In our next Muzo spotlight, we chat to Gary Numan and Pop Will Eat Itself guitarist and producer, Tim Muddiman about how he works in the studio, in addition to the inspiration behind his own band, Tim Muddiman and the Strange.
How’s it going, Tim – what are you working on right now, band-wise, and personally?
T] So many things! I have just released my own debut single called ‘Wildwood Stone’ with B- Side track ‘Strangers’. There was so much to do when getting this ready. The production, recording, video and press campaign, as well as the radio promotion, took up so much time, but I enjoyed every second.
I’m just starting the ball rolling for our follow up single that is planned to be released at the end of July. I’m also about to tour with Pop Will Eat itself on May 21 were we are unfolding a brand new album where I produced some of the songs. Then it’s off to LA to play a couple of shows with Gary Numan. I plan on shooting a video for the next Tim Muddiman and The Strange single out there. We will see.
Talk to us about what Tim Muddiman and the Strange means to you, at this point in your career?
T] It means the world to me. I am sometimes kicking my self for not doing this along time ago. But the time wasn’t right. Personally it wasn’t right. I didn’t feel it. I now feel it in everything I think, and do both musically and personally.
How do you work in the studio – what’s a typical day like?
T] A typical day is getting in the studio for 9am and leaving sometime at night. Sometimes around 6ish, but usually it’s late, like 10pm. Especially if I’m writing. I can’t put time constraints on that. I treat work for other people differently. I try to be more structured and level-headed. When writing, I just let it happen and go with it.
What’s your studio set-up like – how do you like to use the space that’s around you?
T] I use Logic X as my DAW. I use a couple of different monitors and I like it loud. I have loads of guitars and amplifiers. I like to get the sound good for live instruments as I record, but I often tweak with Soundtoys plugins.
My environment is really important, so I feel comfortable and relaxed. I try and make my studio like my favourite room in the house. Not that it’s in my house. Artwork and books are vital. I have loads of different other things, and instruments to make music but Logic is my tool. It’s the other brain in the studio.
Is there anything that you use within your studio (gear or otherwise, maybe an image or gadget) that helps to inspire, and motivate you while you work?
T] As I mentioned before, it’s the environment. It’s all down to the sound of music and the emotional response to music.
How has your attitude and approach towards producing and recording music changed over the years?
T] I realise I am not an academic. If I was, I think I would be soaking up loads more technical information regarding sound placement and its something that has frustrated me in the past. But saying that, I am a self taught guitarist and have pretty much done the same in the studio. Though, I have always asked for advice.
I don’t get frustrated anymore, is what i’m trying to stay. I think being relaxed mentally and getting things to sound gratifying to me is the first point to aim for. Then it’s about taking your time for ears to adjust and to reference other songs and other ideas musical friends and producers have. I love the process of hearing what someone will do that is different to me, production-wise. You can never get in the head of another musician or producer, and there is no point in trying. What’s in their head will show in the music. I think letting things go sometimes and not being too controlling is a good idea. That way things can evolve to something you can’t immediately imagine. There is an awful amount of musical enjoyment to be had by doing this.
What would you say keeps you passionate about making music, and creating in general?
T] Music has been the main thing in my life for ever. It will never go away. It’s impossible. My mental decision to just do it and see what happens is inspiring new creative thoughts continually.
How would you advise a young band to make the most of the space that they have when it comes to recording?
T] Get a good DAW. I advise Logic X. Get a good audio interface and good speakers. Then just try anything and everything. Listen and work out what style you want to achieve. It really can be anything! Also work hard, Concentrate on it and love it!
What do you do to relax, when you aren’t working, in the studio?
T] I drive, I sleep and sit in silence!