For this new and inspiring series, I wanted to start with a studio that I personally have recorded in. I can say that I came out as a better musician and had a better vision for what I wanted from my music after recording with Jacob of Snake Harris Studios. His professionalism as well as his production mentorship extends well beyond the superficial boundaries and inspires others to really step up their game and go to the next level. I recently had the amazing opportunity to sit and talk with Jacob and have him really tell you his side.
What’s up!? It’s been quite a while since we met up! Would you please introduce yourself, your studio, and tell the audience a little about what you do?
Hey! I’m Jacob and I run a little place called Snake Harris Studios. I try to help musicians find the path to their next level with their music. Pre-production, recording the tracks, and mixing are where my talents pull musicians together to find their strengths and weaknesses and to build on them.
When did it occur to you to really start and how did you decide on a name?
I never really had a time that I began, more that I just fell into it. I picked up recording and mixing in mid-late 2000’s to help my band get our pre-production and demos accomplished. I ended up recording other bands and friends in the same rehearsal buildings we frequented. This eventually turned gave me enough experience and skill to do audio engineering more regularly.
Everyone used to always jokingly call me Jake the Snake, as in the old pro wrestler. It just got used around me so much that the snake part stuck and everyone started calling me Snake…I know ridiculous. So, I just combined that with part of my middle name and voila, Snake Harris Studios.
What has been your greatest accomplishment with your studio?
Probably working with a band called Lionized (now Parties with Strangers). Those guys have a lot of ideas all in their heads and can get a little hectic when in the studio has so much going on. It was a fun experience working with them to bring to life what they had envisioned. Their first Ep called Primal came out fantastic and better than either them or I expected. Lots of noisy effects and guitar duality going on which made for a difficult time to find the right tones and placement in the stereo image of the mix. I needed to let them breathe and be heard without masking other focuses in the song or other instruments. Their singer Tyler has a crazy aggressive voice and it made for a surprisingly easier time than I expected for vocals. Overall it was a great experience working with those dudes.
If there’s a band, any band that you could record an album for, who would it be and why?
Queen. It would be an awe-inspiring experience to see legendary musicians of their caliber perform some amazing rock. I can only imagine it would just be a fun process focused on capturing the sound of amazing musicians and song writers. That or Mastodon!
Tell us, what kind of equipment do you use?
My ears and experience. These days anyone with a computer and some basic software can record and have it sound decent. I am an audio engineer and my job is to know how to get the sound. I like to keep it simple and stripped down gear wise and focus on controlling the sound in the room and work to get the best out of the musician’s performance. Those two things count more than any piece of gear ever will. There’s always gear you can rent and other studios you can book time in to use the “Big Boy” gear when it is necessary, if at all. The musician needs to be on top of their game and that’s where pre-production and repetition is an often-overlooked aspect of making your studio experience what you expect and more! My job is to pick the right room and right pieces of gear that is needed for that moment, and that is always changing.
Where can artists find more information on your studio such as rates and product samples?
Give us one last bit of advice!
Recording is supposed to be fun and exciting. It can be the most rewarding experience and to achieve that I could not stress enough proper pre-production. Take your time to make sure your music is refined and practiced well before studio time. For those who are not sure how to go about that or may not have adequate means to do this, I do offer services for this as I can be mobile and come to you. My other recommendation is to always try to meet your audio engineer before studio time. Get to know who you are working with and make sure you will feel comfortable working with them, whomever it ends up being.
Thanks for reaching out to me Will, I much enjoyed the chance to tell everyone a little about my side of the console. Cheers!