Warren Huart producer crosstalk

Producer Crosstalk: Warren Huart

Originally from England, self-taught producer, engineer, musician and songwriter Warren Huart now makes his home in Los Angeles. When he first hopped the pond in 1996, it was with his London-launched band Star 69. He’s since worked with the Fray (engineered the 2009 Platinum album The Fray), Aerosmith and with The X Factor. In addition to his career-spanning studio work, Huart also hosts YouTube show Produce Like A Pro, which has earned views in excess of one million.

The producer’s work with the Fray on the band’s self-titled second record was of course accompanied by its own set of challenges. Obviously, this was a band that had proven itself with its first album. But could the success of the past be repeated? “There’s an expression that it takes your whole life to write your first album and a year to do your second,” Huart says. “They wrote The Fray on downtime while on the road and they had to meet a [label] deadline. The challenge was to take rough ideas and demos written during tour and turn them into great songs.”

Warren Huart's Produce Like A Pro was born of several ideas, not the least of which was that young people deserve an unfettered opportunity to learn the craft that he loves. He also sensed a compelling duty to share the knowledge that he’d acquired over his decades-long career. The two drives coalesced perfectly. “The way kids coming up are being forced to learn absolutely mirrors my own experience,” he observes. “Now if you’re a young person who wants to learn the craft, unless you’ve got a lot of money to spend at a school, there are few opportunities because there are [only] a hundred internship opportunities where there used to be thousands.”

CrosstalkArtIf the show’s episodes feel natural and off the cuff, Huart says, “It’s because production and engineering is all I do every day: video ideas will come directly from sessions and we’ll shoot that night. There’s tutorial stuff out there and some of it’s fantastic, but one of the things I wanted to overcome was the dogma of the industry. When you talk to other producers and engineers, many are critical of doing it the ‘right’ way. When I went back to England after 10 years, I paid a visit to my friend Dave McCracken (Ian Brown, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé). He had a rack of Digidesign 888’s. I told him I’d heard they sucked. He replied, ‘That’s the difference between here and America. There they do it “right.” In England we only do it so it sounds good.’ The point is there are videos where people rant about others telling you things that aren’t ‘correct’; that you’re not doing it properly. Every great recording advance we talk about has been accidental and things done ‘wrong.’ There’s a subtext of negativity on the Internet. Being critical gets followers and our goal is to be the opposite. I want to encourage.”

One aspect of which he’s skeptical is people who insist that luck plays a large role in production and engineering success. “That’s not true,” he asserts. “If you want to be successful, then start doing it; start making music.”

Currently Warren Huart is working on a number of projects including scads of mix work for Capitol Records. Notable among his projects is Black Veil Brides’ DVD/Blu-ray Alive and Burning. Produce Like A Pro is available for free at producelikeapro.com and directly from YouTube.

For more information, visit producelikeapro.com.