Interview With Vocalist, Songwriter & Producer Rudiger
Rudiger is a multi-talented vocalist, songwriter, engineer and producer. He’s had a ton of live experience, fronting bands in major venues across the US, and as a songwriter, his credits include co-writing with industry heavyweights such as Grammy Award Winning Producer Rob Fusari (Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Britney Spears). Now based in LA, Rudiger works from his studio (AKA The Lab) on a range of projects for film, tv and original music. His own band, Shotgun Sugar, is a popular and rockin’ LA based band. We were really pleased to have the opportunity to talk with Rudiger about his work, influences and thoughts about music production.
You can find his services here: http://www.airgigs.com/user/Rudiger
Tell us a bit about your musical background, i.e. early or formative influences, inspirations, experiences, etc.
I started playing guitar at 8yrs old. It kept me occupied. I have met some great people along the way that really influenced me. Famed engineer Shelly Yakus (U2,John Lennon Tom Petty) taught me a lot about audio when I recorded my first CD. We spent all summer working together and he showed me everything he knew. That was my audio school. I didn’t start playing and singing for sex or drugs – just the rock and roll. I think you play music because you have to, not because you want fame, or money. That would be short lived.
Your career in music began on the east coast and now you’re based in LA. Tell us a bit about that transition
I was touring all over the country…it was something. One day I got a call from a sponsor looking to book my band for a VH1 Save The Music tour. I did like 200 shows that year and the last place was here in LA. I was like “I’m not going home!”. I was loving the great warm weather and the music was happening. So yea, I eventually did go home and packed everything up and drove out here with no place to stay. I found a low budget motel stayed there for awhile until I found a place I could set up my gear and get to work. Never looked back.
You’re a talented vocalist, songwriter, engineer and producer…do you find it easy navigating through these different roles?
I think for me it’s very easy. Patience is the first thing you must have. Lots of artists come to me because I “get” the singing part. I understand them being a singer and can really help them sound better and / or arrange vocals. I have also done my homework and spent many hours learning Pro Tools, Logic, Abelton and all the tricks and plugins. I come across so many people that claim to be producers, and have been to expensive schools, but still have no idea about simple stuff like parallel compression. They want the name “producer” but are not willing to learn. I get songs to mix from clients all over the world. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s like a painting you create. When you’re good at something, it just feels great.
You did some co-writing with Grammy Award-winning record producer and songwriter Rob Fusari, what was that experience like?
Working with Rob was amazing. The guy is a genius. We co-wrote a song called “Save The World” and the kick drum on that still blows me away. It sounds like a wrecking ball hitting a battle ship. Lol massive!
When I met him, I walked into his studio and within 10 seconds he said “sing!”. I’m like ok, “lalalala…” I sang for him and he said, “wow you’re the real deal – lets do this!”. On the day I was set to record vocals it was a blizzard. I drove 4 hours in the snow on the jersey turnpike and showed up at his door – that’s how bad I wanted to work with him. Since then we have worked on more songs, and it’s always so cool.
When did you start to get into music production and why?
I got into music production when I met Shelly. I really got into songwriting production when I met Rob. I think for me it was also money. I had no support from anyone and I couldn’t afford studios. So I learned how to do it myself.
Take us into your studio.
My Studio “THE LAB” is heaven. I have Pro Tools, Logic X, lots of hardware, Guitars, Keys…pretty much anything you can imagine. I have like brushes to a painter. So much fun. I’m in the Lab everyday, sometimes for 18hrs straight. I do love playing live but also love creating and producing music just as much.
How do you approach doing session vocal tracks for clients?
First take your ego out. Then listen very closely to what they are saying. Always try to get a scratch vocal first – it’s so helpful. Just be yourself – thats why they are hiring you. And be pro. Deliver on time and treat everyone with respect. I have done TV, Film and sang on many records. Sometimes clients fly me to other countries and it’s game-on. I love to show them what I can do. So far its always been a positive experience.
What does an average work week look like for you these days?
I usually sing on 3 to 4 tracks a week, produce 1 song and rehearse with the band. I am having so much fun doing music, more now then ever. I work 7 days a week, 15 hours a day. Some weeks, yes, I do take time off. All work and no play makes you nuts! Also playing out live is another thing I do, can’t forget about that.
So I understand you were invited to record at Jon Bon Jovi’s Mansion – right? How did that come about?
Obie O’brien heard some demos of my band and was blown away by my vocals…thats what he said. So next thing I knew we were tracking at Jon’s mansion in his NJ Studio which is incredible. He has a SSL 4000 and a super big room with windows that look out on the sights. Jon was so cool and a great guy. When I met him I was singing, and I saw him come in the studio. He came right up to me, shook my hand and said “Hi I’m Jon Bon
Jovi. You have great vocals.”. I then hear Obie say, “yea and he just did that in 1 take”, referring to what I just sang. lol what a cool day I must say!
Care to share any interesting upcoming or current projects?
I want to keep some of the new stuff under wraps until it gets finished but, I got a call to be the lead singer in a new band with amazing players (one of which is Jon Donais from Anthrax). We are currently writing the album and I’m blown away by the magic that’s being made. Truly the best thing I have been a part of ever.
I was also hired to produce 2 songs for a major movie coming out. And after the fact they wanted me to sing on both tracks…so yea, double royalty is a good thing.