Jamie Hill


Meet your mentor!

Jamie Hill is a record producer, engineer, collaborator, and DIY artist. He and his wife, recording artist Shannon Curtis, are building a residential recording studio and mentorship retreat in Tacoma, Washington. If you'd like to hear some of Jamie's records, you can listen to some playlists at secretagentaudio.com.

He gets really excited about helping other people, and it's his hope that some of the knowledge and ideas he has accumulated over the last 15 or so years can be of some help to you, as you work on making your creative mark on the world. He is looking forward to talking with you about your hopes, your dreams and your goals!"

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(Sessions from $25 for 15 minutes

Q&A with Jaime

+ Who are you?

Hi! my name is Jamie Hill. I live with my wife Shannon Curtis, who's also an artist, and also a mentor on here. We live in Tacoma, Washington, USA. We moved here recently from Los Angeles, to build a residential recording studio and mentorship retreat here in our home.

+ What's your current job?

I am a producer and engineer, which means that my main thing I do is that I produce and mix records for people! I am also a writer, a public speaker, and a mentor.

+ What do you specialise in?

In general, Shannon and I have developed a bunch of DIY skills and practical approaches to being working artists, and I'd love to talk with you about really any of that! We can talk about doing house concerts, or we can talk about crowdfunding, or we can talk about merchandise – we take DIY seriously, and we've learned a lot, and I'm happy to talk with you about any of it.

+ What's your experience?

I’ve been producing records since 1997, and making music has been my sole source of income since 2004. I work on a lot of different types of music, mainly because I like a lot of different types of music, which I think really just means that I'm interested in lots of different kinds of stories and lots of different kinds of people.

+ What can you share your experience on? What can you help with?

If you’re an artist, my special skill is that I can help you refine what you do, and figure out how to do it a little bit better. For example, I can teach you how to make better recordings of your songs, help you trim a long song down to a more manageable length or even help you re-frame some ideas around what success as an artist looks like.

If you’re a producer or engineer, or even an artist interested in recording your own music, the mentorship that I do often takes the shape of helping you work through questions that you have surrounding your recording process. This can be technical – maybe you want to talk about what gear to get, or what plugins to use, or how to structure mixes, or how to use your microphones better. Or we can talk about ways to manage the flow of energy and emotion in a recording. Or how to think about creating a narrative arc over the course of an album. Or how to find the story that ties a body of work together. Or ideas for just generally how to use your recording tools to best communicate the ideas that you want to communicate. Because that's what we're doing, right? We're communicating ideas and telling stories.

+ What are your greatest achievements?

My biggest answer for that, honestly, is that Shannon and I have been a married pair of working artists for over a decade, and we haven't had to have day jobs, and we've done this on our own terms, and we've done it outside of the music industry, and what we do continues to grow each year. We get to make art for a living, and we get to share it with an amazing community of people, whose support and friendship enrich our lives on a daily basis. And we've set it all up so that we'll be able to do this for pretty much as long as we want to! I've created a life that 15-year-old me would be completely excited about, and I'm very proud of that.

I do understand that there are more traditional measurements of achievement, and I don't like to brag, but if this helps, I will admit that I was one of five people nominated in 2014 for "Best Producer" in the Independent Music Awards. I didn't win! But it was still very exciting. And I've had a couple of indie records that I've made land on a couple of Billboard charts in a few countries in some different parts of the world. Nothing huge. But still pretty cool.

+ Perhaps suggest some questions mentee's can ask you!

-How to put together a mix.

-How to use different types of recording gear. (Or... What are the different types of recording gear? Recording can be confusing, and, if you're a beginner, I can help you make some sense of it as you get started.)

-How to use plugins.

-How to use EQ - what the different frequencies do, and how to listen for them.

-How to use compression to make your instruments sit well together.

-How to use reverb to give your recordings a sense of place.

-How to set your levels properly so your music will sound good when you play it back.

-How to set up sound at a live show.

-How to think about the arc of your larger body of work.

-How to position yourself as an artist in a way that's true to who you are as a person.

-How to think about your role in the world as a creative person.

-How to define success on your own terms.