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Tips for Building Your Studio Business

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I’m a drummer looking for sessions I can work on remotely from my studio. How do I find that type of work?

This person is specifically a drummer, but it could be anything. It could be guitar playing, it could be mixing, quite frankly, it could even be remote production.

How do you get it? Well, we live in the world of social media, so the first thing you’ve got to check off the box is do you have a good social media presence? Do you have your own business Facebook page? It takes about 30 seconds to setup. Do you have a SoundCloud? That still is pretty much the main way that people show their work.

So you need a SoundCloud page with your drumming on it if you’re a drummer. Your guitar playing, your production work, your mixing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you need to showcase it. You don’t have to have millions of views. It’s not about that, it’s about quality, not quantity.

I say this often about what we do here. We have a video that has 10,000 views, that’s great, because it’s 10,000 people that care about production and want to learn. So it’s really important not to get caught up in the whole, “Oh, you know, I don’t have a million fans, or whatever,” it doesn’t matter. Get your work out there. Don’t be held back.

Social media. Facebook page. Twitter. Tweet about your stuff. And then of course, any other platform. Instagram. Get your stuff out there. Then of course, website. Build your own website. You can use Wix, you can use any kind of WordPress thing. There’s so many templates out there that are very inexpensive, and you can just drop your photos in of your studio, of your drum kit, of your — whatever it might be just to get yourself out there and let people know that you really do this.

Because if I’m looking for somebody to play drums on my record, and I can’t find them, and when I do find them, it’s on like, a personal Facebook page, I’m going to not really take them seriously. If they have a business page, even if it only has 400 likes, who cares? It show cases that they have a studio. Many, many people successfully build businesses with just a handful of people following them. You don’t have to be fooled by the numbers.

So get yourself out there.

Now, the next thing, and I think this is really important, and it may be that you live in a little village in the middle of nowhere, but get yourself out there. Go to a show. Go and see bands. If you like a band, go and offer your services. If you’re a producer, an engineer, a mixer, go up and say, “I’d love to record a song with you.” And if they don’t have a budget, do one song for free.

If they like the song, they’ll pay you to do more. If you’re going to build a resume, you need to get work. So if you want to play drums on somebody’s record, offer your services for free. Build a resume.

Don’t be used and abused. Don’t do a whole album over three months and not get paid, but offer to do one song for free. It’s the way I and pretty much anybody I know has built their careers. You need to build a resume. You also need to build trust with people. By doing that and working with others, and they’ll see that you are delivering great stuff, they’ll trust you, because they’ll think, “Wow, he took his time to do something.”

So just get yourself out there in every way, shape, or form.

Do you mix rhythm guitars differently when there’s a solo or lead guitar playing?

That’s really interesting. No, normally. Why do I say no? Because if I’m mixing a traditional rock song, the lead guitar takes the place of, you guessed it, the lead vocal.

Think of all of the classic rock bands that we grew up listening to. Zeppelin, you had Robert Plant, Jimmy Page. You know, all of those bands, you know, Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry. What happens? The guy is singing, steps back, guy moves forward, plays a solo. Think of it visually.

When you’re listening to music, if you’ve got a visual experience going on in your mind, there’s nothing better than that. I often tell people that. Think about how do you want this to feel? How do you want this to imagine. You’re panning things around to feel like a live show. Well, think about that in terms of lead guitar. If the singer is singing, he steps away, then the guitar player has to step into that same place, so typically, I would say a solo can be around about, if not exactly the same volume as the lead vocal. That’s what it’s about.

Now, however, if you do have a situation where you’ve got both of those things happening, there’s a couple of tricks, and I’ve talked about them before.

You’ve got lead singer singing, lead guitar player playing over the outro of the song. That’s very typical. Guy ad-libbing, guy soloing around it. What I do in those instances is either automate between lead vocal and guitar, or more importantly, I take the lead vocal and I sidechain it to the lead guitar. So they’re both exactly the same volume, but every time the singer sings, it ducks the lead guitar a bit.

So it might be like, [mimics vocals and guitar]. And it just — you can do that like, two dB, but it’s just a nice way of just letting those two interplay with each other, and again, you’ll get that same visual. You’ll get this idea of Steven and Joe back to back. It’s all about that. Now, if you want to talk rhythm sounds against lead guitars, that’s a tough one. If it’s massively dense metal track, and this is just going hell for leather, just insanely loud, then you can get specific — not necessarily with volume, but with frequencies. You can take some of the more aggressive areas, which are like, 1, 5, and 3 to 5 kHz, and you can just duck them lightly when the guitar comes in.

So you won’t lose some of the higher just above 5kHz, and you won’t lose the low mids, but you might get some of that energy of a lead guitar. However, for me, that’s pretty rare. That’s when you’re in four rhythm guitars on one side, four rhythm guitars on the other side, two arpeggios going, and a lead guitar all trying to fight.

And to be honest, in that instance, sometimes, it’s better to just mute some of those other conflicting high guitars and let that lead guitar come in there.

I love the new intro music. What band is that, or who recorded it?

Well, that’s me. If you go to the podcasts, that’s actually the music for the podcast. So we’ve been using it for about a year now, and we decided to introduce it to the videos.


So I hope you enjoy it, and thanks ever so much for the people who have commented and say they enjoy the music. It’s fun to play. I actually wrote it at Hybrid Studios about a year ago, a little over, on an acoustic guitar, and then came back here and tracked it pretty quickly. So I’m glad you enjoy it.

What was it like when you first got into recording?

That’s a difficult one. I don’t know if I remember specifically how it happened, because like, many of us that were over the age of 30 or 40, we started on 4-track cassettes, let’s be honest. We didn’t start from DAWs, I mean, DAWs started exploding in the mid to late-90’s. The Pro Tools in particular started taking off and then things like Cubase, and Nuendo, and all of that kind of stuff was ultimately originally a MIDI device that ended up integrating audio.

So for me, I was already recording, you know, on a 4-track cassette player before I even went into a studio. One of the first ever experiences that I remember was being super young, late 80’s, it may have been ’89 or ’90, and I was working part-time at a studio that my friends had. And it was two sets of brothers. I was working in a music store, and I got a phone call, like, they were going on the road, and they had just received a phone call from Guy Chambers, who’s a very famous song writer in England, and he had recommended Louise Goffin to come into the studio. This was a big deal.

Subsequently, as you know, Louise is a good friend of mine, but at the time, it was a little terrifying, they were like, “Well, Guy Chambers wants to come down, and he wants to bring Andy Jackson down with him.”

And I’m like, “Andy Jackson…” No Google in those days. Well, Andy Jackson for those of you that know, happens to be Pink Floyd’s engineer and producer. I go to this studio where we have a 1” 24-track, and a TASCAM MSR-24 with dbx on it, which was awful, you never used the dbx. It just didn’t work.

I’m sure you can debate me on that below, but anyway, it didn’t sound good, so we always used to turn it off, and I’d turn up, and not only does Louise turn up, she turns up with Gail Ann Dorsey. Let that sink in. Gail Ann Dorsey, David Bowie’s bass player who is insanely talented, an incredible singer, a shredding bass player, she turns up, this drummer that’s like, a jazz rock drummer, and I can’t remember their names, the drummer and the guitar player, but I don’t think it was the Stacy brothers. It may have been the Stacy brothers for those of you that know, because at that time, I hadn’t met them. I can’t remember.

Anyway, just the best musicians that money could buy with the best producer/engineer that I’d ever been within 1,000 miles of showed up, and I’m like the engineer, assistant engineer dude, so I’m like, frantically running around, plugging in things, this is a big lesson. When you’re working with professionals, when you’re working with people that have been in and out of studios their whole life, there is no drama. There’s no chaos. These guys had never been to our studio, we had a really super low ceiling, which was actually like three inches above my head, so there was not going to be a massive drum sound. I didn’t hear any complaints from Andy. The drummer didn’t say anything.

They just got in, they setup, we stuck up four mics on the kick. We had a D112. Not a hip D12, but a D112 on the kick, a 57 on the snare, and Andy bought a pair of 87s, and that was the overheads, and it was an amazing drum sound.

Then we had like, a 57 on guitar, I can’t remember what we used on the bass. I think it was just a bass amp, no DI, and the vocal mic was whatever we had spare, and it sounded fantastic, and there was no drama, there was nobody complaining about not having the right mic selection, it just was people that were professionals, and were coming into a different environment and a different room and making the most of it and having fun.

So I think that’s a key. I think when I hear a lot of the drama stories, and I’ve experienced it where things are a little chaotic in your first experience, it’s usually because you’ve got bands that have never been in the studio before, they’re inexperienced, and they are nervous, and they portray that, and they bring a little bit of chaos to it.

And us as producers, mixers, engineers, whatever, it’s up to us to deal with every eventuality, so I was blessed. My first studio experience with real players was actually quite calming. That doesn’t mean that inside I wasn’t absolutely, you know, I was. I was so unbelievably nervous, but it was a great experience, nonetheless, and subsequently, I became very good friends with Louise, and we are now close on 30 years of being friends.

Why do I see you using mostly Yamaha guitars for recording? I would assume you would have some nice vintage pieces that sound and play amazing.

Why do I use the guitars that I use? And yes, you’re right, I do have a lot of Yamaha guitars, but I also have a couple cheap Ibanez’, I have a Silvertone 50s or 60s, I have a beaten up old Vox, I have a Harmony 12-string. It cost 70 bucks from eBay.

Why do I have this kind of collection of utilitarian kind of Yamaha guitars and Yamaha — you know, electrics and acoustics? I have instruments and I have equipment that fulfills a purpose, and a lot of vintage equipment started life as being very inexpensive. You think about Jimmy Page playing that Dan Electro, that was a catalog guitar. You could buy that at Sears in a case that had an amplifier in it, and for instance, I was working with Ace Frehley last year, and online, I was looking at this really “cool” surf guitar.

My engineer who I was working with, I showed it to him, and he’s like, “Oh, that’s so cool,” so Ace naturally was like, “Show me what you’re looking like, show me the guitar.” And I show it to him, and he responds with, “That’s the ugliest looking thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” in typical Ace fashion

Why did he respond like that? Because when he was a kid, those were the guitars. Those cheap, inexpensive guitars were the guitars that you had to start on. And everybody wanted the Les Paul. Everybody wanted a Strat. Everybody wanted a Telecaster. And now of course, a Silvertone, a Harmony, a Dan Electro, some of them go for an absolute fortune. It’s because we found out that a lot of equipment, once you take away — once you strip away the fancy price tag and name, has very unique sounds.

We’re living in a world now where you can open up your DAW and get a Bosendorf, a Beckstein, a Steinway, all of these incredible piano sounds in one nanosecond, but the problem is all of us have the best recorded Vienna Symphony at our fingertips now for just a few dollars.

What we don’t have is that individual instrument.

So if you find a guitar, I don’t care if it’s 5 dollars or 5 million dollars. If you plug it in and it speaks to you, and it plays well, it doesn’t matter what it says on the label. That’s the reason why I use a random selection of guitars, because I choose guitars I like.

Also, I’m very — it’s very important to me to stand behind things that offer not just good playability and good sound, but also good value for money. So quite a lot of times, the reason I play those Yamaha acoustics is because they sound as good as some of my far more expensive guitars, but they’re like, a quarter of the price.

So if I’m going to be playing a guitar like that in every video, it’s going to help you. You’re going to know, “Hey, Warren used this guitar in an Aerosmith record,” because I did. I used a $200 acoustic guitar, and it beat out Martins and Gibsons vintage guitars. It sounded right for the song. It’s really important to me that we’re not always just trying to sell high dollar amount stuff and perpetuate a myth that spending millions of dollars always gets you the best thing, because that’s not true. So many things in life have taught us that.

So thank you ever so much for watching. Please as ever subscribe somewhere down there, hit the bell for notifications so you know when the new video is coming out, and of course, go to You can sign up for the email list and get a whole bunch of free goodies.


Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at

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