touring can get tough, but as long as you keep a level head and respect the people around you, it should be a piece of cake. Also the worst experiences usually make the best stories. Once while touring in Scotland, our band's hostel room in Glasgow was attacked by the hostel owner himself, who was completely blacked out drunk! Luckily no one got hurt, we got a free room that night, and we all had a good laugh the next day.
J- What's your crowning achievement as an artist/technician?
GA- Most people in my line of work, including myself, are constantly trying to better themselves. I have had many great moments over the years. I hope that every day I continue to spend making music, I learn more and more, and achieve greater things.
J- Could you see yourself doing anything else with your life? (Why?)
GA- No, because I would make an awful bartender...
J- Where do you feel the music industry is moving towards today? (Mainstream or underground circuit)
GA- Music is in a more exciting place now than it I think it ever has been. Music is more accessible than ever, which is pushing the envelope for developing artists. On the other hand, there is very little money left in music. It becomes harder and harder to make a living in the music industry. 20 years ago, record labels had much more money to spend on artists and studios. These days most artists are taking a more "do it yourself" attitude, which is great.
J- Who's the most famous or successful person you have worked or played with?
GA- Haha, I guess Ricky Minor, musical director of American Idol. He threatened to steal my bass guitar...
J- What's your biggest rockstar moment? (Made you feel like you "made" it)
GA- I appeared with a band a couple years back on national television. At the time I felt like I "made it", I guess. However, I feel about 3 billion times more fulfilled today making music on a small scale for people who really appreciate it.
J- Did you ever work with anyone who just blew your mind or you eventually became a big fan of?
GA- This happens often. I am amazed at the amount of talent I am surrounded by. I think one of the most important things any person can do to further improve themselves as a musician or artist, is to go out and find these people. Surround yourself with them, close your mouth, and listen to what they have to say. I guess it's kind of ironic that I'm preaching this.... I'll shut up now.
I would like to thank Gary for answering all these questions honestly, and for getting back to me so soon. Gary is an amazing sound engineer that I highly recommend to any band looking to record. I would also like to thank Galuminum Foil Studios for housing my band and putting up with our noise. The rates for the studio are fair and they are willing to work with you on a deal or package. For contact info go to--