This is a little different. These are questions I shot at my friend Chris Webb, who is not only an amazing musician, who has (and is currently) playing in some amazing bands in London, Ont, but also runs Webber Studios. The stuff he produces is amazing sounding. Check him out. He’s a super dude, and great at what he does! Here are some questions he answered for me about recording, his studio, and how to make a good record. He also has really awesome cats.
1-First off, who are you and what do you do?
–My name is Chris Webb and I run Webber Studios where I record and produce local bands and musicians.
2-What does Webber Studios offer to bands?
–Webber Studios offers tracking, mixing, mastering and production to bands and musicians who want to get their songs recorded and produced without it costing them an arm and a leg.
3-What have you got in the works for the next few months?
-The next couple months, Webber Studios will be unveiling WSO (Webber Studios Original) tracks that will feature a couple of vocalists in local bands. I thought this would be a great way to promote local talent as well as Webber Studios. Also, Hello Amora is in the midst of recording so everyone should keep an eye and ear on them as they will be releasing their next track real soon!
4- It seems some one in every band knows how to ”record”. What do you think about bands that post unpolished work onto the internet?
-I think that bands should release polished material to make their first impression count. Professionalism is key if you ever want people to take you seriously.
5-This is a modern age where there is a lot of amp farming, triggered drums and post production. What is your take on the process?
–I think it’s all great depending on what genre you’re recording. That stuff certainly doesn’t apply if the artist wants a “White Stripes” type of sound. Those tools and techniques can add a lot more presence, attack and depth to mixes, which for some genres, is exactly what you want. The biggest part about it is having complete control and editing ease for the engineers and producers to create the most accurate mix possible.
6-What inspired you to begin recording?
–I was in a lot of bands before and I found that recording costs were/still are ridiculous. I wanted to change that and show bands that I had something to offer. I also decided that instead of showing up and jamming with 4 other dudes, I’d rather be in front of my computer screen writing and recording. It just came more natural to me.
7-When you record a band, do you let them do their thing, and you just press the buttons, or are you a little more hands on in the process, with input and feedback?
–I’m a lot more hands on in the process. Anyone who works with me knows that I’m a producer at heart and that I will dive in head first and do whatever I can to make their songs sound better. If something sounds bad, I will tell them. If a part needs to be cut down or extended in length, I will tell them. We kind of get into this thing of writing in the studio because things always change once you put a song under the microscope.
8-You also play in the band Dana Gray. I’ve recorded my own band, and it seems like a never ending process, you’re constantly changing things. Do you record your own band, and furthermore, how do you know when the song is done?
–I did record Dana Gray’s early demos just for ourselves to write lyrics to. All of us to just chilled in a living room drinking coffee and smoking sheesha listening and writing out the lyrics and how we wanted them sung. I guess we knew the songs were done when we finally had the lyrics to them haha.
9-What is one piece of gear you have in your studio, that you couldn’t function without?
-Probably my Focusrite interface. Without it there would be no recording at all.
10-I went to school for music production, and I found that when I got into real world scenarios most of what I learned flew out the window. Have you formally been schooled for production, or did you learn on the mean streets?
–I have attended zero school courses for recording or production. I started recording myself at around 14 or so and the producer thing kind of naturally came out of that. I’ve been in and out of professional studios since I was in highschool. I was lucky enough to attend a highschool back in Calgary that had a million dollar recording studio in the band room. I taught myself a lot and learned from others who are very experienced.
11-Sonically what is the coolest sounding record you have come across?
–Medulla by Bjork. A cappella, beatboxing, vocal, folk, avant-garde, throat singing, experimental. Never heard anything like it. I highly advise everyone to give it a listen. It will blow your mind!
12- Likewise, what is the worst sounding record you have heard?
-John Frusciante’s solo album entitled Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt. It’s bad dude…real bad.
13-You can record one band, any genre, together or broken up. Who would it be?
14- A lot of bands go into a studio unprepared. What are the biggest mistakes a band can make heading into a studio?
–If the members in the band aren’t on the same page in terms of what’s going on in the song and they track their parts thinking it’s right when it isn’t. Guitarpro is a great tool to make sure everyone is on the same page and playing the correct notes and rhythms. It makes the recording process that much smoother when things are tabbed out and concrete.
15- What piece of work that you’ve done are you most proud of?
-Currently, “I’d Tell You To Get Lost But You Already Are” by Hello Amora, but there is so much more in the works that I will be equally if not more proud of.
16- You played bass in Escapes (alongside Anu’s drummer, and your brother Aaron, Rob and Milo from Oceanborne and our good friend, and amazing photographer John Kerr). How was the transformation from on stage to manning the helms in a studio?
–As much as I loved being on stage with Escapes, I felt like the studio was my true calling. When you get to help bands record and produce great music, it feels like you’re apart of that band. Why be in just one when you can be apart of multiple bands in a different way. I started to see that although being in a band was incredibly fun, it was a very hard path and over time I just became tired.
17- You have a dream production team, who is it?
–I’d probably go with Machine and Joey Sturgis. Those two have made many of my favorite albums.
18- As a musician, I know a super band I would put together to see perform. Likewise, who would you put together as a superband to make a record with?
–This is a hard question for me just because of the number of awesome musicians flooding through my head. I’m thinking something very progressive, heavy and in your face. Danny Carey on drums, Claudio Sanchez on guitar/vox, Flea on bass guitar and Luke Hoskin on lead guitar.
19- What is one trend in modern music you wish would die a horrible, horrible death?
–It would have to be the blatant overuse of auto-tune.
20- Recording can often last into the early hours of the morning. How do you stay awake/ focused in an 8 hour session?
–I don’t. I usually call it and we tackle things the next day when everyone is fresh. It’s hard to get something great recorded or mixed when you have to combat fatigue, grumpiness, tired ears etc.
21(Clearly this is one to many questions!)- Final question. You’re stranded on a desert island (which I understand is highly unlikely), you have a laptop, and interface, 1 mic and 1 cable. You can bring one musician to make a record with. Who is it?
–My good buddy Nich Longe. Him and I bounce ideas off one another very quickly and are very like-minded when it comes to production and arrangement.
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