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.
For the third edition, we’re talking to Dan Weller. Based primarily in London, Dan is also known as member of SikTh and has produced releases by the likes of Enter Shikari, Young Guns, Dream State, Bury Tomorrow, Babymetal and many more.
What studio are you based at?
For many years I had my own places in London. These days I travel for most of my work. However, when I’m writing a work at my publishers (Bucks Music) studio in Chalk Farm, London.
Could you give us an overview of your career?
My route into production was via forming a band (SikTh) in 2000. We signed a record deal and had the pleasure of visiting some amazing studios. I became obsessed with recording and never looked back. Along with Justin (one of the sikth vocalists) we set up a business where we travelled to bands’ homes recording them. We cut our teeth by working cheaply and frequently – sleeping on floors and learning on the job. Eventually we were getting enough work that we set up a studio in Old Street, London and both took on our own work separately.
What have you been working on in 2019?
Dream State debut album which is amazing. A band called North Atlas from Glasgow, and co-writing/producing an artist from Nashville called Jeffrey James.
What has been the proudest moment of your career as a producer?
I would say Bones by Young Guns going active number one in the US. We had worked together from the very start so it was special to see them rise to notoriety in America.
What would you say are the pros and cons of owning your own studio?
Pros: It looks great to clients, enables you to make the acoustics your own etc.
Cons: If you travel a lot it’s just a massive waste of money and sits gathering dust.
What do you see as the biggest pitfalls when starting out as a producer?
In the current climate it would be the massively competitive nature of it all. Everyone is selling themselves far too much. Focusing on your own skills and staying in the real world as much as possible is key – try not to get sucked into being a name on the internet. Meet people as much as possible.
What has been the most important technological advance you’ve seen in production since you started out?
The fusion of the internet. We used to have to post CDs 🙂 now we can upload files, Skype bands, order parts from Amazon… Completely changed the game. Yes – I now feel very old.
How important is it to insure your equipment? Have you ever had to deal with theft or damage that required an insurance claim?
I’ve never owned huge amounts but the little I do own I have always insured. Luckily, I’ve never suffered a theft.
What is the best piece of production advice anyone has ever given you?
Colin Richardson once told me that I had a “producer’s ear” and that I should pursue a career. I’m sure he was just being polite but I took it in and used it as motivation.
Finally, what one prediction would you make for music production in the next 10 years?
I have absolutely no idea. But people will always want to make music.
You can find out more about Dan on his website.
And you can find out more about Allianz Musical Insurance, sponsors of the HMA19 Best Producer category, at their website.