Recording Connection mentor Steve Catizone on Vibe, Hiring Students & Training Tomorrow’s Audio Pros During COVID-19
Steve Catizone of Infinite Recording (Black Eyed Peas, Charli XCX, Justin Bieber, Wyclef Jean, Godsmack, Alanis Morrissette, Big Sean), located in the Boston area, has decades of experience producing and engineering artists across the musical spectrum. We recently connected with Steve to get his insights on the importance of having the right vibe in the studio, get the scoop on several student hires, and talk about mentoring during the global pandemic.
What got you into audio and producing in the first place?
“I did music synthesis at Berklee which is more of a generative type of thing. You know, you’re creating sound. It was more about sequencing back then. At the time, it was out of Studio Vision which was just strictly MIDI. You were dealing with external synths and MIDI and getting that whole fiasco going. So I came into it on the creative side of things…. It was great to be able to just focus on what you wanted to do for an extended period of time and just concentrate on it, you know. At the time, we didn’t have laptops. They had synth labs. So, I would go into labs, I would be in the labs for, like, 280 hours a semester, you know, just in there just creating the whole time…
I got to the point [in my career] where, you know, we were producing music and working with a tracking engineer that just wasn’t going fast enough or just wasn’t doing the right thing. So, I was like, ‘Okay, I have to figure out how to track.’ You know, so I got into tracking vocals, we did a lot of that…
After that, I ended up giving mixes off to people and going back and forth with a tug of war with that…[And] I’m like, ‘Okay, I have to figure this part out too.’ And as a result of that, it made me a better producer because you can pick sounds better, because if you know the trouble someone might have and the final result of a mix, you’ll be like, ‘Okay, I see why that kick doesn’t work.’ Or ‘I see why those snares don’t work,’ that type of thing.”
Speaking of vibe, how important is it to have the right vibe in the recording studio?
“It’s all about that, you know. We’re electric, you know. We talk about frequency all the time. Literally, we talk about all the stuff that literally makes you move, you know? Not just the external stuff that we all see day to day, but the stuff that really was down to the cellular level almost…
Everyone has a song that they feel like has been written since the beginning of time, you know? And to me, that’s somebody in a good place mentally and in a good place energy-wise, and they were able to channel it down, like we’re just big antennas for all this amazing stuff that’s out there and we just grab it…. [So] just don’t come with negativity basically. Negativity breeds negativity and good vibes breed good vibes. Which ones do you want?”
Recording Connection mentor, producer/engineer Steve Catizone