"The way it happened
for mewas the classic story," says producer/engineer
Blake Eiseman, who owns and operates Binksound,
an Atlanta-based production services company. "I was assisting on
a session and the engineer didn't show up. The artist turned to me and
asked 'can you do this?' I said 'hell ya I can do it!' So, I jumped in
and did it. The next day they asked me back instead of the original engineer."
Being at the right
place at the right time has led Eiseman into a decade long career of producing
and engineering that show no signs of slowing down. The list of artists
he has worked with is both impressive and diverse. Albums by Outkast,
Matthew Sweet, Arrested Development, and Pearl Jam are all proof of his
capability and versatility.
In the ever-increasing
compartmentalization of musical genres and radio programming, it's refreshing
to know that there are some people left in the industry who have learned
to bridge the gap. "It's the kind of production I love," he
says. "Like Alanis Morisettes's work with Glen Ballard, or Butch
Vig with Garbage, you have this combination of different styles that creates
a completely new sound. Thats exciting."
In addition to his
non-stop work in Atlanta's top recording studios, Eiseman also does a
fair amount of work in his home studio. "It's a home studio, and
I've never thought of it as anything more than that," he says. "Although,
I work with a lot of fairly big artists, and when they hear that I have
my own studio they want to come see it. Sometimes it turns into more than
being a demo."
At the heart of his
studio is a Mackie Digital 8Bus
console. "I love the automation," he says. "There have
been times when I'm working at home on the D8B, and then I'll go directly
to a studio and work on a project on a SSL. I'll actually look for features
that I'm used to on the D8Byou get used to having that amount
The bells and whistles
are great, but what matters most to Eiseman is how good a mixer sounds.
"The bottom line is that it sounds great," he says. "I've
tried a lot of other digital consoles and I never liked the way they soundedthey
sounded digital. The Mackie sounds and feels like an analog consolewhich
Like most engineers,
Eiseman prefers the sound of analog recordings. "Although my whole
studio is digital, I'm kind of old school analog at heart," he says.
"The Mackie is as close as you can get to having an analog sound
without being analog."
Eiseman attended the
University of Miami's Audio Engineering School and worked for six years
at Doppler Studios in Atlanta before striking out on his own. Over time,
he has developed his own unique approach to mixing. "One of the things
that many engineers avoid or forget about is panning," he reveals.
"I love having things off to one side, it gives everything else more
room. For example, if the vocal is clashing with the guitar, the best
thing to do rather than bring that guitar down or trying to EQ some frequencies
out, is to pan it somewhere else in the mix. Of course, you're going to
want the vocal in the middle. By panning whatever is fighting it, you
get the troublesome frequencies out of the way. I use panning as a toolit's
a great way to fix a lot of these types of problems. Others who have listened
to my mixes have told me they have great sense of space, and I think that's
why. Almost nothing in my mixes is directly centered."
artist's vision or experience can also be influential. "The guy who
taught me more than anyone about that (panning) is Speech from Arrested
Development," he continues. "He pushed me to bring things in
from left field and bring things in out of nowhere. He really pushed me
to expand my horizons."
Recent projects Eiseman
has been working on in his home studio include the first single from R&B
artist Montel Jordan's new album. The track was recorded and mixed using
the D8B. In addition, Eiseman has been part of a very special project
Rising. This CD project came together after the September 11th terrorist
attacks when members of a MOTU Internet discussion group decided to create
a benefit CD to raise money for victims of the attacks. Musicians from
all over the world wrote and recorded music to for the CD. "It's
a community of musicians who have never met," he says. "We did
it entirely over the Internetsending files back and forth.
I mixed six songs on the record. It was an amazing experience."