Interview with Isha Erskine – Producer & Recording Engineer

To kick off our first “featured talent” blog post we were lucky to interview industry veteran engineer and AirGigs member Isha Erskine. Isha has been gifted to work with such artists as the Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, and Jeff Beck among many others, and on a rare break between records he sat down with us to answer some questions.

What’s your background in the recording industry?
I came up the old fashion way. I got coffee, and scrubbed floors at big studios like Ocean Way and Paramount for many years just to get a chance to be an assistant engineer.

Was going to school for music production an important part of your development?
School was great because I was able to record a lot of music. At my school the Conservatory of Recording Arts there was a lot of open studios at night…there was a test to compete with other students but it was always the same so I won every time. I found a few local bands and was able to do a few records with free studio time. I was not very good back them but it was a good start to develop my skills.

Do you specialize in a particular style of recording and/or engineering?
My only specialty is making things sound good fast. My philosophy has always been make it sound as good as you can as soon as you can. There’s only two chances to get it right (tracking and mixing) so don’t miss your opportunity.

Are you influenced or inspired by other producers and engineers and if so who?
I learned a lot from Mike Shipley and Jean Baptiste, I also worked with Salaam Remi (Nas, Amy Winehouse, Fergie), a beside the scenes producer but an amazing talent. I am also very inspired by Nigel Godrich and all the work he has done with Radiohead, and of course all the old Beatles records.

What instruments do you play?
When I have a spare moment between records I play Guitar, Bass, Piano, and Drums.

How do you find the process of working with clients online or remotely?
It seems to work great, I’ve done quite a few records this way now. It’s relaxed for everyone involved since there’s no studio clock ticking, and I can really focus on getting the best mix possible.

What’s your home studio setup?
I am mixing all within Pro Tools at home. Its great for remote gigs, because its Instant Recall. If someone needs revisions months down the road, i can open up the session in a few minutes as apposed to hours recalling a mix on an SSL.

Do you have a favorite or memorable moment in the studio?

Ahh..yes, working with Tom Morello, for Iron Man 2. He came in with some friends and just laid down some classic Rage Against The Machine style riffs, it was amazing. Then he would triple his guitar parts perfectly with no punches.

Why should someone choose to mix with you over the thousands of engineers out there?
Well that’s a tough one. Every Engineer has different ears, some are more experienced than others, but it’s music…its all art It really comes down to taste. So check out my gigs, listen to some of my examples, if there’s nothing in your Genre, email me – maybe I have something for you, or can even do a test run for free and you can decide if you want to pursue hiring me to mix your record.

Check out Isha’s gigs here

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