1) Sal, you have a very diverse range of artists that you have worked with, can you tell us a bit about your musical influences while growing up ?
We always had music playing in my house. My mom had the NYC pop station on all day in the kitchen and my Dad played his favorite Crooners (Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra) and Big Band records on the weekends. My dad was a singer as was his mother who sang opera. My parents noticed my natural abilities when as a 4-5 year old I would start playing the melodies of the songs I was hearing on a toy organ we had in the basement.
2) Which is the first instrument you picked to play ?.
I started taking piano lessons at age 6 and never stopped playing.
3) You choose to work with A-list Artists and Bands, but also new and unestablished artists. Which excites you more ?.
It’s all the same to me. I really thrive on getting Artists to their goals. Certainly, it’s more work when an Artist is just starting out, but then there’s a heightened level of gratification, as well.
4) Favorite pieces of Hardware ?.
These days, I just love my Focusrite RED 3, the original one with transformers on In/Out. I just love what it does to most anything I print thru it, as well as on the 2buss most of the time. Also, my Dolby A301is the best of all the Dolby A units. The original one that’s 5 rack spaces and so smooth and exciting at the same time. My BAE 1073 gets a lot of use in recording overdubs. My most versatile compressors are the Serpent Audio Splice’s…all the glory of a Urei 1176 rev A and D plus some modern features.
5) Favorite plugins / software ?.
My new favorite is Goliath! Seriously! That plug does so much and replaced several other plugs. As for EQ, I love FabFilters ProQ2 and BX_E (SSL). I tend to use mostly hardware compressors but do like Waves MV2 and RVox. RX6 saves my life on a daily basis.
6) How do you begin a song, is it writing chords and melody first or do you arrange grooves and then write on them ?.
All of the above depending on who’s in the room. Sometimes all at once!
7) Nashville has a booming scene for many genres of music, does the music scene locally influence you, or do you tend to have a personal style and genre of preference ?
I always have one ear on what’s trending and the other ear on the heart of the Artist/song. You can’t afford to lose either. The song, if well written, should inform you what it needs. There can be 5 different ways I’d produce a song and it’d work… but usually only one way for a particular artist. That’s the trick to connecting. The right song, for the right artist with the proper treatment.
8) Upcoming Albums, singles that our users should look out for ?.
I just had a single I produced for country duo Haley & Michaels (Sony) called “Me Too”, I have 3 more singles coming for a movie Kathie Lee Gifford has written… one of which will be sung by a huge superstar pop artist (can’t say who just yet!). As always, a healthy batch of indie Artists coming out with new material as well.