My goal is to share as much knowledge, with up and coming and established vocalists, what it takes to do what successful singers do… how they made it and how they stay on top of their game. A great Producer is key. Canada’s producing icon, Gavin Brown, shares his years of experience and insight on how to make that happen. A must see for any serious singer! The link to my website to get info on how to continue a conversation with Gavin is www.mitchseekinsvocalstudio.com
Hi! I’m Mitch Seekins – The Vocal Coach.
Welcome to the ‘Sing Like A Pro Interview Series” where you find out from people who are at the top of their game, what they did to get there and what they do to stay there!
This and the next upcoming Interview is especially important for you to have a listen to as it may be the difference between a highly successful music career….and one that’s… just ok.
One of the biggest lessons to learn as an artist/vocalist is….that you can’t do this alone. Behind the scenes of EVERY successful artist is…a team. People who help create and develop a career with you, are paramount to your success. A major player in that team is a Producer… who can help take your songs that might well be good …and make them great, tuning them into hits, which is the key to having and sustaining a thriving, prosperous career.
This episode features Gavin Brown, one of Canada’s most prolific and successful music producers who works at a global scale. To date he has produced over 40 #1 hits and countless top 10’s … His insights and advice are backed by many years of experience and I think you are going to want to hear them. Please listen to the end for important info if you’d like to learn more from Gavin! If you like this please share and hit that subscribe button…I have a lot more to come!
Mr. brown how are you doing?
I’m well, Mr. Seekins, how are you?
I’m doing good… just fine. It’s been a long time, it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen you face to face, anyway.
You know there’s reasons for that unfortunately….
Yeah I know I know,
But you know but you’re in my life regularly you uh, come up in my calendar “vocal lesson with Mitch” you know a bunch of different artists I work with!
You’ve worked with like some crazy, I mean crazy people: Bare Naked Ladies, Tragically Hip, uh Billy Talent, Metric, New Kids On The Block… I didn’t know you did some stuff with New Kids On The Block! Yep!
That’s cool and even you did something with Lady Gaga… a long time ago I know! All this stuff I found on the internet.
you know oh the internet yeah!
And i mean of course Three Days Grace which is you know, how i was introduced to them…
I think that was like as of 2015, so there’s even more stuff since then.
Yeah i think there’s a number of your clients, even like Ian Thornley, I worked with him
uh i know that you work regularly with Matt
you know and uh I’ve made two records with matt as the singer um or three, two and a half or something an amount of, an amount of recording yeah and uh um yeah we did a cover song in there “Three Days Grace Version of “Somebody That I Used To Know” that’s what we did. so we uh you know you know I’ve known Matt a long time and yeah I worked with him in My Darkest Days era even before then… you know he has a couple co-writes on the very first Three Days Grace record
yeah i know he was telling me!
Yeah so we’ve we’ve known each other a long time and I you know I really respect his work ethic and his talents and you know, his drive to you know to , to be amazing. you know i think when Adam left and and Matt had the interim uh position on that tour for Three Days Grace, uh you know he took it very, very seriously and wanted you know wanted to make sure he could keep the job
and you know not only did he keep the job he’s excelled!
hey it’s fantastic you know we went and had a few number one songs um you know with him singing um and uh you know and it’s not easy to replace a singer especially one as identifiable as Adam you know and when you look at history you have ACDC, you have Van Halen uh and you have uh Three Days Grace you know those are the bands that have had you know, i guess Journey but that’s you know that’s a different kind of story
that’s a different yeah that’s a different thing they’re not continuing up to continuing to put out new music as far as i know
yeah, no and they’ve also had like 700 members that’s a different kind of dance yeah like where you know all we did was replace one person and uh you know and maintained the fan base and maybe grew it as well so…
absolutely grew it! um the last number one that that they did that was Matt’s seventh with the band you know and i think they’ve got a few more coming up on this new record i think fabulous fabulous record
Well I think a lot of that’s, you know, attributable to you um Mitch to tell you the truth… you know they have you know other than that pandemic layoff they toured extensively across the globe and you know uh you know those are long concerts filled with you know acrobatics and higher high energy performance and you know loud you know uh you know loud music with a large range of you know large range and um you know matt’s ability to you know uh you know i remember touring with them a bunch uh off and on and him like you know i thought you know i’d come backstage after the struggle matt matt you nailed it he goes well yeah but in the third song i missed this note and then the fifth song that you know you know the attention to detail was just fantastic yeah yeah and his ability to like i said earlier you know to have um you know this is a marathon the music business it’s not a sprint and so like you said it’s seven number ones you know and it feels like yesterday he just joined i know i know i was i was looking at my books and i think we started you introduced me to him in 2014 and we’ve never stopped working we keep it in between tours yeah you know we continue yeah and good for him to do that you know there’s a music the music business is you know i try to draw a parallel to professional sports because you know there’s nothing else where that requires um the amount of uh skill talent luck um and you know in a small pool of folks who actually survive yeah and then you look at the folks who are at the top you know michael jordan always had a coach tiger woods always goes back to the range after every you know they the you know the folks at the top work hard to stay there and and you know matt’s a great example of someone who you know not didn’t just like oh i’m gonna learn some stuff from mitch and then go on to you know seven number ones you know you’re you’ve been integral in in creating that you know long-term long-term career yeah yeah yeah maintaining it you know they’re on tour right now they are they are and uh i haven’t heard i always like it when i don’t hear from my my guy i only hear from when they have problems that we work through that’s stressful well it’s not as quite as stressful for me it is as it is for them but i i still feel that oh my god okay what can i do to get him through you know this particular set of shows or show and all that kind of thing you’ve been doing this for a long time um but i actually i don’t really know much about you in terms of like how you started and that kind of thing so i’m presuming that you started as as a musician yeah so i started um piano lessons on mondays and drum lessons on wednesdays when i was five years old and so by the time i was in my mid-teens i was touring in a band as a drummer and then in my early 20s and that was kind of like a post-punk hardcore band in the late 80s early 90s and then you know we made a record with steve albini and and uh toured all over the states and you know i was still in high school uh and then after that i uh i actually sang in a band for a year which was probably um one of the most valuable learning experiences because a uh i realized i’m a terrible singer and b which was what people were telling me don’t give up okay yeah yeah yeah um you know but i also realized how much uh how difficult it is to stand up on stage and only have you know you only can open your mouth and you’re so vulnerable and you’re you know so i have a deep amount of respect for people who get up on the front of the stage and sing you know i was best suited hiding behind the drums you know acting like a sport you know like like uh you know enjoying that ability back there but singing you know was was emotionally destruct destructive for me and you know and really really uh you know it’s such a vulnerable place so i you know i i took that into producing later you know after i was a drummer for another bunch of years i played in a bunch of bands and toured around anybody that of note that uh i played drums in uh crash vegas the sky diggers i played in jim cuddy’s solo band i played in big sugar for a year and a half i played toured with sarah harmer um and then i joined a band called danko jones which was they had been opening up for big sugar on the last tour that i was on um and then after i left them uh big sugar i joined django jones for eight months and then that was when the my producing thing started because we went into the studio pretty much right away and i was the only guy in the room who had any studio experience i’d played drums on a ton of records between the age of 15 and 25 so right i think i was 26 at the time and uh you know so i produced uh this song called bounce which is still there you know a big radio song we had a number one song in canada yeah and in doing that uh i realized how much i you know how much i loved being in the studio and not just getting in a van or a bus and traveling for eight hours eight hours to to unload and set up and play to tear down yeah oh my god yeah so i you know the the multifaceted nature of of producing where you know it was song writing it was arrangement it was uh engineering it was yeah you know equipment and yeah and there’s the political stuff like the budgets and the managers and the labels and then there’s the psychological stuff we’re dealing with crazy people um on all and all fronts um you know and and you know i really enjoyed digging into that i i didn’t know that you did this guy diggers gig yeah i played on one of the records and toured them for a year and played with a bunch of guys i played with hayden i played uh with chris brown and kate fenner the bourbon tabernacles i uh i you know did a like but big sugar we did a lot of touring with government mule and we did a lot of jamming with those guys and they were in the almond brothers the two of them yeah you know uh you know i was a drummer i did a lot of drummy stuff and uh um you know i played on jim cuddy’s solo record i think i was 22 at the time you know i was yeah lucky to be um a professional at a young age uh as a drummer and i was lucky to realize that uh after 10 or more years of touring that that wasn’t for me yeah yeah you know no i mean and like you said it just seemed to be a natural progression to move into the producing side of things because you have the studio experience and yeah and you enjoyed it i mean that’s the i loved it yeah and i still i still do um and you know the main the main way i describe what i do is is i work with songs yeah and so so songs are the most important thing when i differentiate that from music music is one thing and songs are a different thing altogether yeah and songs have a distinct form and a distinct shape and are supported by music yeah so uh a lot of my work is done before we even go into the studio a lot of my work is done you know um i wouldn’t even call it pre-production it’s just working on the songs and then also you know getting uh you know uh an idea together as to what we’re trying to achieve you know really making an agreement amongst all the participants as to you know because not everybody wants to play at their canada center you know i like i like people who do yeah you know of course yeah you know but not everybody’s willing to do you know the amount of personal work and the amount of uh effort and the amount of you know uh psychological work that it takes to do that in it because it’s really really hard to to to be up there yeah i know that and that’s a major point that i’m trying to because i’ve done a whole series of of these so far and i’ve got a lot more to do and it’s trying to educate young singers coming up that the psychological end of things particularly is that that requires a lot of work and it’s not just something that just kind of happened yeah and it has you know there’s i find that there’s a uh you know it happened to me it seems to happen everybody where there’s like kind of a bursting of the adolescent bubble where you think you’re the center of the universe and you think that you know you’re it’s my music and it’s like well no it’s not it’s uh the audience’s music yeah you know i did i didn’t invent a minor did you you know like yeah yeah we’re we’re part of an arc of hundreds of or of years of of modern western music and you know we’re just little little blips in the sand here yeah and so so trying to you know get your you know get this fragile insecure ego which you know all artists have which is part of the beauty of it all yeah and focus that that energy towards you know the audience and remember what it was like when you first heard music that made you understand yourself and may you know drew you into the into wanting to be that a professional communicator you know that so what that requires is a different relationship with music than you think yeah than people think and so being a professional communicator requires professionalizing which is where you come in because talent is one thing but skill is learned is learned i know so you know i you know i had a lot of talent luckily my family’s musical but i also worked you know i would when i was really trying to be a drummer i would practice 10 hours a day and then go do a gig you know i had you know i had my ass kicked by by a number of factors in my life and and another a number of musicians you know who were like hey kid you’re pretty good but you’re not good enough yeah and so so i you know when i was a drummer i took you know i worked my ass off and i studied and i really really worked hard um to be able to to be great at my craft and then when i turned into a more in the songwriting and the in the uh recording side i learned how to do every bit of pro tools i learned all of the gear i learned how to engineer i learned all the all the things that were needed to be a producer you know even though i never really engineered a record i needed you know like i would always have an engineer um you know so so i i take you know i take it the professional side of things very very seriously and and i don’t believe that you know music i think everyone should have a relationship with music i think most people shouldn’t have a professional relationship with music yeah you know and it’s like i said you know and it’s okay and it’s okay absolutely you know weekend jam bands are fun as hell like absolutely um but i think you know it’s like me playing golf on the weekend i am so far from the pga tour it’s not even funny my best round you know is you know is is the not even close yeah so you know and that for some reason people buy a guitar and ten minutes later they think they should be neil young and it’s like ah you know you know but it really worked that way yeah you know so so you know it’s a lifelong pursuit and i you know i really appreciate uh folks like you who can uh you know really bring uh a really strong professional skill set to people and offer them the opportunity to maximize their talent yeah then you know and and that’s invaluable for me because you know i did that with a bunch of singers early on my career as much as i could in the studio until i knew about you and then you know um you know and then it’s uh then it’s like oh you know why don’t you go see mitch and then we’ll record in a few months you know yeah yeah so yeah um you know and then hey bass player won’t you go see the bass playing equivalent of mitch and you know like you know there’s there’s professionalization that has to happen yeah you know or it’s a choice not to and that’s you know that’s uh and then you’re gonna get the results that you that that the the you know the effort does equal the results for the most part yeah absolutely with all the singers that you’ve worked with there there is there is a difference between those who have studied and those who have not so yeah was was there a noticeable difference be before you you found out about what it is i do that you you could see you know this singer studied and and we’re able to do this and this singer hasn’t it’s still good but there’s limitations as to it’s mostly it’s mostly stamina and and yeah folks at least in the studio you know uh people come in you know with an identity or we focus their identity as much as we can so it’s not like it’s not like i need a singer who has you know unbelievable chops in seven different styles like you know like i don’t need someone to sing you know but but what they need to be able to do is is you know uh a you know last more than 20 minutes and b uh you know take direction um as much as possible and then c mostly have studied enough to get over the technique and be able to perform in an emotional capacity and that’s you know that’s the part you know uh where you know to relate it again to sports like you know i play golf all the time because and i love it and i’m terrible but i’m getting better yeah yeah yeah i work at it but i’m still thinking about my swing on the course whereas the guys i play with who are really good they’re just playing golf they’re just playing golf so you know so i’m still thinking about the the minutia of the technique and what you know and when i do it right it’s it turns out okay but then i don’t have the facility to do it right over and over again and that’s where someone who studied has a the stamina b the ability to to parse out what they’re doing right and wrong fix it and then repeat it and so you know that that’s that’s the you know and and those are professional qualities you know like you know i uh you know the the repeatability factor is huge you know when we do vocals we do multiple takes and we comp the vocals together right i don’t want you know seven or eight different takes i want seven or eight takes that are almost identical so i can then find that one that just has that emotional context yeah and that tone and that communication that’s better i don’t need seven wildly different takes i need seven exactly the same exactly yeah and that that requires you know uh uh the skill levels and the time that the commitment to get those skills um and that’s you know and that’s a big difference you know that’s a huge difference you’re working with a kid that we work with now a guy named nick you know who’s got a weird cool voice it’s very it’s very it’s it’s it’s so interesting it’s a very unique sound like it is i i’m i’m uh thrilled to be working with him because i don’t know if i’ve really worked with somebody with such like he opens his mouth you know it’s him yeah and then so for us you know yeah and so you know i’ve known him for a couple years now and we just went in the studio last week and i think we’re in tomorrow um yeah i think you’re working with him today or tomorrow um i didn’t even have to check my schedule i know he’s both but he’s he’s developed a number of these things a stamina b repeatability and and repeatability for him is tough because you know he’s kind of riffing on these melodies ideas you know they’re not he’s not you know when we first met he was he would just open his mouth and sing his thing and it was awesome and cool um and you know so and now we’re getting pronunciation better we’re getting toned that’s more easier home better yeah i’m working with him on top you know um we’re getting repeatability and we’re getting stamina and um you know and there’s a there’s a harshness that’s kind of been rounded off of his voice thankfully you know and you know we got we got to get the right mic and we got to get the right compressor and you know and the producer i’m not producing this stuff but i’m helping him you know with the songwriting so we’re making good song demos yeah and uh you know so whoever produces it is going to have a a fun time putting a tone around that voice like what’s the right and you said it earlier right you know what is it the sonic landscape or whatever that goes around the voice you know when we did billy talent’s first couple records ben has a really unique voice and you know i think we we got it on the radio yeah yeah yeah the number one songs um you know the music was so much more aggressive and the guitar tones would would offset some of the great the the grading quality of his voice but he also then did the work you know and they’re they’re they just sold out air canada center a couple weeks ago again you know so 20 years later i know they’re touring the world you know and and when he and i met he hadn’t taken any singing lessons and you know he had he just he did a lot of work and um you know again repeatability and you know all the things we’ve spoken about yeah so it’s it’s uh it’s it’s no secret i know it really is like i mean i i you know it’s it’s my job is interesting because i show people how to do it but it’s really up to them to actually get it done you know and it’s it’s it’s it’s nice to be at the level where you know i’m getting referrals from you know from you and from from people who are at that professional level who are committed to doing the work because it does it does it takes work and it takes time and it takes time you got to be patient with me yeah i had a drum teacher in my early twenties a guy named jim blackley who’s a legendary drum teacher in toronto and you know he’d say in his scottish accent i won’t be on the band stand with you tonight son yeah you know like uh you know oh you know you got to do the work you know and he’s got to do the work you know when i see him once a month and you know the minute i sat down he would know by my body posture if i’d if i’d been practicing he’d know whether you know like you know there’s no fooling anybody yeah yeah i know i know i know you know yeah you just you just end up shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t yeah i also find it’s important to put a perspective for folks that you know whatever you’re doing uh you know someone else is doing more and you know and uh you know and each of the when the spotify releases come out every friday there’s no sticker that says oh sorry i didn’t try hard you know there’s nothing there like you know it’s it’s it’s as much as you can possibly do to better yourself is is you know and that again is a psychological thing it really is yeah yeah is there is there any vocals that you’ve worked with you know over the years that that kind of stands out in your in your mind as as as being exceptional and and why like what so yeah so when i first started working with ian thornley um it was his first solo record after big wreck yeah we’ll come again and we wrote a bunch of songs and did a bunch of demos and you know he he has that extraordinary ability of being able to do a lot of things and so we narrowed it down to like we’re going to do a you know like a active rock you know the edge 102 kind of record and that was the kind of stuff that i was doing and he was signed to chad from nickelback and you know and he was an unbelievable guitar player but then we started doing you know when we were saying writing and he was singing he was like wow this is great but then for me i know what it’s like in front of a microphone yeah through the other side of the glass that’s really what i know when things are great and when he started singing it was just mind mind-blowing how great his tone his control his emotion you know his emotion his ability to communicate was just you know uh unbelievable you know not necessarily better than get his guitar but on par with his guitar playing you know which is world class as well yeah you know so so he you know he was absolutely spectacular uh the time i spent with lady gaga was just you know she’s unbelievable singer it was very little time but we did one song yeah so you did you did do vocals with her uh no i did uh like a pre-production session okay right my manager martin kirstenbaum who signed her originally to interscope um and produced and co-wrote a bunch of her first record um he did the vocals but her and i did a session here in toronto when she was here yeah you know her vocals you know it’s just her whole being her whole thing is just spectacular yeah yeah um you know uh you know there’s been a number of standouts um uh and i’m trying to i mean for me and that what you know what matt walsh does as well with three days grace is like oh yeah extraordinary geez you know it’s so funny i remember talking to barry the guitar player and he was going you know thank you so much for for taking care of matt and i’m going man you’re so lucky that this guy has like vocal cords of steel and you know barry’s kind of looking at me but it’s true you know matt has a genetic thing that allows him to sing in that intensity without ripping himself apart and this was this was 45 years ago when when barry said you know that to me and we’ve worked since and you know his ability has even you know gotten better and better he’s no longer killing himself for shows or anything like that it’s great you know i would agree yeah and that’s you know that’s unbelievable and a great guy yeah yeah yeah you know that band where you know it’s coming up 20 years now i know but i don’t know yeah ian studied with me for almost two years and and got what he needed and it’s just so funny you know in my mind he’s got one of the best rock voices in the world and you know for a guy who’s so kind of insecure about his voice he’s like man you got nothing to worry about my god you know it’s amazing if you haven’t seen it watch the uh ian thornley interview that i did you know the other guy i would be uh jeff martin from the tea party who was an underrated underrated everything you know he i made a record with them it was their seventh record it was called seven circles yeah i did most of it bob rock did a couple songs um and i was uh you know he was like one take wonder like he’d go in nail it you know pour a drink and say let’s you know next song next time you know and uh same with this guitar playing you know like i think i did tea party and ian thornley around the same time 2000 yeah or 2005 somewhere in there and yeah yeah yeah yeah unbelievable yeah i know i’ve never met jeff but what what a tone oh yeah like you know his voices and the ability to know who he is you know and what you know he he’s got a whole thing that he does and like it or not it’s what he does and he does it very very well yeah uh sarah harmer i did a bunch of work with her over the years her voice um you know put i think not very studied but you know natural talent and unique melodic sense um you know we did i played drums in our first solo single called basin apartment i put uh some singles on one of her records i produced a whole record i toured with her off and on all through the states and you know she was great um dude there’s a whole there’s a whole bunch of people i worked with you know oh i know and and they all have their you know strong points and and weak points and uh different levels of natural ability you know mixed with training or no training but they’re just you know just great singers i mean god i mean look at look at adele for example like yeah i don’t know if there’s any training there at all she may have gotten training now but oh my god what a singer holy cow you know amazing voice so everybody you know everybody’s different and it’s it’s it’s so cool you know when i hear you know guys like you actually bring out the best in a singer it’s it’s it’s always been so fascinating for me you know you must be listening to the the right songs then cause we don’t look do you have any advice i mean all this is advice for singers but do you have anything specific for vocalists heading into the studio like yeah there’s a bunch of things that are that are key on a the key yeah make sure you know what your range is uh tempo is huge for me i uh i find you know when people are writing 99 of the time you’re right too slow yeah and uh a lot of times i spend a lot of time getting the lyrical flow to be as if talking was happening but then add tone yeah and itch so you know like not unlike this this should be the cadence of of how the this verse should go but you know but when people write songs they want you know they write them too slow you know and then all this other stuff starts to happen uh where you know you then you have all this room to swoop into the note you have all this room to swoop out and create some sort of uh an articulation or you know and and uh that’s not for me the records i want to make are not really that you know i’m really into communicating you know i made four barenaked ladies records and and ed is talking about a guy who doesn’t you know he’s not he’s very economical like he doesn’t have huge power in terms of long big notes he’s a great singer in the terms of communicating and and you know and not wasting you know so that it would you know to get him to sing stuff in time you know in a tempo that moves is you know really easy because you know but then you know that’s that’s huge getting getting the tempo and the key right um you know also trying not to do too much in one day in the studio is you know uh there’s uh i have like a two hour limit a rule it’s like we’re not going to sing for more than two hours you know do your warm-up do your mitch she can warm up yeah and then then we’re gonna sing not more than two hours and uh you know hopefully there’s enough studio time booked over the course of several sessions in order to cut you know you can get a whole pile of stuff done in two hours you can get a song you can only get verses you you know like whatever yeah it feels like in the day make sure that you you know you know singing for six hours like just don’t nobody nobody nobody you know unless you’re a trained opera star you know doing a live performance like nobody i know can sing for six hours and deliver number one songs yeah yeah you know and also um you know a lot of that has to do with mental focus as well i don’t think people are able to sustain uh any sort of mental focus for more than that um you know even when you’re in it you’re in the zone you know uh i also like uh to not comp the vocals and and not evaluate the vocals until a later date because a lot of the emotional uh relationship to delivering it um when you’re doing it or if i’m in you know the people in the room and the control room are you know feeling it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always the best yeah yeah you know and it has to those that has to do with a different set of molecules in the room as opposed to what’s actually captured on tape yeah you know so and then another thing i try to do is make sure that uh you know the pressure’s off you know allow if you’re going into the studio allow yourself the ability to not get it that day yeah i talk to people all that all the time with that try not to feel the pressure think of it as there is no pressure if you do it wrong yeah do it again yeah yeah you know you have the opportunity you know you make sure you have the opportunity to especially when you’re young and new and you know and that and that’s the first five years like yeah new doesn’t mean for five months it’s like no i know you know the first 10 years of your career make sure you know that you have extra time because you know it it’s it’s you know it’s hard to it’s hard to verbalize and have someone totally understand what you’re saying yeah take it from a bunch of dudes who’ve done it for a long time yeah like you know just sing just whatever you’re gonna get that day what you’re gonna get and it might take 10 more times to get it but and that’s okay you’re not a lesser human being you know there’s a lot of singers who come and they belittle themselves and they’d be oh i could i can’t believe i couldn’t get it today it’s like so the [ __ ] what excuse my language so what it’s it’s a human it’s a human instrument yeah you know like we were saying it’s an it’s an athletic thing no athlete is ever at their peak every single day yeah you know and and so you know you look at you know even the nfl they have to deliver once a week yeah they have to train you know four or five days a week they have to rest they have to eat right you know and then they have to deliver they have a window to deliver and so you know uh you know and this is something that nick no good and i are doing we’re in the in the studio tomorrow doing some vocals you know we’re gonna do he’s saying uh we were in the cup like four or five days two weeks ago and i said just sing today he’s like but i gotta get it right it’s like no you know you know whatever we wind up tomorrow might not be on the record either so let’s just you know bring it down a notch yeah you know and and there’s a number of factors why you know uh diet sleep season change yeah humidity levels yeah absolutely yeah yeah and and being on tour i remember being in vance you know touring uh you know across saskatchewan in february and the sick every single singer lost their voice yeah you know because they didn’t prepare properly in this like you know on a tuesday night in regina well it’s going to be a lot of guitar solos tonight folks i know i don’t i have i have everybody out with you know zinc and vitamin c for immune boosting when they start to feel something and humidifiers i’m always harping on humidifiers humidifiers get humidifiers going like you’ve got to keep that moisture going you know yeah it’s it’s a it’s the real deal so it is yeah so that would that would be my main thing the keeping the key right getting the right tempo you know taking the pressure off giving yourself a bandwidth of time and opportunity to to uh be able to deliver and you know um and and have prepared yeah you know it’s it’s really expensive to go in the studio uh you know so why don’t you wait a month or two uh and do more work with mitch seekins because then it’ll be cheaper when you go in the studio and nail it yeah yeah exactly you know and nobody’s really waiting for your records you know like you know i know i know we’re all excited about our our own music but you know again why be in a hurry to fail you know correct yeah why not take the time and get it right you know so yeah like like this kid no good just saying we’ve been working with them for two years now you know two years which one nick nick yeah yeah yeah i’m seeing him tomorrow morning yeah i think i think we started working with him two years ago i know like two summers ago we were in my backyard with one another co-writer guy named mike bolenki who you might know um he’s a great great singer mike blankie oh my god so mike mike does a bunch of work with me on a bunch of stuff and him and nick did a bunch of writing and you know that and it you know it’s taken it takes some time so you know yeah i think stuff that i’ve heard so far is sounding fantastic yeah and we did stuff in the studio we went in the studio with a couple of those songs early on and you know the rest retool the recipe keep working on the recipe go back to the beginning again yeah and again i think you know i think the kids 20 like we’re in no hurry um you know and you know we have some some momentum and you know the time is now but he is so much better now working with you than he was it was like on he had all that raw uh you know oyster ability but now he’s turning into the pearl so yeah yeah and he’s not losing uh let’s look there’s one other thing working on your craft doesn’t mean you’ll lose your identity that’s a huge element of music yeah like i you know i spent i’ve hundreds of drum lessons and piano lessons and all it did was allow me the ability to communicate who i am yeah there was a time when i was stuck in the middle of it all where all i could think about was technique and we talked about this earlier in a question you have to be able to surpass your technique but you know without technique you’ll never get there no skills yeah yeah it just it opens up an entire palette it’s still you you know and and you know people not so much anymore but you know a long time ago am i am i just going to sound like an opera singer because all vocal technique is based in the operatic world no if you look at my website on that video he and darren they got i got punk bands i got all kinds of and they all sound like them but just more consistent and better and easier and it’s just it’s just better you know nick egan is like the most unique voice i’ve heard in like 20 years and he is he’s not the lessons with you are making him more like himself because he no longer is limited by his inabilities he’s now being able to use his abilities yeah to match his imagination yeah there’s a beautiful thing about art and you know limitations of things create you know the opportunity for art but i also you know it’s also um you know that happens you know a few times what do you want to do yeah the rest of your career i know i know uh so this is this is a question for the tech guys that might be watching this sure is there um like a a favorite microphone that you found that you can use with a multitude of different voices and styles because i mean every voice is different every microphone is different but is there kind of a generic one that there’s probably three or four that would all would work um you know if you’re going to do a rock band you’re probably going to want to do like an sm7 or you’re going to want to do a u47 yeah those are the you know those are the two kind of very different style of microphone but um those you’re going to be able to put your vocal in and around uh in the middle of the mix and have guitars and drums and cymbals and keys or whatever it is raging and that vocal will still hold uh yeah in the center yeah uh you know uh this the sony’s uh c800 is an unbelievable microphone if you have fifteen thousand dollars to blow you know uh and that’s probably you know most of the pop records you hear are that um and it’s unbelievable um and for example nick we’ve been using it uh with nick and it’s been softening some of his roughness you know um but not uh you know covering up any of the anything um i used an elam 251 for a long time um which is another you know i think they’re ten to forty thousand dollars depending on what vintage you get yeah and uh unbelievable microphone like if you want all the detail um it’s a it’s a it’s kind of like a ferrari you know like if you really want that you know that detail and that cr clarity um you know not like a c12 which will have too much top end in my opinion it’s more like it’s just so clear um it’s probably my favorite microphone the elem 251 uh you know those would be you know those would be the mics i would choose that i’ve probably spent the most time recording you know there’s always something fun with an uh like a 57 handheld you know for a vibe but yeah we’ve you know i’ve also used c37 i’ve used on emily from metric a little bit uh like which is the precursor to the c800 the sony c800 yeah and then um that’s probably it yeah like yeah yeah and they’re all unfortunately really expensive except for the sm7 and you know and you know i’ve used some of the knockoffs and the you know the uh you know the of those um but i’ve only rarely ever used them because i thankfully you know go to studios or or have owned the real thing and there’s really no replacement and of course a great preamp is important i have a pair of gml trees that i use uh i love the neve portico pries you know a 1073 neve uh can’t go wrong you know any of those things um uh you know the knee the rupert neve stuff is great the air neve stuff too um you know i’ve very rarely used an ssl preamp on a vocal right or very rarely used an api um by gml or nev um or rupert neve uh and then a compressor you know uh i owned blue 1176 blue stripes for a long long time i would track with them and mix with them um but those are really aggressive and i don’t really make too many aggressive records anymore um so i have a newer version i have what i call the new stripe which is the uua it’s a black face with a blue stripe and it kind of combines the best stuff of the black face 1176 with the blue stripe um it’s a little cleaner uh and hell of a lot less expensive um but i also you know to stressors we’ve used a lot of distressors to tape um you know like you 47 through a neve with a distressor and you’re going to have you know if it’s not you know you you it’s it’s not if it sounds bad it’s you did something wrong yes yeah something something’s bad with the stinger yeah yeah you know so you know there’s other ways to to swing the cat you know i know budgets are very you know very conscious these days especially you know the laptop generation people want their portable uh you know and a lot of times they’re not using any like you know they’re using digital breeze or they’re you know they’re using pretty cheap microphones and unfortunately it sounds cheap in my opinion yeah yeah uh you know uh it can’t you know but also sometimes it’s funny because it might sound cheap but it also might sound like what’s happening in the world you know and that’s that’s an important thing too because culture has a lot to do with technology and culture are very interlinked in music you know as drum machines came up the sound of the music would change as you know different synthesizers and midi and you know different you know even the distortion the guitar amp like the story of the guy breaking the cone of his of his speaker and his amp and creating distortion you know once that started you know anyway these technologies have a day a sound in a time frame yeah so kind of shitty vocals with a lot of post-production a lot of reverb and you know a lot of [ __ ] with little altar boy informant and a bunch of plug-ins that’s a that’s uh a sonic you know now that’s that’s how yeah yeah yeah yeah you know like auto-tune was a was you know we auto-tune everything we you know we melodyne everything you have to because that’s otherwise it sounds like old people’s music because it’s out of tune yeah i know i know it’s it’s uh i just watched coachella i had two students playing coachella uh this year who played uh ali gotti great that was great yeah ali is fantastic yeah it was his tenth the first show was his tenth performance
he ever a couple a couple years ago he did a couple nights at the danforth music hall yeah like eight years yeah but that was i know but that was his like third and fourth performance ever you know i know and uh pot uh yeah right yeah talk about pros like oh my god oh yeah fun fun guys you have a great roster mitch you should be very yeah i’ve been very lucky i i really enjoy working working with all the people that i do so um thank you so much for doing this man i really appreciate it really i appreciate it and and i think there’s tons of information in there for you know people to to dig in that actually want to know this stuff because it is important if you if you really want to develop a career this this stuff’s important you know well the other thing is this stuff you know is a culmination of decades of other people’s knowledge that i’ve assimilated you know i i got really lucky to be in the room with some heavy heavy folks at a young age and yeah sucked it all up and sponged it all in and and you know made it made it make sense for what i was doing yeah you know and you know there’s a whole pile of online tutorials and there’s a whole pile of schools you can go to but at the same time it’s you know it’s an oral tradition it’s you know p you know it’s how how do you learn how to make a number one song you try to hang out with people who have number one songs that’s right you know that’s right you know and i got to do that you know so and by doing that and being lucky enough to be in the room and having some great of course um you know uh allowed me to accumulate this knowledge one of the other things is if you want mitch um and if you have anyone approach you who wants further information please you know contact me yeah and i’m more than happy to spend time you know that’s awesome yeah it’s awesome a five minute phone call you know is no problem you know i love talking about this stuff and yeah you know you know people are you know people who are thirsty for this information i’m interested in talking to them about it yeah exactly exactly thank you so much thanks mitch all right
There you go! If you’d like to chat further with Gavin, email me through the contact page on my website as I don’t want to publicly publish his email…. There’s a link in description and I’ll send you his address so you can arrange a convenient time….and I promise I wont save your email or contact you for anything else…I don’t work that way
So if you enjoyed the interview….why not subscribe or have a look at my website to see what I do…again the link is in the description. Thanks….Im Mitch Seekins the Vocal Coach