Record Producer, Mastering Engineer, and Father of Twins. Currently from Los Angeles, California. Andrew Tinker is this month's SoundGym Hero!
I’m Andrew Tinker, a musician, husband and dad to twin toddlers from Los Angeles, CA.
I grew up singing with my family around the piano, and in elementary school I started accompanying myself. After learning a few chords on my dad’s guitar, I wrote my first original songs in junior high and began recording them on a dual cassette deck karaoke machine my freshman year in high school. So I’ve been writing songs and making records since the cassette deck days.
Music has always been a big part of my day-to-day life, but before I had kids, I also enjoyed hobbies that involve a lot of learning and physical participation: things like fly fishing, auto repair, telemark skiing, cross country running and pulling the perfect espresso double shot.
But since my twin boys were born in 2020, I really only have two hobbies: hanging out with my kids… and not hanging out with my kids.
My favorite hobby with my kids is exploring Los Angeles by public transportation, and my favorite hobbies without kids include eating all the awesome food they don’t like and deeply appreciating noise levels below 30dBA.
My most useless skill is probably my ability to recite “Casey at the Bat” from memory. I’ve had it memorized for years and never could find much of a use for it, but recently I’ve been using it to put my kids to sleep.
When they hear me say, “The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day…” they know that’s their cue to close their eyes and get comfy.
Sometimes they fall asleep in the middle and sometimes they make it to the end, so I’ve got two variable endings to keep it interesting in case they make it past strike two.
For me, music and inspiration have a reversible relationship. If I’m inspired, music follows. If I’m making music, inspiration follows. Sometimes, if I’m having trouble finding inspiration, I just start making music. Inspiration usually shows up on its own pretty soon after that.
I’d like to do a session with Max Martin. He’s been shaping the aesthetics of recorded music since before I knew what a record producer was, and he’s still doing it. He’s probably working on a hit record at this exact moment.
Whatever room I’m in, before I get started, I like to do some listening to get a feel for the space. If I’m a guest at someone else’s studio, we usually listen to some stuff they’ve been working on and a few reference records.
In my own studio, I listen to selections from my library of 44.1/16 WAVs that I bought on qobuz.com. They’re specifically Billboard Hot 100 #1 records from the last few years, and I’m primarily listening for sonic qualities to calibrate my ears.
And of course, it’s also great to do a soundgym daily workout to get my ears going!
Right now I’m fascinated by “golden hour” by JVKE. The songwriting, the performance and the production all come into perfect alignment on the chorus lyric, “Shine, it’s your golden hour”, and the moment is gorgeous.
The record is dreamy, classic and hopeful, and I love that it went top ten on the Hot 100, a phenomenal feat for an independent artist. It’s also tuned to A 432 Hz instead of the standard A 440 Hz, which I find particularly interesting.
Favorite piece of music gear I own: SoundID Reference speaker calibration software and reference mic. I’ve worked in really well designed rooms where I’ve done a speaker calibration and there was hardly any compensation required. And I’ve worked in trash rooms where the speaker calibration made the space usable.
At this point it’s an indispensable piece of my signal flow.
My favorite SoundGym feature is the daily workout. Inevitably it will queue up games that I love as well as games that I’d prefer to avoid, and if I personally picked all my own workouts, I’d probably be tempted to just play the games I like.
Right now my queue includes songs in development for two films, production for two EP’s, vocal production for an artist on a topline we co-wrote, and an album master.
I can’t say exactly what will come from finishing the projects in my queue, but I can say that whatever comes will be the result of completing the work. A song I wrote in 2016 was recently performed by a contestant on American Idol, and I had no idea that was going to happen until my friends started texting me the day after it aired.
A vocal I cut landed on a Hot 100 number one single and the Grammy winning Best Rap Album of 2019, and I had no idea that was going to happen when I hit export on the session. If the future holds success for my records, it will be because I stayed present enough to export something today.
Photo credit to Yana Tinker.