As part of our series of interviews with producers in partnership with Allianz Musical Insurance – sponsors of the HMA19 Best Producer category – we are discussing career highlights, studio set-up and great advice with some of the finest producers operating in rock and metal today.
First off, we’re talking to Romesh Dodangoda. Based at his own Long Wave Studios in Wales, Romesh has worked with artists as diverse as Motörhead, Bring Me The Horizon, Funeral For A Friend, Kids In Glass Houses, Twin Atlantic, Bullet For My Valentine and Lower Than Atlantis.
What studio are you based at?
I have my own private studio in Cardiff, Wales called Long Wave. The facility is set up just for me with all my equipment so I can work here whenever I want and have access to all of my gear. I do however travel around a lot to different studios to work on records, it depends on the project.
How did you get started in music production?
I started about 17 years ago now. I was in a band and really loved being creative in the studio rather than actually being part of a band so I focussed on production and mixing and over the years it became a reality!
Could you give us an overview of your career?
I’ve been producing and mixing records now for a long time, mainly in the rock/pop/metal genres. My career started working with a lot of bands from the South Wales area and gradually after a while my production/mixing seemed to get popular and I started working with artists from all over the place. I’ve been really fortunate to get to work with some amazing artists over the years!
What have you been working on recently?
Last year I flew out to Los Angeles to record a new album with Bring Me The Horizon. We spent two months out there recording ‘amo’ which was such a great experience and it’s been amazing to see the success the album has brought.
What has been the proudest moment of your career as a producer?
Working on an album with Motörhead is pretty up there I would say. They are a legendary band with so much history so it was an honour to be involved. Finding out that ‘Mantra’ by Bring Me The Horizon had got them a Grammy Nomination and also getting the Number 1 UK album was a very special moment too!
What would you say are the pros and cons of owning your own studio?
The pros of owning my own studio is I can get in there, work on what I want, when I want and not be paying every day to hire a big studio somewhere. Obviously owning the studio costs me money with all the overheads of equipment, building, staff, insurance, bills etc but having one allows me to work at my own pace without it costing a lot of money with paying a daily rate to another studio. The cons are it costs a lot of money to run and to maintain. There’s always gear that needs looking at and fixing those things costs money. Obviously the studio uses a lot of electricity so bills can be quite high there. You have to make sure it’s secure as well. These costs add up!
What do you see as the biggest pitfalls when starting out as a producer?
People buying lots of expensive equipment before learning how to really use it properly is a common problem I see. I think it’s way better to start with limited equipment and learn how to make that sound really good. I think a lot of people when starting out will also try and do everything where sometimes, it’s better to send the track to someone with more experience to mix it perhaps.
What has been the most important technological advance you’ve seen in production since you started out?
I think just how far plugins have come since I started is mind blowing. I still have a massive collection of analog equipment because I love the sound it brings but it’s been crazy to see how close some software companies have got lately. Also it’s amazing how accessible all the tools have become.
How important is it to insure your equipment? Have you ever had to deal with theft or damage that required an insurance claim?
It’s massively important. All my equipment is very important to me and some of my gear dates back to when I first started out so I would be so heartbroken if anything ever happened to it. If you don’t insure your equipment it will always be too late when you need to make a claim. It’s best to just make sure you’re covered for everything. I have high security with my alarm also connected to the police for monitoring and CCTV that’s viewable off-site which helps peace of mind.
What is the best piece of production advice anyone has ever given you?
It’s hard to pinpoint a specific thing but I have learnt so much from other producers over the years. In November last year, I decided to start an audio community at www.control-room.net which is full of incredible producers and mixers and it’s been really amazing to share and exchange production advice and ideas in there daily.
Finally, what one prediction would you make for music production in the next 10 years?
I think the way it’s going there’s going to be even more accessible production tools available to almost everyone. It’s really interesting to see how some people are fusing different genres together so it’s going to be very interesting to see where music is in the future!