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Interview with davidagriffiths 

Freelance Music Producers Share Insights into Their Production Process

I'm an award-winning, classically-trained music producer and arranger from Wales, UK, with 25+ years of experience creating world-class song arrangements and productions.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
I started out as a classical composer, then trained in string arrangements as part of of my Music MA from Oxford University. I subsquently spent 10 years writing, performing and producing songs on the legendary Oxford music scene (home of Radiohead, Supergrass, Foals), signing three record deals and getting daytime national radio play.

In 2009 I shifted into production, with an emphasis on string and orchestral / piano arrangements. As my client base grew, and boosted by acclaim from people like Tony Visconti and Simon Napier-Bell, I widened my range of services, offering a mix of complete song production alongside more classically-focused arrangement work.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
I work in a huge range of genres and styles. I'm currently working songs for a musical, classical arrangements for a music tutoring app, sea shanties for a pirate-based video game, covers of K-Pop songs and re-recordings of unreleased 70s rock songs.

I've worked with prominent hip-hop artists, singer-songwriters, experimental composers, metal bands and just about everything in between.

My signature style tends to focus on warm, analogue sounds with orchestral instruments and pianos, along with rich guitar solos. Think Tony Visconti, Gus Dudgeon, Flood, Brian Eno etc.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
I work primarily in Logic Pro; I've used it for 15 years and know it inside out. I've tried other DAWs and just don't find them as intuitive. I also like the quality of the scoring tools.

I specialise in virtual instruments and utilise the full EastWest Composer Cloud catalogue, though am also very fond of the AnalogLab V synth / keys platform.

For guitars I use a James Tyler Variax modelling guitar and a Takamine G-Series acoustic. My favourite instrument is my Kala U-Bass, a surprisingly versatile bass used on countless recordings.
tools
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
Much of my collaborative work is carried out via Zoom and Google Meet, utilising specialist software to link these services directly to Logic Pro. This means I can work on songwriting, arrangement and mixing / mastering in real time with remote clients. It's been a huge game-changer in the way I work, and a big step up in terms of what I can offer clients.

I also create a number of resources (like the one shown here) to help clients do things like export stems from their DAW. I like to try and explain things using terms that even a complete beginner can understand.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
I start with a face-to-face meeting, normally via Zoom or Google Meet, to get a bit of background on the artist, understand where they're coming from, and what they're hoping to achieve. These early discussions are essential for starting out on the right foot.

We'll then progress to discussing the project in hand, firming up on things like arrangement, orchestration, tempo/key, song length and influences/examples. This helps me get together all the info I need to create something that will reflect the artist's expectations.

The work itself involves mapping out the song in Logic Pro, then performing / recording the various instruments and adding a guide vocal. Sometimes I need to bring in a session player / vocalist but most of the time I play things myself or use virtual instruments.

I'll send an initial mix for review, then make changes as needed. Revisions are often carried out via Zoom, which makes things like mix adjustments much easier. Final delivery includes mixes and stems.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
The most important factor is the intial discussion meeting; if I'm in any doubt about where the artist is coming from, and what they're hoping to achieve, I'll either push for more information or recommend them to someone who is better suited to help them. I'm constantly aware of the need to advertise myself in the right way so as to appeal to the clients who can most benefit from the work I do.

I like to spend plenty of time with a new client discussing their musical background and influences. Often I'll share a few influences from my side as well - songs that come to mind when discussing the project in hand. This helps ensure there's sufficient chemisty. It's like playing in a band. You need to be on the same page creatively if it's going to work.
client-vision
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
I will always stipulate how many rounds of revisions are included in an order (typically two), how long each revision can take (typically an hour), and the timeframe for requesting revisions (normally within one month).

Revisions are normally turned around withing a few days, depending on the size of the job.

There is usually an option to request further revisions at additional cost, though this is hardly ever needed. Most clients are happy within one round of revisions.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
I work at a fixed rate of $45 per hour for all clients. This helps me ensure transparency of pricing. I dislike 'package' costs since they don't tend to take into account the client's individual needs, which could result in them paying more than is needed. Here's a typical example of a price for a 3-minute pop song:

Activities:
• Map out song in Logic Pro, transcribe melody, chords and lyrics (1 hour)
• Arrange and perform 8-10 instruments, including: piano, guitar (x2), bass, drums, strings (x4)
• Record a guide vocal (1 hour)
• Create mixes, export stems (1 hour)
Total: 7 hours x $44 per hour = £308
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
I've produced music for Wham! manager Simon Napier-Bell, Superjesus frontwoman Sarah McLeod, hip-hop legend Masiwei, YouTube stars Lily Pichu and Rob Landes, and chart-topping songwriter Christopher Banks.

I'm currently an in-house songwriting mentor for Hall Up (a remote music production platform) and producer / arranger for the musical Riding Time With No Hands, opening night in June 2024.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
Mostly by word of mouth! Friends and clients are always telling me about the latest breakthroughs in music tech, and I'll typically then go and find out a way to integrate it into what I can offer. Research is the usual sort of channels, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, social media.

I'm particularly fascinated by the latest technological advancements in AI, which I see as a set of useful tools rather than a threat to musical creativity. I remember starting out as a performer in the 90s and how hard (and expensive!) it was to realise a musical idea. This has driven me to try and stay on the cutting edge of the latest technical developments, so I can help clients realise their ideas at an affordable price.
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davidagriffithsMusic producer about 1 month ago Contact
Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, and make sure your producer understands (and can repeat back to you!) your goals and objectives. I would always try and have a face-to-face meeting first and foremost. Sharing musical influences is important - never feel rushed into placing an order. Working with a producer is a kind of relationship - you need a bit of musical chemisty. If it isn't there, then move on!