Do you find yourself being a perfectionist in the studio?

Do you make a move, then proceed to question that move?

Do you do this over and over again?

I’ve been there.

Sometimes I’m so scared of making a mistake or messing up a song, that it paralyzes me.

Remember that songwriting goal I set for myself earlier this year? (If you’re new, I wrote 50 songs in 12 weeks.)

One of the reasons I set such an ridiculous goal was to force me to stop filtering my ideas.  Since I had to write 50 songs, any idea was worth pursuing.

There was one song that started off talking about a turtle.

A turtle.

Normally, I would’ve never pursued an idea like that, because it was too stupid. But since I had to crank out tons of songs, I ran with it.

The result? That turtle song made it onto my album. Read more »

Owen and I came up with a new game the other day. (Owen is 3, by the way.)

We got out a bunch of his wooden trains, and we set up a game on our coffee table with some artist tape (the tape I use as a scribble strip on my mixer). I marked out two rectangles on the table, one on each end.

The point of the game was to roll the trains from one end of the table to the other, trying to make them stop inside the “end zone.”

If you roll too hard, they fall off the table.

If you don’t roll hard enough, you could still knock knock ‘em into the end zone with one of your other trains.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think you would enjoy the game, of course. :)

But more than that, I think it’s a good reminder of how fun it can be to mix things up in the studio. Read more »

I got in a debate with somebody over on my website recently.

I posted my opinion on pirating or stealing plugins. I made the argument that doing so will actually make your mixes worse instead of better.

I say that because so many people will see a tutorial video by a big-name mixing engineer, and they will notice that this mixing engineer is using a specific plugin bundle. They then jump to assuming that the reason that this person makes fantastic sounding mixes is BECAUSE he uses this specific plugin bundle.

It’s an understandable assumption, but it is a very wrong assumption. (And it can be a very expensive assumption)

Even if you aren’t pirating plugins, and you are spending your hard-earned money on them, you may still be spinning your wheels.

Do people like Dave Pensado and Chris Lord Alge use stock plugins? Probably not.

Does that mean you can’t learn how to get fantastic mixes with stock plugins? Absolutely not.

Professional mixers are professional mixers because of their mixing skills. Read more »


Today I smack down a big ol’ myth that you absolutely need Pro Tools to collaborate with other musicians or (gasp!) make money from your home studio. Plus, I answer some great questions about stuff like:

  • Using a side-chained compressor on your mix bus
  • Mixing with the band members present
  • The difference between threshold and ratio on a compressor
  • The weird vertical lines on an EQ plugin
  • What make-up gain on a compressor is really for


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A friend of mine left me a voicemail the other day.

He was talking about making progress on his new album, and he said:

“Instead of being excited by the adventure, I’m overwhelmed.”

Man, I get that.

I’ve been in that spot where I like the idea of a project more than I like actually doing the creative work.

Because it absolutely is W-O-R-K.

That’s not to say it’s miserable work. If we didn’t enjoy it, we wouldn’t do it. Read more »

Started up a new daily workout routine last week.

I noticed something interesting on Day 2.

Although I was sore from starting up working out again, I found myself being more active throughout the day.

I was more inclined to chase my 3-year-old around the house, for example.

When I wasn’t working out, it was almost like I knew that if I ran a little bit, I’d remember that I need to do more of that. So I stayed as still as humanly possible most of the time.

But now that I have a workout to do every night, I find myself much more open to random opportunities to “pick up the pace.”

Working out made me more likely to work out.

Being fat made me more likely to be fat.

Aaaaannnnd…working on music makes you more likely to work on music.

(Or to put it in a negative light, avoiding working on music makes you more likely to avoid it in the future.) Read more »


Lots of fun stuff for you in today’s episode. First, I share an audio clip from last week’s tracking session, and during the Q&A portion of the podcast, my 3-year-old son Owen joins me to offer his insights. Brilliant stuff. Plus, we answer questions about stuff like:

  • recording a garageband
  • the “right” ratio for compressing vocals
  • songwriting resources
  • recording acoustic guitar – stereo vs double-tracking
  • placing acoustic panels horizontally vs vertically
  • using multiple computer monitors


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